The so-called “internet of things” or IoT is a term that has received a lot of attention in the media. A quick search on Google yields over 200 million results, five million of which are news items. On our platform, the term is repeatedly mentioned in press releases.
But, what is the internet of things and how does it relate to the parking industry?
In plain terms, the internet of things is connecting devices via the internet to gather data and communicate with each other. One example can be the following:
I have on my agenda a meeting with a client at 10:00 AM. There is an accident on the highway causing me to be late to the meeting. My phone automatically notifies my colleagues that I am running late. The phone also lets the car navigation know that I am late so the navigation system looks for alternate routes to minimize time. Once I am close to the office, the phone searches for an available parking spot near the office via a parking application. The phone communicates to the car where the spot is and I am led there. I might be late for the meeting, but my colleagues were able to begin without me and my lost time was minimized.
The connectivity and communication of all these devices is IoT or the internet of things.
Smart Cities and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Another common term related to the internet of things is smart cities. The internet of things allows cities to be “smart” by having different systems communicate. A smart city can detect when there is an extra influx of cars, say for a sporting event, and can lead drivers to appropriate parking areas. It can detect higher levels of air or noise pollution in certain areas and notify authorities to make decisions such as closing downtown areas for cars or lowering the cost of parking lots outside the city center.
As we discover the possibilities of the Internet of Things and Smart Cities, we will also discover the limits we want to set on this connectivity.
We have sure come a long way from the The Black Maria parking meter!