Parking and parking payments are dependent on two variables: time and place. For a digital solution to be able to calculate parking fees and help finding parking, it needs to be able to understand both data. Therefore, a key ingredient of a successful parking appis GPS.
In this post, we explain the benefits of GPS tracking for apps, and demonstrate how ParkMan uses it to provide a great mobile parking solution.
The physical location of a parking space determines where you can park, and it together with the duration of time you intend to park for define the fee that you need to pay. For example, parking in the center of a city may cost more than on the outskirts, and parking for several hours will cost more than for 15 minutes.
The traditional way of calculating fees has been manual, and the development from there onwards has been to calculate time with the help of mobile phones – using mobile payment. Smartphones offer a great improvement, because they are able to interpret both time and location through GPS.
Previous mobile solutions have failed to offer location data
The prominent solution that has been introduced to facilitate parking in the last decades is mobile phone payment. Mobile payment has been realized in two ways: sending a text message (SMS payment) or calling a service number (IVR payment). The SMS and IVR solutions have got one of the two variables right: they are able to provide time. When sending an SMS or calling a service number, the system is able to determine the time automatically, and charge accordingly.
The part that has been missing, however, is location. With SMS and IVR, you have to insert the area code of the parking lot to the service yourself, or choose a number to text or call based on where you are. Thus, the user experience is still laborious because although one part has been automated, the remaining factor of location still has to be manually added.
This has meant that SMS and IVR payments have not been able to replace traditional parking meters because they have simply not been easy enough to use. In addition to having to navigate the location of a parking space and then manually having to notify the parking provider of your whereabouts, the payment process still comes on top of that.
GPS has enabled easy search and payment processes for parking
With smartphones emerged the possibility to provide location data through GPS. Getting location and time directly through satellite has revolutionized the potential for parking solutions. With GPS it’s possible to automate the pricing and payment process without having to manually insert any information to the system. By providing both time and coordinates for someone’s whereabouts and calculating the price for parking, comparing prices and payment itself have been made a lot simpler.
Additionally, GPS is the tool for finding a location such as the nearest parking lot. It’s not just an extension of a physical map, but a tool for navigating your surroundings in real time. Think about something as simple as a map feature on your phone. When logging onto it, you automatically get your own location, not having to fill in any information. It tells you where you are, you don’t have to tell it where you are.
Getting location data automatically makes procedures so much easier and faster.Thus, it brings immense value for both the end-user as well as the parking provider.
The benefits of GPS for consumers:
- Instead of having to specify your location yourself to get place-tied information or service, the device will do it for you. Automating a key part of the app experience brings tremendous time and effort saves.
- It’s accurate – even if you are not sure where you are at, GPS will tell you.
- You are able to see relevant services (such as parking spaces) at relevant times, i.e when you are nearby, without having to know your exact location.
The benefits of GPS for parking providers:
- The process of collecting parking fees is simpler and more effective because both location and time data are automated.
- Communicating parking information to motorists is easier because it can be conveyed real-time on a visual map.
- Automated location data is more cost-effective due to decreased manual labor and thus saves provider economic resources, especially when expanding to new parking areas.
- It’s possible to offer the best existing user experience with the minimum amount of steps.
- Location can be used as a point of reference for promoting parking lots or garages to motorists.
Parking solutions without location-tracking such as SMS and IVR payments have a higher number of user steps: in other words, they take more time and effort. Any application whose usage is dependent on location but doesn’t provide direct tracking, has already lost in terms of usability.
Technology is truly great when it’s working invisibly in the background. GPS is a great example of just that. By using introducing a computer chip into parking, a great deal of labour is removed and the process of parking becomes smoother and better overall.
The ParkMan app offers a fully automated user experience
Now, we have established that in order for a parking solution to be truly effective and usable, it needs to provide both time and location data to automatically show user available parking and calculate the accurate price.
ParkMan’s parking application does just this:
- User experience is simple and intuitive
GPS is used to track user location, and to show available parking spaces and their prices nearby. The price of parking is calculated automatically based on location and time, and the user can start parking with one click. There is no need to insert place coordinates in manually, because the whole process is completely automated.
There is no point in offering city residents or private parking customers a solution that is not fully optimized with GPS for a super easy and cost-effective parking experience. We use the newest and best available technology to create a parking solution that removes the manual labor of previous mobile solutions.
- Set-up and scaling are effortless for parking providers
There are no limits with GPS, because with satellite navigation, the scope that is covered is practically endless, and the service can be scaled with little effort. Imagine having to insert new hardware to each new parking location just to be able to communicate an area code to drivers, so that they in return can type it into their mobile phone to be able to pay for parking.
With ParkMan, the whole process is realized with software. Providers are able to add new parking spaces without mobilizing a costly set-up process, and motorists will be able to see new parking options in real time right on their smartphones.
In the smartphone age, using GPS for location-specific services is an absolute must. By utilizing all the benefits offered by technology, it’s possible to arrive at an easy, simple and cost-effective parking app and solve the problems inefficient parking causes in your city.