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January: What’s Hot?

Let's kick the year off with the latest trends and technologies in the parking industry.

Eager to get 2021 off to a flying start we reached out to our industry experts to ask them what parking trends and technologies we might expect to see in the year ahead. Following on from a challenging year of coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns there was a refreshing sense of optimism amongst the experts. Digitalization, frictionless experiences, and smart parking technologies were all topics that came up over and over again in their predictions. And our headlines from January seem to paint a similar picture.

Watch the entire Quick Question video below and check out this week’s headlines to get up to speed with the latest trends in the parking industry.

Mobility and Parking a Match Made in Heaven

Illustration of a mobility hub with a bus pulling up a stop, bike lane, bike parking and taxis.

As municipalities turn to smart city initiatives, parking is being viewed, more and more, as a part of the larger mobility ecosystem. Isolated parking facilities are transforming into mobility hubs and parking is integrating with a variety of transport modes and services to better serve the needs of a growing urban population.

Following the merger of FlashParking and Arrive, 2021 certainly seems bright for the parking and mobility sectors. Together they will create an end-to-end, touchless digital mobility platform, offering B2B and B2C parking and mobility solutions to provide frictionless parking experiences for consumers and operational efficiencies for operators.

And, together REEF Technology and TIBA Parking Systems will transform traditional parking businesses into tech-enabled ecosystems, revolutionizing the way that landlords and operators monetize their parking real-estate.

Contactless and Frictionless Solutions Rule the Roost

Cars Entering and exiting a barrierless parking facility.

The popularity of contactless technologies had been growing steadily over the past couple of years in response to consumer demand for more frictionless parking experiences. But concerns over contracting coronavirus from surfaces has led to accelerated growth in touchless solutions.

As we have seen in January, contactless solutions come in many forms, from free-flow parking systems that use license plate recognition technology, such as 2Park’s Autopay solution and NEXPA’s automated and ticketless entry and exit to contactless mobile payment from ParkMobile who recently teamed up with TIBA to bring their parking app to gated garages.

Product Launches Still Top of the Agenda

Tradeshows and expos may still be off the cards but that hasn’t stopped companies from launching innovative new solutions to market.  

Mobile parking solutions have taken a new direction this year, with companies turning away from popular app-based technologies to give their consumers the freedom to pay by phone without yet another download. TIBA Parking Systems’ Mobile Valet solution, powered by SMS Valet from TEZ, offers guests a ticketless valet service and allows operators to maximize their revenue. And MyTicket from CVPS provides contactless payment through QR code or SMS messaging.

Contactless and ticketless technologies may be experiencing rapid growth but ensuring that the human touch isn’t lost is still a key concern amongst parking operators. With face-to-face, two-way video intercoms Parker Technology is there to help operators when customers face problems with parking equipment. And their latest software platform, Delta, is helping them meet this growing demand for the human touch in an increasingly contactless world.

Parking Apps Are As Popular As Ever

Man in a shirt at the wheel of a car looks at his mobile phone

Despite companies investing in mobile payment options that don’t rely on downloads, parking apps remain a popular and convenient method of payment, especially as providers extend their reach across cities and countries.

Over the past seven years, one such parking app to undergo massive geographic expansion is EasyPark, with its services now available in over 20 countries worldwide. In January they acquired Parkimeter Technologies to add pre-booking capabilities to their set of services.

Elsewhere, Passport brought contactless parking to the Village of Mount Kisko and ParkMobile extended their app coverage to the City of York in Pennsylvania and the Harris-Stowe State University in St.Louis.

In 2021 it will be interesting to see whether municipalities will begin to open up parking spaces to multiple app providers to further improve the driver experience.  

License Plate Recognition – Is this Ticketless Solution Accurate and Secure?

License plates from the United States

Another route to ticketless technology that we have seen plenty of in January is license plate recognition. Aside from new installations from NEXPA in Singapore, Nedap in Saudi Arabia and WPS in Hoorn accuracy rates and security have hit the headlines.

Accuracy rates are a key concern for LPR providers, but the diverse range of license plates available mean that cameras must be able to identify a wide variety of features. In the UK, Quercus Technologies has overcome difficulties with British license plates to achieve reliability rates of 99.7% whilst also improving accuracy in the UAE, where cameras must recognize the Arabic alphabet and identify plates that differ from emirate to emirate.

As the use of license plate recognition grows within the parking and roadway industries, privacy, security, and sharing are becoming a growing concern. Rekor’s AI-based platform Rekor Scout™ (previously Watchman) has been greatly expanded to enable municipalities and operators to take greater control over their security, privacies, and sharing settings to better comply with their own policies and outside regulations.

That’s a wrap for January, but these trends are sure to continue through 2021. To keep up to date with all the latest updates from the parking industry check out our news feed and the rest of our Parking Network blog.

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