If there’s one thing every driver in the world has experienced, it’s the frustration of trying to find a parking space. Drivers waste time, fuel and energy searching for parking, whether it be on city streets or in parking lots. This not only creates extra traffic but also results in increased pollution in the air and enraged drivers on the roads.
Latin America and APAC are projected to drive the smart parking management systems market in the coming years, according to a recent report by Persistence Market Research (PMR). Increased traffic congestion issues in these emerging regions were cited as drivers for this growth.
With the rise of smart cities across the globe, more and more city governments and private parking lot owners are looking to improve the overall parking experience. The use of devices like smart sensors and integration with things like mobile payment are helping to not only reduce driver frustrations, but also improve operational efficiency and increase revenue for lot owners.
Part of what makes smart systems smart is their ability to integrate with other devices, technologies and systems. For parking management companies, integration with third-party mobile apps and mobile payment are key trends worth paying attention to.
With less and less people carrying cash, and more and more people looking to use payment methods such as Apple Pay, integrating various payment methods for the ease of drivers is an important part of the smart parking idea.
“Mobile payment is no doubt a trend in every industry, and we absolutely want to build a smart parking system not only to benefit car drivers for a more convenient parking experience, but also provide a better management solution for parking lot operators,” Bowen Han, Product Manager at Dahua Technology said.
Edwin Siemerink, SENSIT Proposition Manager at Nedap Mobility Solutions also highlighted payment integration among others: “The integration with payment apps, parking license apps, etc., will greatly improve the parking experience,” he said. “Combinations with apps from cities and shopping malls can be made to integrate parking data and further develop the customer experience of visitors. There are also interesting options with customer loyalty programs possible.”
Integrating physical security
While the use of LPR (license plate recognition) seems like an obvious thing for parking lot management when it comes to the use of video surveillance cameras, traditional security players are finding ways to integrate more traditional-type security equipment beyond its typical uses.
Dahua’s Han explained how LPR from video surveillance can be used to thwart illegal parking. “Some parking owners set up VIP spaces for long-term users or special spaces for the disabled; however, they are often occupied by other cars,” he said. “If the space is already registered by another plate number such as for a VIP user, the spot camera will activate the system database to identify illegal parking behavior.”
Han also pointed out, “Considering some countries’ complex plate materials and rules, LPR may not be the best option, in such cases, we will use RFID tags, tickets, etc. to work together.”
Increasing ROI for parking owners
Implementing a smart parking solution could be costly; however, such a solution is likely to benefit the parking owner just as much as the driver. Having an in-depth understanding of their parking spaces, parking lot operators are able to maximize their revenue. “Transient parkers are the largest variable revenue upside for parking lots,” Kurt Buecheler, SVP of Marketing and Business Development at Streetline explained. “Streetline provides a full publishing platform so that parking lots can publish their inventory, hours, pricing and current occupancy so consumers can select their parking lot as their destination.”
This idea of openly publishing information about their inventory and pricing is counterintuitive, according to Buecheler; however, parking lot owners are increasingly recognizing the value of doing so. “Open information always wins top-line revenue by bringing in more consumers.”
Smart parking helps everyone
One thing that can be agreed upon is that all parking situations could benefit from smart parking management. Most companies, however, see smart parking management most benefiting larger-scale parking environments.
“A smart parking lot management system could be especially helpful for large-scale parking lots found in airports, shopping malls or city-level individual parking lots, where there are numerous parking lots and multi-layer parking areas,” Adler Wu, Product Manager for Vertical Solutions at Hikvision Digital Technology said.
With the arguments and advantages for smart parking solutions well documented, it shouldn’t be long before more parking operators implement such systems. Already the number of smart parking lots are increasing around the world, particularly in major metropolitan cities. Additionally, as the push for smart cities and greener environments continues to grow, parking operators will no longer be able to deny the benefits of smart parking.