It has been a busy and exciting month for Cleverciti, especially as we move forward with a strong focus on making Smart City environments greener and more efficient. With more than 68% of the world’s population expected to be in urban areas by the year 2050, a significant impact on positive environmental efforts needs to take place now — and quickly.
However, this task can’t be completed alone, which is why we have partnered with some incredible organizations that have the same mission to lead the charge in building smart cities.
Spearheaded by a group of IoT leaders, including avodaq, Cisco Meraki, Deutsche Bahn Regio Bus, ioki, Signify, and Cleverciti, Stadt in Bewegung — or “City in Motion” was designed to make German cities “livable, innovative, safe and sustainable” by deploying Internet of Things (IoT)-based technology.
These six forward-thinking commercial enterprises joined forces to digitalize city infrastructures and develop visionary services for their citizens. Germans expect a smoothly running infrastructure and up-to-date services to make their lives easier and their cities a better place to live in. Many regions are accelerating rapidly towards the digital transformation, but some are still moving slowly.
The pace has to pick up in Germany because German citizens are ready for a change. When surveyed, 56.1% of German citizens said they want more digital technologies, including intelligent, low-resource street lighting and new mobility services, deployed throughout their cities. Also, in the same study, 69.8% of people support the use of digital solutions to optimize traffic flows, prevent traffic jams, and make it easier to find a parking space. That’s where Cleverciti comes in.
The search for parking in a city accounts for more than 30% of the urban pollution and traffic. But by using Cleverciti’s intelligent parking technology and sensors, available and occupied parking data is collected in real-time and easily guides drivers to open parking spots, reducing unnecessary driving in an already complicated environment.
“We’re excited to play an important role in this program. Citizens have demonstrated confidence in digital technologies because they can see the benefit of parking apps and other applications. If we want the transformation of transportation, we’ll need to embrace digital innovations,” said Maximilian Venhofen, Director Business Development, Cleverciti.
Over the next couple of weeks, the City in Motion initiative will be showcasing its offerings and services in a roadshow and stage discussions. Leading politicians and experts will speak on the potential of a digitalized city. The initiative reflects the enormous opportunities that can be gained from networking the different service areas of cities. And, it aims to identify and address the areas where action is needed. The highlight: In the initiative’s high-tech bus, visitors will be able to physically experience the latest technologies and opportunities of a digital city. You can follow the tour on Cleverciti’s Twitter or with the hashtag: #stadtinbewegung.
This September, Berlin launched a smart city initiative called “The Digitally Networked Protocol Route – Urban Test Field Automated and Connected Driving in Berlin,” or DIGINET-PS. In partnership with the Technical University of Berlin and Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, a track of road was set up to test the interaction of autonomous and networked cars with a collection of IoT-based technologies, including Cleverciti’s intelligent parking solution. Together, the technologies will collect data on Berlin’s highly complex traffic environment.
Berlin, like many other cities established centuries ago, were not designed for today’s influx of cars alongside pedestrians and bikes; but modern connected technologies can prepare these cities for future growth.
“Automated and networked driving offers enormous opportunities: vehicles communicate with each other and with the surrounding infrastructure. They can be used to recognize weather conditions, open parking spaces, and changing traffic lights. This means greater safety and climate efficiency, improved traffic flow, and time savings,” said Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer.
The researchers deployed more than 100 sensors to monitor traffic light systems, roundabouts, bicycle and pedestrian paths, entrances and exits, and parking lots. Live data from the connected sensors on the test track is transmitted onto one software platform for detailed analysis.
Collected data is analyzed and evaluated in real-time so that forecasts can be made on a wide variety of topics. Using a communication infrastructure based on ITS-5G and 4G, the environmental data is shared with the networked autonomous vehicles. The information is then leveraged to empower more accurate vehicle maneuvers and driving scenarios.
Professor Albayrak of TU of Berlin, summed up the smart city project perfectly, saying, “Through the central collection, aggregation, and evaluation of data, we will be able to develop innovative, secure solutions for road traffic problems, generate new ecosystems and business models, and create added value”.
Cleverciti is honored to be a part of these two amazing projects. Our mission is to make a sustainable and greener planet through smart parking, and partnering in these connected and integrated smart city projects is a great start to making that a reality.
The “shopping season” is officially underway, as two of the top three spending events in retail begin this month: back to school and back to college, which are then followed by the quickly approaching holiday blitz. And the method by which consumers embrace these shopping events is transforming right before our eyes. Over the last few years, online retailers have dominated the shopping market, and last year was no exception. In the 2018 holiday shopping season, consumers spent a whopping $126 billion online.
As this shift continues and we increasingly see the closing of big-box retailers, it may seem like the future of brick-and-mortar retail looks grim. However, that may not need to be the case. While online shopping brings convenience to shoppers, such as avoiding long lines and the ability to shop day or night, an NPR poll shows that a majority of Americans who shop online actually prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store.
Therefore, it’s up to brick-and-mortar retailers to determine what they can do to win back their customers and streamline the shopping experience. One obvious, quick solution (that is likely top-of-mind for many consumers) is to improve the customer’s first and last impression of a store: parking. It’s common for shoppers to avoid traveling to a store if they know they’ll be endlessly searching the parking lot for a space. Fortunately, the latest innovative technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), enables smart parking solutions that simplify this experience and satisfy both the retailer and its customers. In fact, Smart parking doesn’t just simplify experiences, it creates real business value, in a variety of ways:
According to the aforementioned NPR poll, one of the most motivating factors for consumers to shop online is speed. The average time it takes to park at a shopping mall with old fashioned parking technology is 12 minutes. From the consumer’s prospective, in that same time, multiple online purchases can be made without the hassle and frustration.
Advanced smart parking technology reduces the time spent searching for a space, creating a happier customer and allowing them to spend more time in the store. And with an average of $1.29 spent per minute in an average mall, this also means more success for retailers. With a combination of real-time detection of available parking spaces and digital signage guiding drivers to open spots, time required to park can be reduced by 30% or more. In a shopping mall with 1,000 parking spaces, this improvement can result in annual revenue gains of more than $4 million.
Time savings from more efficient parking does not only generate more revenue, it also directly reduces vehicle emissions. Pollution from vehicles leads to poor air quality around the shopping area, and that pollution directly contributes to climate change. In that same shopping mall with 1,000 parking spaces, shoppers typically drive the equivalent of 75 times around the world each year simply searching for a spot. Imagine the impact of reducing this by 30%: 25 trips around the world are saved every year.
One of the key benefits of the IoT and the world of connected devices is the data that can be collected and analyzed. Data is incredibly helpful for businesses to better understand their customers and behaviors — information retailers are always craving.
Advanced smart parking solutions can provide retailers real-time data relating to various characteristics, such as the location of each car, parking violations, and how long each shopper spends in the store. Retailers can use this information to learn about their own customers’ behavior, measure effects of marketing campaigns, and plan more effective traffic patterns.
Starting and ending the shopping experience with seamless parking can lead to increased customer satisfaction, but new smart parking technology can take this a step further. For years, brands have created loyalty programs with rewards, bonuses and discounts, and now parking can become part of these efforts.
New intelligent parking technology, originally designed to act as a digital permit, can also be used to reserve parking spots in specified areas. Imagine VIP customers being able to reserve a space in advance, which not only maximizes their time spent shopping at the favorite store but also provides additional data to the retailer regarding the most loyal and top-spending customers, and allows salespeople to know in advance about the arrival of their best customers.
A comprehensive solution
Americans are estimated to spend $26.2 billion during the 2019 back-to-school shopping season, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars for the upcoming holidays. Brick-and-mortar retailers simply can’t afford to lose any more money.
Smart parking technology can be extremely cost efficient while increasing ROI for retailers, and improving our climate. It is a customer engagement tool, a loyalty tactic and a data collector all in one. A quick technology upgrade to the old-fashioned parking issue can better prepare a retailer or shopping center for the upcoming holiday season.