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Urbanization is on the rise, and the complexity of city traffic is growing on a daily basis, especially post-COVID when everyone seems to be out on the road. Public transport is not easily accessible for all while parking a personal vehicle is even tougher (and costlier).
The requirement for an Internet of Things (IoT)-powered parking system has, therefore, gained prominence to minimize the ongoing traffic congestion and to reduce the unpredictability of parking availability. With numerous connected devices on the horizon, devising an IoT-based smart parking system is relatively easy now.
In fact, such infrastructure empowers drivers and parking facility managers with advanced information such as available slots and current parking fee.
But exactly, what is an IoT-based parking system?
An IoT-based parking system is a centralized management that enables drivers to search for and reserve a parking spot remotely through their smartphones. It offers a convenient arrangement for drivers to park their cars when they are looking to avoid potential traffic congestion.
The system’s hardware sensors detect available slots and communicate the information to the drivers in that area in real-time. IoT technology ensures that they do not have to worry about finding an available space again – allowing them to travel conveniently.
Besides, the connected device sends alerts about peak times and surcharges. No one wants to struggle to find a parking slot or pay more at any given point.
Using smart parking technology will help maximize the consumption of existing parking space, increase the effectiveness of parking operations, and facilitate easier traffic flow with just a few taps on a mobile app.
Smart parking solutions are intended to give drivers complete control of their journey - from start to finish - without having to hunt for parking. The IoT technology helps save costs and minimize travel time. IoT forms the foundation for real-time data collection and analysis.
IoT provides the means to connect various devices and sensors in the parking ecosystem and fetch data that can be used to optimize operations. The future of smart parking lies in the integration of IoT with autonomous vehicles. The arrangement would free up even more road space and make it easier for people to get around.
The massive problem with the current parking management
Research shows that most cars search for parking spots for around 3.5 to 14 minutes. Drivers who lack patience sometimes park illegally and if caught, have to pay hefty fines. In crowded cities, this amounts to a loss of around 470 to 1870 hours looking for car parking. Is the hassle worth it? Absolutely not!
Another research shows that up to 68% of the world's population would reside in urban areas by 2050. As we advance, this will directly affect how drivers park their cars in urban areas. Either we stop purchasing cars or leverage IoT technology to optimize parking slots.
The second option seems to be an ideal choice as smart parking innovations grow in popularity. They help in eliminating the following problems from the mix:
Sometimes, drivers still determine how long they will stay in a particular location. As a result, they may pay too much for parking while the duration may be much lesser.
2. Environmental impact
Besides time, a lot of fuel is consumed looking for an appropriate parking space. When it rains, numerous pollutants accumulated in the parking lots get a wash, creating dirty, wet mud and foul smells.
3. Parking inappropriately
The parking lot at the mall or the customer's intended destination is usually insufficient and they end up parking outside the designated spot. It results in greater traffic congestion.
4. Overcrowded parking spaces
The biggest issue right now is that there are more cars on the road compared to the parking spots. Talk about bumper-to-bumper traffic!
5. Insufficient parking space utilization
People frequently lack patience or are unaware of parking slot availability. They tend to park improperly due to the rush. Occasionally, they may not leave enough room for other vehicles to park. These lead to traffic blockages.
How IoT can be used in parking management
The rapid demand for parking spaces stems from two major trends – urbanization and car ownership. In a short period, the IoT-based parking management system has positively impacted all stakeholders involved in the process.
For instance, drivers can plan trips and commutes keeping slot occupancy in mind. Enforcement agencies can detect and evaluate the gravity of parking rules violations in seconds.
Parking facility managers can optimize the use of the personnel and the available space. Adding to that thought, IoT can be used in parking management in the following ways:
- Create “smart” parking meters that accept payments via credit card or smartphone and provide real-time information on space availability.
- Extend the operating time of an autonomous parking system by consuming less power with the help of LoRaWAN® networking standard.
- Send real-time data from IoT sensors to a cloud server and share it with users to provide them with the details of free-parking spaces.
- Determine the number and position of vacant parking spaces precisely using IoT sensors.
- Reduce congestion and improve traffic flow by using sensors to monitor parking space availability and direct drivers to available spaces.
- IoT gateway and the LPWAN protocol help connect IoT devices and sensors in sizable parking lots.
- The parking management company can use a cloud-based IoT dashboard. It uses gathered sensor data to mine intelligible insights that are visually appealing and provides a clear picture of the parking facility.
- Optimize parking operations and improve security by tracking vehicles entering and exiting a parking facility.
- Mobile applications can display parking data to drivers and send alerts in case of a security breach.
- Monitor environmental conditions in parking garages, such as air quality and temperature, to ensure the safety of occupants.
IoT-based sensing devices commonly used for smart parking systems include:
- Ultrasonic sensors measure the distance of a target object by eliminating ultrasonic sound waves and convert the reflected sound into an electrical signal.
- Electromagnetic field detection is helpful to detect metals as they pick up minute changes in the magnetic field.
- Infrared sensors can detect motion and gauge temperature changes in the immediate surroundings.
How IoT can solve the existing parking management problem
The IoT data picked up from the sensors gets transmitted over a wireless connection to a cloud server. The information is collated and analyzed in real-time to create a map of available parking slots, which is reflected on the smartphone application.
IoT-driven parking management systems assist in meeting parking needs by solving various issues in the following ways:
1. Improving car control and safety
By alerting drivers when they are going to leave a car in a no-parking area, smart parking systems increase the safety of vehicles. Connected systems provide pertinent data about the areas with the highest violation density and the peak timing for parking violations. IoT also monitors traffic law reinforcement structures. It enables the creation of an efficient framework for tracking and controlling parking violations.
2. Monitoring the parking space in real-time
IoT facilitates search simplification and accelerates the parking procedure. Automated parking and reduced human intervention remove uncertainty and guesswork in seeking open parking spaces. The technology also prevents drivers from wasting time driving around crowded parking lots. IoT solutions help find a parking space by monitoring the facility occupancy in real-time.
3. Anticipating the traffic flow by examining parking patterns
High traffic zones like shopping centers, office buildings, and airports can use IoT-based smart parking solutions for optimization. IoT technology helps gain more clarity and insight thanks to connected parking management software, which fills a crucial decision-making gap.
Smart platforms can identify intricate seasonal patterns and trends by gathering real-time driver data every day of the year. That way, parking facility managers will have a comprehensive understanding of how the flow of vehicles varies throughout the year, what factors are responsible for rising parking demand during specific periods, and how to utilize parking spots best using these behavioral and environmental insights.
4. Making the most of time and space in a congested urban environment
There will be less search activity on the street as smart parking technologies make finding an open spot more manageable. As a result, the issue of traffic jams can be reduced, allowing city people to save potentially valuable time.
Business owners can maximize the use of available space with the help of IoT-based parking management systems. For instance, the parking management system may automatically modify the meter rates according to the building's current occupancy. Automated meter renewal solutions will also assist parking facilities in increasing income and drawing in more customers.
The benefits of IoT in smart parking management
As mentioned before, smart parking uses sensors like any other IoT application. The goal is to automate and reduce the time spent manually searching for a parking space–which is frustrating and tedious for the drivers.
Some IoT solutions may comprise a complete suite of services, including car searching functionalities, online payments, and parking time notifications. An IoT-connected parking solution can significantly benefit the driver and the parking facility owner. The key benefits of using an IoT-powered smart parking management are:
1. Reduced costs
Using IoT in parking management, you can reduce the overall costs associated with running a parking facility. For example, you can use sensors to detect when a space is vacated and open up that space to other vehicles, reducing the need for manual labor.
2. Enhanced security
IoT enhances security as the sensors detect the vehicle and raise an alarm in case of unauthorized access. Security cameras and license plate scanners can be integrated into an IoT platform to detect and track suspicious activity automatically. The vehicle is constantly monitored so the driver can be stress-free.
3. Increased efficiency
The driver will be redirected to the nearest available parking spot saving time and fuel. In contrast, the parking company can easily manage more vehicles with an IoT system than with a human-based workflow.
4. Improved customer experience
IoT in parking management makes it possible to provide a better customer experience with functionalities such as real-time information on parking availability, guidance on the nearest available parking spot, and automated payment options. Easy parking improves the customer experience and allows businesses to realize greater benefits through repeated customer visits.
The challenges of implementing IoT in smart parking management
Smart parking is an emerging market with immense potential. According to a recent study, the global smart parking market is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2020 to $5.4 billion by 2025. In the US, more than $8 billion yearly revenue is generated through commercial parking lots and the garages industry.
But even with such a large market, only a small percentage of parking facilities have adopted smart parking technologies. Several challenges are causing the slow adoption rate, including:
A. Organizational challenges
1. Awareness and acceptance
It is an enormous undertaking to transform a culture that has existed for many centuries. Parking has always been a current business involving direct financial exchange. The incorporation of technology represents a cultural shift that will take some time.
2. High cost of implementation
The capital investment required to install smart parking infrastructure can be very high. For example, a single parking space can cost upwards of $1,000 to equip with the necessary sensors and IoT devices. When you multiply that by the number of parking spaces in a given facility, the costs can become prohibitive.
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B. Technical challenges
1. Correctness of information
A key challenge is ensuring correct information is displayed to the users on the application at all times. Inaccuracy or delays in receiving the data may result in drivers traveling to different places than the designated parking spots - causing much mayhem and confusion on the roads.
2. Availability of standard IoT tools
The service providers use technological platforms like the P&E PARC and PUCRS to manage the parking process which is so extensive. These include computer clients, servers, wireless and wired telecommunications systems, hardware sensors, dynamic messaging systems, traffic management devices, and application interfaces.
The biggest obstacle to lowering the price and complexity of IoT smart parking is making it possible for all these devices from hundreds of different vendors to speak with one another and connect to a single platform.
Another problem with installing a smart parking management system is requiring numerous sensors to be online to obtain data for a single booking window. You must have a variety of routers, which looks to be a challenge.
However, because of the mesh connection, all the sensors are internally connected and can function independently, even when not online. As a result, only one sensor is linked to the internet and transmits data to all other sensors. Since other routers do not require an internet connection, it performs well. Still, it is not the most reliable solution.
3. Lack of talent in the smart technology space
Automated parking management systems will require professionals who are familiar with IoT and can provide immediate troubleshooting. Deploying such intricate smart solutions requires the finest advice for carrying out the projects correctly.
Future of smart parking management
The parking industry is in the midst of a transformation. Rapid technological advances are enabling a new breed of parking solutions that are more efficient, convenient, and sustainable.
The smart parking management system's independent operating time will be extended via the LoRaWAN® protocol, designed for low power consumption. In the future, you do not need to change IoT sensors, devices, and gateways batteries more frequently than once every two to five years or according to the LoRa Alliance's specifications.
Additionally, the IoT-driven smart parking system is made to expand from a single gateway deployment to massive worldwide networks with billions of IoT devices. Using this or any other LPWAN protocol for a smart parking facility would be fantastic.
You may use ioT-based advancements coupled with data Science, Machine Learning (ML), and Computer Vision to automate the process. The technology will facilitate car number identification and auto payment deduction to make smart parking seamless.
The introduction of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) is anticipated to have a substantial impact on the future of the IoT-enabled smart parking sector. Self-parking automobiles, specialized AV parking lots, and robotic parking valets are already being tested in several places worldwide.
Cities and parking managers from across the globe are well aware of how vital smart parking is. Many other technological advancements will be crucial for this upcoming generation of parking facilities. Some essential elements include next-generation digital cameras, wireless connectivity (like 5G), and Big Data analysis.
Over to you
As the number of cars on the road continues to grow and the available land space for infrastructure and development remains constant, there is a greater need for solutions that can initiate faster and optimized parking – minimizing the hassle and unnecessary congestion on the roads. IoT is the ideal option for sustaining quick urbanization.
If you are looking for an IoT application that delivers well-planned and convenience-driven parking support services to your end users, you have come to the right place. We at Intuz have the experience and expertise to work on commercial projects like these. To know more, please leave your contact details here so we can get back to you asap. Speak soon!