Each May, the International Parking Institute (IPI) Conference & Expo marks the end and beginning points for The Year in Parking. Looking back at the past year and ahead to the future, Digital Payment Technologies (DPT) continues to be at the forefront of the technology and service innovations that will soon be showing up on city streets, in parking lots, garages and campuses across North America.
Major Trends and DevelopmentsThe key trends of the past year that will have the greatest impact on the future of parking include:
- Increasing integration of parking services for customer convenience, pay station management, operational efficiency and enforcement.
- More advanced hardware to provide a platform and interface for advanced services.
- More options for consumer payment and parking session management.
- Increasing support for mobile device integration.
- In combination, these trends continue to enhance the parking experience for consumers and mean greater operational efficiency and more profits for municipalities and parking operators.
Integration of ServicesDPTs advanced LUKE II and SHELBY pay stations and open, back-end parking management systems are designed to seamlessly interoperate with a wide variety of third-party services and technologies. In October of 2010, DPT launched License-Plate-Enabled Parking (LEP), an ecosystem of technologies that use the license plate as the key identifier. LEP marks the start of a new era of customer convenience and operational efficiency. With LEP, consumers will enjoy a more streamlined, flexible and convenient transaction process as well as advanced services such as session expiration notifications on their mobile devices and the ability to settle citations directly at the pay station. For operators, LEP offers a Pay-by-License Plate mode, which can lead to better utilization of parking space and lower maintenance costs while dramatically improving the efficiency of enforcement using automated license plate recognition and citation systems.
More Advanced HardwareThe modern parking pay station has become much more than a tool for the simple settlement of transactions; it is now a hub for the delivery of a variety of services. At the 2011 IPI show, DPT introduced LUKE II, the latest iteration of its popular multi-space parking pay station. In addition to providing the necessary platform to support advanced parking applications such as LEP, the LUKE II pay station includes new options for customer payment, including near-field communications (NFC)-equipped mobile devices and contactless credit cards. For operators, LUKE II offers flexible support for multiple operational modes, simplified maintenance, better security and advanced communications for remote management and diagnostics.
More Options for Customer Payment and Session ManagementFew things irritate consumers more about the parking experience than finding they dont have the right currency or payment cards to complete a transaction. DPTs LUKE II pay stations allow consumers to pay with coins, bills, traditional and contactless credit and debit cards, value cards, campus cards or by phone.
DPT pay stations also provide consumers with more options to manage their parking sessions. Because DPT pay stations are centrally managed and networked, consumers can extend their parking session from the nearest pay station. Extend-by-Phone, also introduced at the 2011 IPI show, allows consumers to enter their mobile phone number at the time of payment to receive an SMS alert when their parking session is about to expire. The session can then be extended with a simple return text message.
Increasing Mobile Device IntegrationAs mobile devices achieve nearly complete market penetration in North America, the parking industry is doing more to integrate devices and services into the parking experience. Mobile devices can now be used for payment, session management and even finding open parking spaces. DPT continues to lead the way in this area, forging relationships with Pay-By-Phone industry leaders such as Verrus and ParkMobile, supporting contactless payments by mobile device via NFC, introducing Extend-By-Phone capabilities (an industry first) and developing partnerships with space-finding mobile services such as the Parker application from Streetline.
The BenefitsFor consumers, the above trends are changing the parking experience for the better. New parking applications like LEP streamline user interaction and eliminate the need for consumers to return to their cars to place permits on their dash. With more options for payment, they never have to worry about having the correct currency or proper payment card. Contactless payments via credit cards or mobile devices streamline the payment process. And advanced remote session management options and mobile notifications reduce the risk of parking violations and the stress of rushing back to their vehicle.
For parking operators, the advanced software and hardware found in pay stations like LUKE II and DPTs back-end management system mean more revenue, lower operational and personnel costs, more efficient and effective enforcement and greater customer satisfaction. All of these benefits can be achieved without increasing fees for consumers.
As the next Year in Parking unfolds, DPT will continue to innovate in technology and services while building out its ecosystem of partners to provide the leading end-to-end parking solution in the industry.