Add Real-Time Parking Availability to Your Employee App

Submitted by on Tue, 02/02/16

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The majority of American adults now own smartphones. They use their phones to find important information, access communication tools, and take advantage of apps and features that make their lives easier. Consequently, many large enterprise organizations have created employee apps, which provide information, communication tools, and features specific to improving productivity in the workplace. Information that can be consumed while on the go, like company news feeds, dining information, indoor and outdoor maps, and updates on parking availability, are a natural fit for a mobile app.

Rapid mobile app development platforms have enabled large enterprise organizations to easily include real-time parking availability details within a mobile app by integrating with back-end parking data systems. Providing parking availability information to employees is an opportunity to make their workday just a little bit easier, and save the time they might spend searching for a spot.

How It Works
Specialized third-party parking solutions can be implemented in your parking lots and garages to accurately estimate the number of spaces available at any given time. Comprehensive app assembly solutions can easily integrate with the parking-inventory data supplied by third-party vendors, and serve up a streamlined parking availability module to app users. Generally speaking, there are two types of systems for compiling parking inventory data:

  • Sensors
    Sensors at the access points to garages or lots can track how many vehicles have entered and exited the parking structure in a given day, making it fairly easy to calculate the number of spaces that are available, and feed that data back to the app.Sensors can also be placed at each floor in a garage to provide more specific estimates within a multi-level parking structure, or at each individual parking spot for the most accurate information. You can also track inventory reserved for special vehicles – such as carpools or electric vehicles.
  • Cameras
    Cameras can track the location of cars in each of your parking spots, and advanced software can use those images to identify the number of spaces available in the lot at any time.

These inventory tracking systems are tied to wireless networks and provide data feeds, such as JSON, that are seamlessly integrated into the parking module of your app, and provide real-time availability information.

Special Considerations
It is possible that not every car will leave the parking structure at the end of each day. Employees may drive in to the office, and leave for client visits or other travel via other transportation, meaning spots remain occupied.

Another major impact on open-air parking structures is winter weather. Snow piles up throughout the winter season, and it is likely that a snow bank may end up occupying what was previously a parking spot.

The algorithms used to determine availability based on entry and exit sensors, can be updated to accommodate for special situations like these.

Use Push Notifications to Communicate with End Users
As employees are made aware that parking availability modules exist in their workplace app, they’ll likely make use of it on a daily basis on their way into the office. You can also increase usage and awareness with push notifications. Push notifications can be sent out to all employees reminding them to check the app for inventory. They can also be used to alert commuters in the event of any lot closings or other issues; or they can be used to advertise current availability in some lots, or lack thereof in others.

Target Users Using Location-Based Technology
Location-based technology is gaining popularity for a variety of uses and can be implemented in a mobile app to further improve the parking experience.

  • Geofencing – By creating a geofence around your parking areas, any app user driving into the vicinity could receive an automatic alert about how many spots are available in the lot.
  • iBeacons – The use of iBeacons is another way to enhance communication with commuters. iBeacons are low-energy Bluetooth devices that can detect when someone with your app is near a very specific location – such as your parking lot – using iBeacon technology, your app can notify users approaching the parking structure of available inventory.

New app assembly platforms make it easy for large enterprise organization to create beautiful employee apps with deep functionality. Non-technical business users are also able to participate in the creation and maintenance of apps thanks to easy-to-use no-code solutions. Employees turn to their workplace apps to make their day a little easier. By incorporating parking-availability in your app, you make arriving at the office a more seamless experience for everyone.

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