Tommy Coyne ’23

SimplyPark, Ltd., Cleveland, OH

This summer I had the pleasure of working with SimplyPark in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. SimplyPark is a parking payment start-up that aims to revolutionize the parking business. Traditionally, parking payment has been a tedious chore that hinders one’s ability to have an enjoyable parking experience. Parking and paying at a machine is an incredibly cumbersome process that takes longer than it should. However, in recent years, many companies have simplified the parking process through text-by-phone and license plate recognition software. However, there has never been a truly seamless payment method.

SimplyPark aims to change that with a touchless payment app that allows users to pay for parking without any effort on their end. This summer, our team was focused on perfecting the Android version of the app, transferring our existing code to start the iOS version, and creating a network of parking lots to choose from in downtown Cleveland.

In developing the Android app, my primary role was testing the app with developers and identifying bugs in the user experience. Every morning, I would head downtown and create a conference call that the developers would join. From there, I would run the Android version on my device and complete the tasks that the developers assigned. Sometimes it worked, but most times it did not.

These seemingly simple events became more complex as the app became more accurate. I started adding in different activities to try and confuse the app, such as walking out of the lot instead of driving. The most difficulty came with “edge cases,” which are lots that are directly adjacent. We initially needed to figure out if the phone’s GPS was accurate enough that it could recognize one lot from another adjacent one. Once we confirmed this, we tested countless scenarios with these edge cases, trying to trick the app, but eventually, we worked out how the code could interpret this correctly.

After the morning testing, I would drive to new lots with a geographic mapping device and manually mark each point of the lot to create a polygon. Then, I would upload this new lot to our existing platform. Mapping all of these lots soon created a massive network reaching from downtown Cleveland to surrounding suburbs that I would be able to test with our developers.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to work with a small but growing start-up in my hometown. I gained great insight into mobile app development and a better ability to problem-solve with a small team remotely. This internship renewed my interest in computer science, which I will be taking this upcoming fall, and bolstered my interest in the start-up world. I also learned how to work independently as I spent most of my days alone driving on the strangely quiet streets of Cleveland. The growth I had this summer would not be possible without SimplyPark, the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, and through the generous support of the Class of 1966. Thank you.