As the populations of global urban environments continue to rise, technological advancements in the methods for managing resources are of paramount importance.
Fortunately, our cities are getting smarter. Virtually everyone—from citizens to tech developers, merchants, and government agencies—agrees that innovating technology systems is a vital aspect of retaining a reasonable level of livability for urbanites throughout the world.
Transportation is one of the biggest challenges we face. More people equals more traffic congestion and additional pressure on our limited resources. As anyone who lives in a city will tell you, finding adequate parking can be incredibly frustrating. It can make people late for appointments and increase the chaos on our roads, with drivers circling the block searching for a spot.
Smart Parking IoT Applications
Imagine the following smart parking scenario: Sensors determine whether parking spaces are occupied or available. They send this data wirelessly in real time to a gateway, so a parking map is created and continuously updated. Drivers use their mobile phone or heads-up display to find an ideal spot without wasting any time looking in places with no availability. Those who monitor parking violations are seamlessly directed to vehicles parked illegitimately to be ticketed or removed.
Sounds a lot better than the previous situation, doesn’t it?
This is just the beginning of the massive benefits that will be derived from a future of smart parking systems.
Do you like getting parking tickets? If you answered yes, you must have misread the question. I’ve never met a person who isn’t annoyed by receiving a ticket for a parking violation. Even when your intentions are good, it can be difficult to get back to your spot to add time to the meter before it expires, especially when you had to park far from your destination.
Imagine receiving a notification on your smartphone that your parking time is almost expired with the option to extend it through your mobile device. This convenience can be taken further to involve store owners in the area, allowing them also to receive this notification and to choose to pay for a short extension on the person’s behalf, with the driver getting a message that this happened. Wouldn’t you consider visiting that store when you pick up your car, or even on another day, if this occurred? This concept could be a win-win, saving the driver from a parking ticket and allowing a merchant to either gain or retain customers, creating long-term loyalty in the process.
Although many people blame enforcement officers who are responsible for issuing parking citations when they receive a ticket, the reality is that a large percentage of violations go unnoticed due to the massive resources required to comprehensively monitor all parking spots simultaneously.
It’s important to consider the fact that some parking violations are more severe than others. For example, imagine the problems that arise when someone illegitimately parks in a spot reserved for those with handicaps, an area intended for parents to pick up their children from school, or a bus stop.
With smart parking solutions in place, enforcement officers can be alerted about all violations immediately. They can be informed about the importance of each one in priority. This would allow them to clear serious disruptions quickly to avoid problems before moving on to less troublesome parking infringements.
Marketing Potential for Smart Parking Systems
As I mentioned earlier, smart parking systems open up a world of marketing potential for business owners. I offered the example of a merchant extending a driver’s parking meter time as a method for gaining their business through goodwill.
Taking this general concept further, store owners could combine parking promotions with sales events, offer discounted or free parking at non-peak times of day to increase their overall business or many other innovative ideas. The possibilities are virtually endless, creating a new area of marketing for retailers to consider.
Last but certainly not least, the information generated by smart parking solutions will allow parking control agencies to maximize the value of available resources. By analyzing data to determine the most effective methods for shifting pricing, drivers will be drawn to park in spaces that may otherwise be vacant at a particular time.
Smart cities need smart parking, and urban citizens need somewhere to leave their car without having to walk an unreasonable distance to their destination. The future of smart parking systems will allow us all to make the most of available spots while vastly improving the efficiency of parking management for both drivers and the agencies that control this vital city resource.
Written by Igor Ilunin, Head of IoT at DataArt.