Nov 19, 2018

A robot parking app will hold your spot this Black Friday

Screenshot via "MyPark in 30 seconds" demo video on YouTube

Here's a potential timesaver this Black Friday: a smartphone app that will deploy a robot to hold a parking space for you at the mall.

Details: MyPark is a Miami-based parking reservation service that, per Forbes, deploys mobile space blockers to hold spots for customers willing to pay a few dollars for the convenience.

  • The app triggers a pop-up rectangle that blocks other cars from parking in the reserved space.
  • When the rightful renter arrives, it folds down flat so they can drive over it.
  • The startup has deals with some of the country's biggest mall operators, including Simon Property Group and the Mall of America.
  • Its spaces are close to the mall entrances, making the reservation service doubly attractive.

My thought bubble: Parking is a pain, especially during the holidays. If you can use technology to save your spot, you won't have to push your kid out of the car to stand there while you circle back around. And you don't have to tip the valet, either.

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Inside hackers' pivot to medical espionage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A wave of cyber-spying around COVID-19 medical research is once more demonstrating the perils of treating cybersecurity as a separate, walled-off realm.

Driving the news: U.S. officials recently announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential COVID-19 cure or effective treatments to combat the virus. Additionally, “more than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations’ virus responses,” reports the New York Times.

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.