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IBM Sees RFID as Parking Solution for Smarter Planet
The company is partnering with Streetline to help municipal parking managers do their jobs better, and make it easier for drivers to locate an available space.
Oct 07, 2011—IBM, as part of its Smarter Planet technology initiative, is teaming up with parking technology firm Streetline to provide an RFID-based parking-management system that would allow cities to better track parking availability on streets and within garages, while also enabling drivers to learn where parking spaces are available. Streetline's ParkSight solution employs magnetic sensors to detect a vehicle's presence in a parking space, while IBM, says Vinodh Swaminathan, the company's director of intelligent transportation systems, provides a layer of intelligence with its own software platform—known as Cognos—that can manage historical data from the Streetline system regarding parking, and provide reports about parking behavior at different locations.
Smarter Cities initiative directed specifically at urban areas, is IBM's program to use sensors in a variety of settings, in order to provide data that can help improve services and infrastructure in specific cities and worldwide. This includes smart electric grids and water-management systems, greener buildings, and traffic-congestion solutions. To help improve traffic flow, IBM has provided solutions to Stockholm and other cities, based on such sensor technologies as cameras and lasers. "We have a pretty robust business around sensor technologies," Swaminathan explains. Now, he says, with the Streetline partnership, IBM will add parking management to its offerings that utilize RFID technology. "Parking is a wonderful extension of Smarter Cities," he states.
IBM recently completed a survey in which it found that more than 30 percent of traffic congestion within cities is caused by drivers circling in an effort to locate parking spaces. The pressure from inefficient parking systems is felt not only by drivers, but also by merchants relying on their customers' ability to find parking spaces near their business. "For us, in partnerships with companies like Streetline, we have a very exciting offering to provide a way [for cities] to significantly enhance services," Swaminathan says.
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