Smart Parking Management System

One of the biggest challenges that people of India face today is lack of proper infrastructure to cater to the increasing population and specifically, the increasing concentration of people in urban and semi-urban areas. With the migration of a majority of people to tier 1 and tier 2 cities for various reasons, there is an increase in the population concentration which is far ahead than the rate of increase in infrastructure in these cities. This expansion coupled with lack of infrastructure is one of the major challenges that we are facing today in urban pockets of the country.

Lack of proper parking space in public places is a direct consequence of inadequate infrastructure coupled with inefficient management of existing infrastructure. Evolving technology can be leveraged to create innovative methods to handle the parking space issues. This paper focuses on how IoT can be leveraged to resolve the parking space challenges by proposing a novel system for efficient parking space management. It explores and presents the possibility of connecting and managing various parking spaces and implementing this new management system called Smart Park Management System (SPMS).

Introduction

With the increase in opportunities in the urban areas, country demographics are changing. There is an exponential increase in the number of people moving to tier I and tier II cities to explore opportunities. This will have an impact on the infrastructure.

Given this scenario, imagine a situation on a normal weekend when people tend to take a break outside of their houses. Be it shopping or a movie, the major challenge which all of us are facing today is parking. Lack of proper parking space in proportion to the size of the building is a clear failure of infrastructure planning which needs to be remediated. Nowadays, it is extremely difficult to have a hassle-free experience of going to a commercial complex and easily find a parking space. The crux of the proposed solution short-range device or an IoT-enabled sensor (SRD).

SRDs will be simple rugged ultrasonic sensors embedded in the parking slots to detect parking availability. This sensor emits short-range signals which can be decoded for the availability of that particular parking slot. The data emitted by this device will be received by the reception box (RB) which will be placed at the centralized location in the parking area. ZigBee or any other short range radio interface can be used as a communication mechanism between SRD and RB. The primary function of this RB is to collect the data from all the devices and send that to the third-party service provider hosting the server over the internet. This server in this paper will be referred to as Smart Park Server (SPS).

SPS receives the data from RB and this data will be stored and updated continuously in a specific format tagged with unique identifiers such as Device ID, a unique ID for the parking area, parking slot, area zip code, and location and so on. Stored data is processed and shared with various parking space vendors and other interested groups who subscribe to SPS. Users can choose the parking slot at runtime and book it directly using their mobile app.

This paper is organized into the following sections – Section 2 explains the solution. Section 3 presents the detailed solution and the various modules involved. Section 4 focuses on how all the stakeholders benefit from the solution. Section 5 proposes a revenue model. Section 6 concludes the paper.

SPMS – Introduction

There can be multiple SRDs in a particular parking area. All these SRDs will be configured by the owner of the RB. On configuring, SRDs start emitting data to a centralized RB within the parking area. RB acts as an aggregator of the information shared by SRDs and in turn, sends this information over the Internet to SPS. SPS collates the data from various RBs which have the subscription, processes the data and prepares information which is pushed to the registered user’s mobile app and also shared with vendors (parking space owners) and other stakeholders who have subscribed to this data. Vendors (parking space owners) will have an option to modify/override the data shared by SPS and send it back to SPS in case of exceptions and which is, in turn, pushed to user’s mobile app at real-time.

User’s mobile app will have a unified view displaying the location to be visited based on the GPS coordinates, parking situation in the selected location and the available slots in the particular parking area. The user can make the choice from the available options to book the slot from the mobile even before reaching the location. SPS broker’s information between the user and the third-party vendors and the added advantage of leveraging IoT is that the users get near real-time and relevant data which results in a hassle-free experience.

Leveraging the emerging technology of Internet of Things (IoT), GPS, Data processing and Mobility, all the mentioned independent entities can be connected to create a framework which helps to implement the proposed Smart Park Management System (SPMS).

The proposed solution and the sequence of activities in a typical use case are illustrated in the following sequence diagram:

SPMS Sequence Diagram
Fig. 1: SPMS Sequence Diagram
  1. The user installs the mobile application and registers the application with SPS.
  2. SPS sends the credentials to the user’s mobile application.
  3. The vendor registers the individual SRDs in the RB.
  4. On configuration, RB gathers the data from SRDs that are registered and shares this data with SPS over the internet (after configuration, SRDs continuously send quantity data to the registered RBs).
  5. SPS processes the data received from RBs. It also shares this information with the subscribed vendors and other parties.
  6. On receiving the data from SPS, vendors and other parties optionally process the relevant information and pushes it back to SPS.
  7. SPS processes the information considering the updates, if any, maps it to the relevant users directly.

The following table gives a snapshot of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios of SPMS from a user perspective.

Table 1: User perspective – Before & after SPMS

Before SPMS After SPMS
A user has no prior information about the available parking slots in a particular location. A user has the mobile app which displays near real-time information.
A user is forced to wait or change the location if there is no available slot. User books the parking slot in advance even before going to the venue.
A user should devote extra time to find and wait for a parking slot User books a parking slot and drives directly to the slot without any extra time.

The following table gives a snapshot of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios of SPMS from a vendor’s perspective.

Table 2: Parking Space Vendor perspective – Before & after SPMS

Before SPMS After SPMS
Vendor or the location owner does not have any visibility to specific and near real-time oncoming of vehicles to the location. Vendor or the location owner has near real-time information about the oncoming vehicles by looking at the bookings.
Vendor or the location owner will not have the flexibility to plan activities (applicable to the type of location) based on the oncoming traffic. As the vendor or the location owner has near real-time information of oncoming traffic for a particular location or area, they can plan the activities or manage extra locations in advance.
Inefficient usage of parking space Efficient usage of parking space and increase occupancy

SPMS – Solution detail

This section explains the proposed solution in detail. It also specifies the various modules in the system and their communication mechanism. The proposed system will have four modules – Mobile application, Short- range Devices and Reception Box, Smart Park Server, and Parking space vendors. The description of each module is presented in the following sections.

Mobile Application

Users will be able to download the mobile app from respective app stores. The app will be registered with SPS using the user’s name, mobile number, unique ID, and payment details. This app primarily provides an interface for the user to view and book parking spaces available within a predefined radius based on their real-time location.

Slot Dashboard

This dashboard displays a snapshot comprising various locations that can be visited, parking situation in the location, and slot availability. The user can directly select the slot and the time for which the slot is required and book the slot. On selecting the slot, the user clicks BOOK to book the parking slot in that particular location. The dashboard will also have an option to share the success message on the relevant social media of the user. This increases the credibility of the service in the user’s social circle thereby increasing the number of users using this service.

User’s mobile app displays the available slots in nearby parking lots based on real-time location and availability. A user can then choose the slot and book it in advance various modules in the system and their communication mechanism. The proposed system will have four modules – Mobile application, Short- range Devices and Reception Box, Smart Park Server, and Parking space vendors (illustrated in Figure 2). The description of each module is presented

Profile Configurator

This interface deals with the one- time configuration of user’s details. It includes the information of users such as username, mobile number, payment details and permanent address. On registering, a unique ID is generated by the application which the user should enter to complete the registration. This unique ID will now be tagged to the user’s profile. This information will be registered with SPS. It ensures that the user information and mobile app info are tied together with unique identifiers. The app also provides options to the user to save several locations as favorites.

Short Range Devices and Reception Box

Every parking slot will have an SRD placed in it in a strategic location. These SRDs will be designed to emit the signals based on whether a vehicle has been parked in that slot. This information is sent to RB with which they are registered (vendor managing this implementation will register each SRD with a unique ID with the RB). RB will gather the information from SRDs and send it over the Internet to the SPS. This data capsule will have the availability information of the slot, unique ID of the SRD/slot, which will be processed at SPS.

SRDs can be rugged ultrasonic sensors with short-range RF capability like ZigBee/Bluetooth. RBs will be able to interface with SRDs using short-range RF and transmit the same over the internet via Wi-Fi to SPS Server.

Smart Park Server

This is one of the important modules of the System. This server (SPS) sends near real-time information to the user. The server receives the information from various reception boxes as input and then stores it, updating the same continuously. This information is also shared with parking space vendors and any other agencies (like advertising agencies) who have subscribed to SPS. Parking space vendors have an option to override the data shared by SPS and share it back with SPS in case of exceptions. SPS brokers timely, realistic and specific information between users and vendors which is key to ensure a hassle-free parking experience. The communication between the vendor and SPS is done over the Internet.

Parking Space Owners / Other Vendors

This module deals with the information of various vendors. Every vendor interested in this business model should register and subscribe to SPS Service. This registration will result in a unique ID for the vendor’s server which can get connected to SPS Service periodically and get a dump of the parking area and slot availability data. Parking Space Owners will have an option to override the parking availability information and share it back to SPS in case of exceptions. Other vendors like advertising agencies can push contextual information/offers to the users booking the parking slot. The communication between the vendor and the server is done over the Internet.

Leveraging Digital Technologies

This proposed system leverages the latest and evolving digital technologies such as IoT, Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud (iSMAC) to have a seamless experience of parking in today’s metros.

Mobile

Mobile Application is one of the key constituents of the proposed system, especially from a user experience perspective. For the user, the mobile application is a single touch point to interact with SPS/Vendors. The proposed solution leverages mobile computing in terms of providing an interface to SPS and provides the user with a seamless experience of parking which we are terming as Smart Park Management System.

Cloud

SPS can be handled by an independent entity and it is ideal to have this service hosted on Cloud. As this service needs to cater to huge volumes of users and vendors alike, hosting this service on Cloud would ease achieving economies of scale, optimize infrastructure, and improve accessibility. Also, this being a novel business proposition, leveraging Cloud would help in minimizing CAPEX.

Analytics

One of the key pillars of this solution is data gathering in near real-time from all stakeholders, brokering and processing the collected data to transform it into relevant information for stakeholders. Analytics plays a key role in monitoring and improvising this solution from the user, vendor, and SPS perspective. With the huge volume of data, being exchanged and it being an information-centric proposition, leveraging Analytics will lead to better and apt decisions.

Social

Users from the major stakeholders in the entire system and the SPMS mobile app utilize the social media to share experiences which in turn will lead to better decision making for all stakeholders in their respective areas. Social media presence is defacto for users and this solution leverages it to build on the credibility of the vendors/ services.

Internet of Things (IoT)

SRDs proposed in the solution leverage the evolving IoT. SRDs are short range devices which transmit signals pertaining to a vehicle being parked in a particular slot to a reception box which in turn communicates this data to SPS. SRDs enable capturing and transmitting near real-time data which is a key differentiator of the solution.

Benefits of the Solution

This section deals with how the proposed system provides benefits by creating a new business opportunity in the market in addition to adding value to all the stakeholders involved. SPS Service is a new a business proposition which can be ventured into either by Parking space owners/mall chains or preferably new business entities who can consolidate and offer parking space as a commodity.

Nurturing New Business through IoT

With the proposed solution, the concept of parking will undergo a sea of change. SPS Service is a new business opportunity which involves interfacing with vendors/parking area owners through SRDs and RBs to share the information and interfacing with users through a mobile app. Implementation of this solution would need production, installation, and maintenance of SRDs, Reception Boxes, processing and sharing information with stakeholders.

Adding Value to Involved Entities

This section details the value-add to the various entities/stakeholders involved in the proposed solution. The value-add will be discussed individually for every entity.

Users

Here’s how the user will be benefitted:

  • The user does not have to wait in long queues or spend extra time in identifying a parking slot in a given area.
  • The user can check the slot availability on a mobile app and book the slot for the required duration time and date.
  • To summarize, it is a novel and hassle-free experience for the user.

Third-party Vendors/Parking Area Owners

Here’s how the vendors will be benefitted:

  • The vendors understand parking availability in a particular location managed by them at near real time.
  • The parking area owner can drastically cut the manpower to manage the parking.
  • The parking area owner can convert the unused slots to serve the users who come to the establishment without prior parking. This way, the owner can handle more users thereby ensuring a hassle-free experience to the user.
  • When a user shares the availed offer, it increases the credibility of the vendor in the user’s social circle. This results in more advertisement to the vendor.

SPS (Service)

It is a plethora of opportunities for the service provider.

  • A new business opportunity focusing on information collection and brokering.
  • Data monetization by sharing relevant and timely information to the stakeholders in the value chain helping them experience a hassle-free traffic experience.
  • Can build a strong network across industry verticals such as Mobility and Content Service Providers.

Revenue Model

This section deals with the probable and suggested revenue model for the proposed system. This revenue model includes recommendations for all the stakeholders.

  • The user can be charged an annual nominal amount or a one- time payment for download of the mobile application.
  • The reception box providers can charge the parking space owners/ SPS service providers on a monthly basis availing the services. An additional cost can be covered for the annual maintenance.
  • SPS Service provider will have a subscription-based model for the vendors and the other agencies for sharing the information which helps them get connected to their users’ requirements at near real time. It can also sign an AMC with the vendors and other agencies who register and subscribe to the service.
  • Other agencies can also subscribe to SPS Service and push relevant promotions or advertisements back to users through SPS. Slot parking materialized through these promotions can garner revenue to the agencies.

Conclusion

The proposed system will create new business avenues in the service industry. The new and unique way of parking will result in time, effort and cost saving for the parking space owners, and expand its reach. The proposed system will optimize the entire parking experience.

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