Parking Made Easy

3/27/2012

Connected devices have given us the data we want and need wherever we are, making many aspects of our lives easier. For instance, M2M (machine-to-machine)-enabled devices have changed the way we read, thanks to dedicated ereading devices; the way we work out, thanks to connected-fitness devices; and the way we drive, thanks to in-vehicle telematics systems. Now, M2M technology is even changing the way we park.

The automobile—whether it’s a personal car, a government vehicle, or a delivery truck—is essential to modern life. But there are plenty of headaches that go along with driving, including (but not limited to) parking. ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, estimates there will be 210 million connected vehicles on the road by 2016; will parking be smarter by 2016 too?

The answer seems to be yes, and it could happen a lot sooner than 2016. This week CTR Systems, www.ctrsystems.com, announced it will now offer Parkspace, a parking-reservation system powered by Chauntry, www.chauntry.com, which lets you book a parking spot in advance via smartphone. The solution also enables prebooking via phone or Web.


Access to realtime information, like parking-space availability and rates, helps consumers who are looking to park, along with garage owners who are looking to maximize profits.

Chauntry says Parkspace handled more than 5.6 million parking reservations last year, proving there is a consumer appetite for this type of solution. In addition to reservation services, the companies say the solution delivers enterprise tools for parking-garage owners and operators to better control and drive revenue for their facilities.

In the city of Indianapolis, a sensor-based smart-parking system is helping drivers find open spaces, thanks to a joint effort between Streetline, www.streetline.com, and “ParkIndy,” a public-private partnership between the city and Xerox. The system relies on sensors embedded in the pavement; Parker, a free smartphone app, points drivers to open spaces in realtime.

There are other parking applications for consumers on the market, such as BestParking, www.bestparking.com, a free smartphone applications for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry that helps drivers find the most convenient (and most economical) parking spot available at the time. The app includes parking destinations for 43 cities and 79 airports.

Other similar apps are also coming to market for specific cities, including ParkFast SF, an app ($1.99) that uses realtime data to help its users find available public parking in San Francisco. Once you settle on a spot, the app will even give you turn-by-turn directions to the open spot.

Similarly, FasPark for the Chicago market gives you dynamic, realtime local information about street parking. You can search for free parking, zoned parking, or metered parking within a certain radius of your location. Once you park, the app saves your location and helps you find your car when you’re ready to leave.

Smart parking solutions are just one aspect of a connected transportation system. To learn more about how M2M technology and connected devices are contributing to transportation, keep an eye on the upcoming issues of Connected World magazine.




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