To say that technological innovation has changed the world would be an understatement at this point. In just a decade, the technologically-driven world has become nearly unrecognisable. The change is for the positive. Daily manual processes have become simple, convenient and quick with the help of automation, and the shift is still ongoing.
More recently, the COVID-19 outbreak catalysed the widespread adoption of forward-looking technologies across the world. A big part of this change is digital parking. The parking sector has rapidly adopted contactless solutions in the new normal to meet people’s need for hygiene and safety. No longer are we exchanging parking tickets and paying cash to guards – parking is becoming seamless using cutting-edge mobile apps.
This, invariably, is paving the way to smart cities, which are likely to become the mainstay of urban living in the near future. As the technological revolution continues to change the processes that drive day-to-day lives, IoT, AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, and other innovations will dominate. Eventually, the tech will not just change lives, but entire living spaces.
At the core of it, smart cities leverage technology to solve common urban living issues such as pollution, water supply, parking and more. A smart city resident has better access to transportation, cleaner air to breathe and a higher degree of overall living convenience. Central to a smart city is data which is collated from several touchpoints every second to record feedback and improve amenities offered to citizens. The goal of smart cities is to empower each inhabitant.
The role of digital parking in smart cities
The COVID-19 outbreak made a stronger case for a tech-driven world that can easily overcome crises and resource constraints. 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.
Central to the safe and convenient experience that smart cities have to offer is a solution to the parking conundrum. In the current times, while there are a lot of parking lots and spaces available in big cities, these are not nearly enough to accommodate the burgeoning number of cars. The lack of parking leads to traffic jams and stressful situations every day for urban commuters.
Not just in public spaces such as malls and offices, parking issues are also faced within residential spaces, where overcrowding of cars near the entry and exit points are witnessed commonly. So, while a lot of people lose personal hours due to long traffic jams, others may experience bigger issues like car theft by parking in non-designated spaces only because of the lack of parking.
This is exactly where digital parking spaces come into the picture.
With smart parking solutions, people can easily find a vacant spot to park their cars, book slots, and pay digitally instead of waiting in long queues to pay in cash. It eliminates contact at various touchpoints such as check-in, check-out, and payments. Thus, it is faster, smoother, and most importantly, safer for both car owners and parking guards.
In India, where nearly 30 percent of all traffic jams are caused by parking issues, such a solution can be ground-breaking. With digital parking, there will be fewer cars on the streets looking for parking.
Furthermore, digital parking will transform residential societies, where automated entry and exit will make the parking process smoother and more efficient. IoT-enabled boom barriers will identify cars and their owners as they enter or exit, thus adding a layer of safety as well. Car thefts will reduce thanks to RFID tags, and residences will become much more peaceful.
The future is now: Introducing safe and secure parking experiences
As technology continues to evolve, parking will become more secure than ever before. Be it residential societies, malls, schools, or office complexes, parking, entry and exit will become seamless. While parking has so far been stressful due to a mismatch between the number of cars and parking slots, digital solutions can make the experience safer and more convenient.
In a world where we are moving towards smart cities that put the main focus on citizen comfort and positive experience, digital parking not just for consideration—it is the only option.
—The author, Amit Lakhotia is CEO & Founder, Park+, a Delhi-based start-up. The views expressed in the article are his own
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)