Parkpnp Blog

How Does Smart Parking Work?

Smart parking is a catch all term which is generally applied to any application of technology which optimises the parking experience for either the motorist or the parking management company.

There are endless examples of Smart Parking, however you can generally segment ‘Smart Parking’ initiatives into one of two categories:

Hardware-Focused – most people don’t tend to realise that car parks are full of lots of expensive hardware. These hardware pieces are traditionally focused on optimising the car park for the management company and include:

Access Control: Barrier machines are powerful pieces of technology. We are all used to driving up and pulling a ticket but they can also be triggered by approaching vehicles, phone technology and cameras among other things.

Lighting: poorly lit car parks tend to perform poorly particularly outside of daylight hours. This is why many car park companies are introducing sensor based lighting, which can be triggered in a number of ways including by traffic and pedestrians.

Cameras: application of cameras is probably one of the most interesting growth segments in the world of parking. Traditionally cameras were used in car parks for CCTV only and needed to manually monitored. However, cameras can now be used for licence plate recognition which opens up possibilities around access and payments. Cameras can also be used for enforcement

An emerging area of smart parking hardware is sensor technology. These can be installed in car parks to monitor space occupancy. The uptake hasn’t been overly widespread to date due to the disruption associated with installation and the quantity of sensors needed to monitor larger car parks.

The focus for most Hardware-Focused Smart Parking initiatives is simple. How can parking companies automate as many aspects of their operations as possible to increase occupancy and yields.

Software-Focused – parking is transitioning from a hardware led business to an industry that is increasingly being driven by software innovations. The power of parking hardware opens up massive possibilities for companies to create smart applications to optimise the parking experience for individual motorists. Smart parking innovations can be categorised into three main segments:

Payment: the growing adoption of smartphones means that everybody has their own payment processor in their pockets. Motorists particularly millenials are carrying less and less cash and have little or no patience for things like parking tickets and queues at payments machines. Pay by app products like Parkpnp are rapidly gaining market share by offering car parks the chance to accept app payments from customers in real-time.

Access: as mentioned previously, the technological capabilities of modern barrier systems means that many of them can integrate with smart parking apps, allowing motorists to enter and exit car parks using their phones.

Workplace: AI & automation is becoming a sharp focus for the smart parking movement. Traditionally people wouldn’t know whether there is spare space at work until they arrive. However, smart parking products like ParkOffice can now automate and allocate all aspects of workplace parking, increasing office parking capacity by 25%. This is done by alerting staff when office parking is and isn’t available.

Smart parking is really a catch-all term but as technology disruptors continue to innovate in the space we are seeing massive amounts of exciting products emerge. Slowly but surely best practice will emerge with the perfect mix of software and hardware, ensuring widespread adoption and ultimately a more specific acceptance of what “Smart Parking” is and how it works.

Daithí de Buitléir

Daithí de Buitléir

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