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Understanding the smart parking solution for better usage

Understanding the smart parking solution for better usage
A smart parking solution is a technological construction usually resulting from a mesh of components seamlessly combined, that allows management of one of the multiple parking areas. 

According to André Leitão, an independent security expert and business development executive working in this segment, it may be described as a solution that optimizes parking space supply and demand, automating several tasks that are of value to both the users (drivers) and operators.

The difficulty in demand is partly because there is no single solution that can fit every environment. Several factors impact the choice of the final decision, which often ends up being bespoke. These include physical elements such as the infrastructure or even social factors such as regulations, privacy, funding, and acceptance of the technology. 

We may use assumptions to build an ideal starting solution – out of which the final solution can be derived.

Categorizing to define 

The best way to understand smart parking solutions is by distinguishing two types of parking areas: closed (confined by barriers, usually owned and managed by private entities) and open (street parking or open parking lots, on public space, may be managed by private entities).  
André Leitão, an independent security expert
and business development executive

"The first is naturally easier to manage, with solutions providing availability of free spaces and further indicating those free spots. Parking management solutions for this segment have existed for years now," Leitao explained. "The biggest challenge is with open parking where there are no barriers and because particularly in street parking, the spaces are widely distributed, and it is not always viable to analyze each parking space."

Defining a purpose

The bespoke nature of solutions makes it challenging to define the solution itself but not its intention. If customers decide they would want better parking, then a solution could be set for them. Different vendors would offer different answers to a customer's problems, and an integrated system may be the final solution. 

Sebastian Morf, Sales and Project Execution Head at ITS Siemens Mobility explains that as per studies, every car driver wastes, on average, about 100 hours a year looking for a parking space, which accounts for one-third of the city center traffic. Siemens has developed a sensor-controller parking management system that helps optimize the use of urban parking facilities and substantially reduces the congestion caused by motorists searching for space. 

"Our Intelligent Parking Solutions use the full potential of digitalization: smart sensors, intelligent software, and clever analysis of the available data," Morf said. "The system significantly reduces unnecessary parking-related traffic and ensures optimum utilization of urban parking facilities. This saves time, reduces the environmental impact of traffic, and improves the quality of life in the city."

By taking a strategic approach to traffic management, you can minimize the influx of cars that are in the city when parking spaces are at a low by guiding drivers to parking vacancies in real-time.  

"However, not only can we improve traffic flow through parking guidance by reducing parking-related traffic, we can reduce demand for parking in the first place by reducing the number of cars through the use of intermodal transportation management," Morf added. "This can involve encouraging the use of alternative means of transport as well as making the availability of public transportation service more visible outside of the city center through variable message signs near park and rides."

The need and supply

As the need for better parking systems is obvious and the technology necessary for it is rapidly becoming available, systems integrators should help this segment grow further. Customers would often have funding, awareness, and other concerns, but SIs can present the cost-efficiency element to help them understand why a smart parking solution is a great choice. 

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