“Beacon’ Technology:


“Beacon’ Technology:

 An innovative new app named qinkk, developed by parking system provider Designa, was launched in the fall at the EPA Congress and Parken 2015 Trade Show in Berlin. The Germany-based company says this “exciting new technology” will be coming to the U.S. marketplace early this year.
The “beacon”-based parking app is designed to enable customers to park in garages easily and conveniently without tickets, and to give operators insights into the behavior of their customers. The company says qinkk also enables parking facilities to communicate directly with customers via the app, and provides special rates and offers. 
Beacon technology is based on the energy-saving Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), which provides communication between the transmitter and a receiver. The transmitters, called beacons, are in a 4-inch plastic housing and can be used both indoors and outdoors. 
The beacon transmits a single, non-directed signal like a lighthouse, within a radius of up to 164 feet, and the signal is then picked up by a receiver. In order for beacon-supported technology to work, Designa says, two parties with the appropriate technical equipment are needed – a provider and a customer. 
The parking facility beacons are coded with unique identities. The customer simply needs to have a smartphone app with beacon capability. When he or she is within the beacon range, the signal is received and decrypted, and the customer is notified appropriately. The beacon’s task is then complete, and the associated app looks after all other interaction with the user, Designa says. 
The parking system manufacturer recognized the benefit of this technology, and developed the qinkk (pronounced “qwink”) app, which makes the entire parking procedure easier for customers. 
The name is made up of the words “quick” and “link” to reflect the easy interaction of customer and app, the company says. Qinkk will be available for download in the iTunes App Store or Google Play, and is available for iOS and android. 
With the qinkk app, parking customers will be able to enter and leave parking facilities without tickets using their smartphones and pay at paystations without having to register or log on beforehand. Of course, the selected parking garage must be equipped with the associated beacons. The beacon technology is tied to the points of entry, exit and paystations. 
Designa U.S.A., President Bob Kane says parking customers can become registered account holders in qinkk to enable added features.
 “Many people will want to register an account so they can pay by phone through the app,” he says. “In addition to ticketless parking, this app could mean no more waiting in line at the paystation. Instead, frequent parking visitors can simply create a user account online for their parking purchases.” 
No data entry is required for customers during installation of the free app in order to use its most important features, he adds. Customers can then decide for themselves whether they would also like to register an account to utilize additional features within the app, which include payment and preference options.
“The qinkk app can also be used as a promotion and loyalty tool for parking facilities,” Kane says. “Operators can ‘push’ messages to their customers about special rates and loyalty promotions. This provides the customer with added value that can build brand awareness and customer loyalty.”
The qinkk app and its beacon technology are system-independent and can be easily installed at any parking facility, Designa says. 
This technology will finally give parking operators the option of communicating with their “anonymous” parking customers. This is an important feature that many operators have been eagerly awaiting, because most parking transactions are completely anonymous, and there is little opportunity to notify customers about special rates or loyalty bonuses. 
The company adds that qinkk also gives parking facility owners the opportunity to enter into promotional agreements with connected shopping centers, airports, office buildings or hospitals. These organizations also can communicate with customers through the qinkk app using a specially-coded beacon. 
Parking with the qinkk app
• The driver downloads and installs the app, and the Bluetooth signal is activated on his smartphone. 
• The driver obtains a connection with qinkk as he nears a parking garage. An appropriate message appears on his smartphone asking if he would like to enter. 
• With a simple click on the OK button, the customer can now conveniently enter the required garage without a ticket, since the app ensures that the entry barrier opens. 
• When the customer is ready to leave the garage, he approaches the paystation. (This step will not be required for registered users, since payment will be made via the qinkk app.) 
• The customer confirms the amount to be paid via qinkk, which is then transmitted to the paystation he is standing in front of. The parking fee is paid, and the app confirms the completed payment transaction. 
• The customer drives to the exit and stops in front of the closed barrier. The installed beacon interacts with the qinkk app and asks the user whether he would like to leave. 
• He clicks on the app’s OK button, and the barrier opens.
For more information, contact Designa USA or a local Designa Business Partner (for a list, go to www.designaUSA.com). Or visit www.qinkk-app.com. 
Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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