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HotSpot Beacon Solution Aims to Prevent Parking Tickets

Merchants in two Canadian cities have deployed the beacons so that their customers can get meter alerts and pay for parking via a smartphone app, as well as receive promotional offers.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Retail
Aug 19, 2014

When customers shop at the Robert Simmonds Clothing store in downtown Fredericton, New Brunswick, they need not worry about an expiring meter leading to parking tickets. That's because Robert Simmonds is one of the 100 or so retailers in the Canadian towns of Fredericton and Saint John that are employing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons in conjunction with an app enabling shoppers to top off payments on their parking meters if they are running late. The solution, provided by Canadian startup HotSpot Parking, consists of beacons provided by Polish BLE technology company Kontakt.io and a free app, known as HotSpot Parking, that can be downloaded on users' BLE-enabled Android, Apple or BlackBerry smartphones. The app enables them to view notifications about their parking payment status, as well as receive promotional information from participating stores.

HotSpot Parking's Phillip Curley
Phillip Curley, HotSpot Parking's CEO, founded the company in 2013 to provide a wireless solution and app that would help drivers manage their parking payments, protect them against tickets, and thereby improve business for merchants operating within downtown areas. The impetus, Curley explains, was the need by downtown businesses to increase traffic to their stores and sales, as well as the frustration of potential customers regarding the payment of parking fines if they fail to reach their car before the payment expires. Ultimately, he says, parking meters on the street can dictate sales, or the lack thereof, within stores.

Paul Simmonds, the CEO of Robert Simmonds Inc., concurs, saying sales of high-value suits and other garments are often lost if a customer hurries out of a store before completing a sale transaction because his or her parking meter payment is due to expire.

HotSpot Parking worked with Kontakt.io to obtain the beacons that HotSpot then offered on a trial basis to businesses in the two New Brunswick cities. The company began by first contacting merchants with the highest-value products and services, and it is still reaching out to additional firms in the two cities, including law offices, clothing stores, coffee shops and restaurants. The deployments became permanent in August 2013 in Fredericton, and eight months ago in Saint John. HotSpot Parking also partnered with local parking authorities to enable users to make credit card payments on their meters via the HotSpot Parking app. To date, nearly 3,000 users have downloaded the app.

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