According to Ted Wallingford
, the city of Emeryville, CA has chosen to work with Spark Parking
to build automated public parking solutions. You may remember the upstart Spark Parking from last year's ETel conference, where they were demonstrating their wi-fi-enabled parking lot technology, which used Asterisk on the back end to process the parking data. It's an innovative idea and I think it's interesting to see this kind of technology applied to one of the often overlooked and more mundane aspects of our lives. Parking efficiency is probably something most of us don't think too much about, but if you're involved in running the facilities of a large retail or campus operation or a municipality, you know all too well the headaches that poorly planned parking can cause. Spark Parking is currently running one of their high-tech lots in Portland, Oregon, and is working hard to become the leader in monitoring and managing parking with wireless communication technology.
I shall tell you how we in Croatia, Southeastern Europe, doing parking with wireless tech ( GSM, not Wi-Fi ). It was one of the first countries in the world doing parking this way.
Every carrier in Croatia supports this service from somewhere about 2004.
The process is simple. You write the number of your plate and send a SMS to dedicated number like ''4433'' and you get confirmation for one hour of parking time.
The firm that's doing control of parking spaces, instatly gets your order on their terminal ( and leave you alone for 1h ;)
Before your parking time is elapsed ( 15 minutes ) , you got automatic alert on your mobile phone ( without any subscription or your intervention ) that your parking is nearing an end.
It's up to you if you wish to do reserve again for another hour using the same process ( from a bar or on the street etc.- the proximity is not important ).
The billing is on your monthly mobile payment balance ( or prepaid card you are using ).
Simple as that. G
SM coverage is everywhere and the price is not costly, it's basicly form of mobile micropayment with great convenience.
People are using it all the time.
That's awesome! I remember Cooper from last year's ETel. Great guy and great idea.
Bruce, thanks for the post!
Zec, thanks for your comment - while parking payments via mobile phone have been available for a few years in Europe, and to a lesser extent in Asia and the USA, none of the approaches currently in use link the payments with sensors, like Spark Parking does. Note the huge advantage this has for the parking customer over the system you describe in Croatia (which is fundamentally the same system worldwide) - all parkers need only call once, when they arrive! There is no need to get alerts of expiring time, call back to add time, etc - you just call to say "I'm here" and then you stay as long as you like, confident that your time will never run out, and that you'll be charged fairly for the time you actually stay in the parking space.