Future of IoT Based Smart Parking
Finding a parking spot has become an everyday problem for people all over the world. It is estimated that 35% of the overall commute time is dedicated to finding a parking spot. Be it at a mall, a parking garage, or work, we have all spent an ungodly amount of hours (17 per year, if you want the exact number) looking for the perfect parking spot. Thanks to smart parking, this daily task has been made much easier.
Today, with the help of sensors, motorists have access to useful information like the location of free parking spaces and directions to these spaces. Smart parking has made the lives of daily commuters more streamlined, helping reduce travel time and pollution. The practicality of such a solution has become so apparent that cities and businesses around the world have started to adopt it.
But, as we know, no two places are the same. Their requirements will change depending on available space, number of daily commuters, access to an internet connection, and so on. Hence, the solution needs to be modified to suit the requirements of that location. This is where IoT comes into play. It allows both parking operators and motorists to leverage real-time information and make decisions that help both parties.
IoT for Parking Space Optimization & Demand Management
IoT is at the center of all tracking systems, including parking spaces. With the help of this technology, motorists can cut time from their commute with information on available parking spaces. In some cases, they can even book a parking space for a specific date and time period, significantly reducing parking queues and congestion on the roads.
Companies and municipalities can also greatly benefit from the data collected by the IoT sensors and applications. When motorists pull into a parking space, sensors placed under or to the side of the space detect the presence of the vehicle and relay this information to a centralized system. This data can be used by municipalities and companies to optimize their parking infrastructure. They can decide on parking meter rates, allowed parking times, and build more spaces if demand in some areas is greater than others.
A company that is helping communities and businesses optimize their parking infrastructure is PNI Sensor Corporation. Their flagship product the PlacePod is an IoT-enabled in-ground or surface-mounted sensor that communicates with a centralized system to provide real-time parking data to the end-user, i.e. the motorist. Their API also allows integration with third-party applications like payment gateways, parking management systems, and law enforcement, making the parking process more streamlined.
Today, with COVID-19 on the top of everyone’s mind, another aspect of smart parking that appeals to the larger population is that it facilitates reduced contact with others. ParkSmart, an India-based smart parking management start-up, has specifically designed its platform to help digitize India’s parking industry. The platform allows users to find and book parking spots by showcasing real-time availability and provides online payment options. Meanwhile, parking operators and contractors are provided with revenue analytics, smart alerts, and auditing tools that empower them to make better decisions.
Park Smarter with IoT
Earlier we spoke about how this technology can be personalized to serve a specific region. The best example of this is its use in enforcing parking rules and violations by empowering both the motorist and law enforcement with the relevant information.
While searching for a parking space, motorists can access information about which parking spaces are reserved for the disabled or other purposes. Also, they can get nuanced information like the allowed parking time (if applicable), the parking charges and penalties, crime statistics, and other relevant information. This allows motorists to make better decisions and avoid unnecessary fines due to negligence or lack of information.
Law enforcement can use this technology to track parking violations with the help of strategically placed sensors. For example, if a vehicle is parked in a ‘No Parking’ zone, they can issue a fine to the violator online and, if required, even inform the towing service to collect the vehicle. Thanks to IoT, all this can be done from a control room without sending a law enforcement officer to the scene.
Smart Parking – an award-winning leader in the design, development, and management of parking technology – has recently added a compliance management software to their suite of smart parking solutions. Christened Tessera, this mobile application leverages the company’s flagship SmartCloud platform to enable councils, municipalities, and other businesses to efficiently manage and enforce parking laws.
Another company driving this change is Operations Commander. As the name suggests, it is the complete solution for parking security and management. Combining the power of handheld mobile devices with sensors and cameras, it is designed to reduce the cost and burden of manual permit administration, violation enforcement, and incident reporting. They do this by automating parking and security management and generating more income. They can validate license plates and issue citations, all while reducing human interaction. Thanks to Operations Commander, officers can now effectively reinforce parking regulations to help improve customer service and traffic flow.
The Future of Smart Parking
It is estimated that, by 2035, there will be over two billion cars on the road. This influx of vehicle owners around the world also means that the demand for more parking spaces is going to increase. Also, the increase in demand is not going to be uniform. The only way, as a community, we can hope to solve this demand problem is with access to accurate data and information, and by developing the appropriate tools to leverage said data.
Smart Parking technology and sensors are those tools. They not only help municipalities and companies manage parking spaces, but also collect data on parking behaviors, meter rates, law violations, and so on. As a result of using Smart Parking, motorists can find parking spots in the most efficient way possible, and companies and municipalities can optimize their parking territories and infrastructure to meet varying needs. It also makes cities more livable, economical, safer, and less congested.