Smart parking for smart cities: Why digital parking is the future

While technology was already changing our lives and businesses, the COVID-19 outbreak further catalyzed the adoption of tech-led solutions across the board. From remote working to online ordering of groceries, tech made deeper inroads across all industries. The parking industry is no exception.

Technological advancement has changed the way we lead our day-to-day lives. Numerous aspects of our lives such as education, shopping, and even investing have been transformed and made simpler and more convenient thanks to smart innovations. Today, we have the world at our fingertips and are thriving because of this fact. 

Not just personal lives, technological prowess has also changed the way businesses operate. For instance, with the help of automation, organizations can free up professionals from repetitive manual tasks and focus on more creative tasks. Solutions like Big Data and analytics have allowed companies to better understand their performance and pivot their approach as and when needed. Simply put, technology has changed the world for the positive, and the shift is ongoing. 

Greater technological adoption during the COVID-19 outbreak 

While technology was already changing our lives and businesses, the COVID-19 outbreak further catalyzed the adoption of tech-led solutions across the board. From remote working to online ordering of groceries, tech made deeper inroads across all industries. The parking industry is no exception. 

The world was already warming up to contactless, digitized parking solutions. In fact, a 2018 report by IoT Analytics mentioned that 11% of all global public spaces are now smart. The COVID-19 outbreak, however, made a much stronger case for contactless, digital parking solutions. In a post-COVID world, the process of exchanging cash and parchis at the parking lot has become outmoded. 

Today, new-age companies are creating platforms that allow people to check parking occupancy in any given parking lot, and book their slot online. Using digital payment methods that are both safe and secure, digital parking solutions are helping car owners and guards stay safe from the viral outbreak. Now, instead of queuing up at entry points, people are zooming past RFID-enabled boom barriers while knowing exactly where they are going to park, with the help of a simple yet cutting-edge mobile app. 

The role of smart parking in smart cities 

Digital parking technology is only the first step of the tech revolution changing the face of urban life. The tech-led transformation will eventually pave the way towards smart cities. Innovations such as IoT, AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, and other innovations will not just change lives, but entire living spaces. 

The COVID-19 outbreak made a stronger case for a tech-driven world that can easily overcome crises and resource constraints. The entire purpose of smart cities is for the government, policymakers, and technology companies to leverage innovation to solve common city problems including pollution, water supply, parking, and more. 

A smart city essentially uplifts living standards by offering tech-led solutions such as advanced infrastructure powered by IoT and ICT, sustainable energy, safer living communities, and more.  Typically, citizens of smart cities have better access to transportation, enjoy cleaner air, have better access to healthcare, live in smart homes with enhanced with connected devices, and have greater freedom to offer feedback on city services. 

As smarter cities prioritize the convenience of citizens, parking is, without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of these futuristic living spaces. The goal of a smart parking system is to unload city roads from the burgeoning number of cars and a limited number of parking spaces. 

In India, nearly 30% of all traffic jams are caused by parking issues. Individuals spend over 15-20 minutes every day looking for parking spaces. This causes car owners to deal with a high degree of stress daily. Not just this, it is also harmful to the environment as the more time cars spend looking for parking, the more fuel they consume on a daily basis. With digital parking, these problems will come to an end. There will be fewer cars in the street looking for parking, and people will have a more seamless commute every day. 

Another key benefit of smart parking will be space optimization. With higher visibility into parking spaces surrounding each and every building, there will be better utilization of space and reduce the parking space crunch. This will be beneficial for business owners who will be able to accommodate more visitors, customers, clients, etc. without causing any parking hassles to them. This will make for bolstered customer/client experience. 

On a city level, smart parking will help authorities to bank on data collated through smart parking apps to predict traffic trends and better manage the entire parking situation of the city. Thus, smart cities will be able to offer the convenience that they promise while addressing major issues of urban existence. They will save time, patience, and fuel. Furthermore, they will also be assured that their cars are parked in a safe space, protected from damage or theft. 

Transforming residential parking 

The convenience offered by digital parking is not just limited to offices, malls, and public spaces. City-dwellers also face significant parking problems within their residential spaces. Today, residential societies have become very common. These are characterized by many tech-led services such as app-based approval of entry and exit of delivery persons, online rent payments, and more. 

The only issue: parking remains limited within such societies. So, a lot of visitors lose personal hours looking for spaces. For the residents, if someone parks in their designated spot, it can lead to a lot of hassle. Forced to park outside of the society, people, again, risk car damage or theft. In many cases, there is overcrowding of cars at the entry and exit points of society gates, reducing the convenience factor of such organized living spaces. 

This is where digital parking comes into the picture. With new-age smart parking companies entering the residential societies, they are changing the way residents park their vehicles. With smart parking solutions, residents can identify vacant parking slots even before entering into their society. Visitors can also book slots and inform the society guards of their arrival. Thus, the entire process of parking in residential spaces becomes more seamless and simple. Again, this is safer not just for residents but also for guards, who no longer have to physically interact with thousands of individuals every single day. They can monitor that situation through digital platforms and intervene on a case-to-case basis, as needed. 

Digital parking technologies also deploy RFID tags to each car within the residential society. This ultimately helps automate entry and exit to and from the society. Individuals do not have to stop and mention their address before entering; the RFID tag identifies the car and lifts the boom barrier automatically. Residents can also use their mobile app to authenticate their future entries. Simply put, thanks to RFID, residential life becomes smoother, safer, and more efficient – exactly what a smart city aims to offer. 

Experience the safe and secure parking space of the future, today

Technological evolution is continuing at a rapid pace. Whether it is at malls, schools, or office complexes, parking, entry, and exit is going to become even more efficient and convenient. The stress caused by a mismatch between parking spots and cars will be addressed, and parking will no longer be a conflict within big cities. It will be a pleasant experience, and one of the greatest attractions of smart cities. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house