How to Get Started With the Smart Parking
Smart parking is an innovative and much-needed solution that can be easily fulfilled with IoT. Keep reading to know how you can get started.
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One of the key issues of a big city dweller is finding a parking space. Sure, you may have a big one at your home, but when a person goes out in the city, it can be an arduous task to get one space for your car.
For the same reason, sometimes, people lose their jobs, face losses in business, etc. Though these issues may not seem real, the issue of parking is very real. As per stats, Americans lose close to $73 billion while looking for parking space.
As today's technology is mature enough, businesses can make up for their losses. How? Well, the concept of smart parking is the way to go. Some of the best technologies back the smart parking concept. The prime one is the Internet of Things. Unlike traditional technologies, IoT can help revolutionize parking and make it super easy to find and manage at your business premises.
Let's move forward and find out how smart parking can be implemented!
What Is a Smart Parking System?
Smart parking is a concept where buildings' parking lots are fitted with smart technologies like sensors that record data and send it to the cloud. The cloud feeds this data to the application on the user's device. Users can check the data in real-time to find a vacant parking spot and plan their visit.
Unlike traditional parking systems where there was no room for knowing about the vacancy in a parking lot. The new, improved smart parking management system enables users to do so. Further, various applications can be backed by smart parking systems, such as spot reservation, advanced payment, etc.
How Does Smart Parking Work?
Ok, before we break into the details of smart parking, let's unravel what it consists of. Smart parking systems consist of the following elements.
- A sensor is fitted at each of the parking spots.
- A microcontroller is connected to the sensor.
- A cloud platform
- A mobile application
The collaborative working of all these modules makes the smart parking system perform as intended.
When it comes down to the working of these modules, here is the complete process!
The sensor is fitted at every spot in the parking lot. In the IoT system, the best sensor used to detect the car or vehicle is an ultrasonic sensor. The range of the sensor can go up to 70 feet. However, the sensor ranges from 10-50 centimeters in this case.
If not ultrasonic sensors, infrared and electromagnetic field detection sensors can also be used. Electromagnetic sensors detect changes in magnetic fields, whereas infrared sensors detect changes in surrounding temperatures and motion.
In the case of ultrasonic sensors, there are three cases based on which the decision is made.
- If the distance detected by the sensor is more than ten and less than 50cm, the parking space is occupied.
- If the sensors detect a distance of more than 50cm, there is no vehicle parked in the space.
- Lastly, if the sensor detects a distance of less than 10cm, the signal is blocked. Therefore, the sensor can be dirty.
The microcontroller is one of the most critical elements of the smart parking system. It is attached to each of the sensors. The functioning of the microcontroller is to fetch digital data from the sensors and compare it to provide an output.
You can use various microcontrollers for this, such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ESP8266, etc. All of them are capable enough to process information fetched from the sensors.
The microcontroller transmits the data to the cloud via the MQTT protocol. There are other protocols too that can be used, such as LoRa and LoRaWAN.
There are some advantages of these protocols, such as extended operating time backed by no need to replace the battery for a long time.
Cloud and Analytics
A cloud is a place where the processed data is stored. There are various cloud services to choose from, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and more.
The motive of cloud and analytics is to store the data acquired from the microcontroller.
The mobile application shows the users a real-time map of the parking space fetched from the cloud at periodic intervals.
When the user requests the status of the parking, the app fetches the data stored on the cloud. This data, which is usually a color-coded map, is displayed on the mobile screen of the user. Thus, users can easily find out where the vacant parking spot is.
Note: There are choices in terms of microcontrollers and communication protocols. This is due to the fact that the parking lots can be of various sizes. Therefore, the hardware, software, and firmware selections may vary based on the size of the parking lot. Therefore, it is better for you to choose all the required components after consulting an IoT expert.
Reasons and Benefits to Adopt Smart Parking?
As you are well-versed in the concept and working of smart parking, let's closely analyze some of the reasons and benefits of smart parking.
- Real-time Monitoring: This is one of the best reasons to invest in smart parking. When you have smart sensors in place, you can monitor the parking space from anywhere. Be it your home, your office cabin, or the road, you can access real-time parking updates and find a spot.
- Time-Saving: As traditional parking spaces don't have sensors, smart parking allows you to save a lot of time. As you don't have to roam around in your car looking for a parking spot, you can save time while going straight to the empty spot.
- Less Congestion: It is commonly observed that lack of parking spaces may lead to congestion in parking and quarrels, sometimes. Smart parking and some of its advanced applications, like parking reservations, can help reduce congestion.
- Efficient Management: When smart parking is implemented in your business venue, it will lead to efficient management that reduces chaos.
- More Productivity: As most of your employees may feel challenged to find a parking spot in the morning, the idea of smart parking can help them reach the workplace faster and consequently boost productivity.
- Infrastructure Development: This is by far the ultimate reason to invest in a smart parking system. You see, when you have smart parking at your workplace, you will automatically come to know about its usage. In addition, the analytics obtained from the cloud can be used to study usage over time and plan the further development of the infrastructure.
What Is the Future Scope of Smart Parking?
Smart parking is just the beginning. As technology advances, the scope of IoT in smart parking can give birth to various other applications. Here are some potential future applications of smart parking.
- Parking Reservation System: With a smart parking system in place, the application catered to the users can be used to let them reserve a parking spot at their destination. Just like ordering food or groceries online, users can pay for the parking spot beforehand to ensure a reservation.
- Space Optimization: When smart parking is in place, you will know the exact usage via the analytics gathered by the online cloud systems. Hence, while developing further, you can curate some guidelines to follow that ensure effective usage of space.
- Parking Demand Management: As you will be aware of the usage of your parking, it will be easy for you to manage further demands easily.
Hence, it is best to leverage IoT technology if you aim to automate and streamline the parking system. It is safe, secure, and fast. Moreover, with time and technological advancement, it can be further improved to fulfill rising customer needs.
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