Breakaway Thinking


Breakaway Thinking

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

If you were one of the 51 million-plus people who traveled over the holidays, you likely heard this phrase (or uttered it yourself), regardless of whether you flew, drove, or took a train or bus. And, yes, it can get annoying when asked repeatedly.

Nevertheless, it is a valid question that we should be asking ourselves about the technology evolution in our industry – more specifically, we should be looking at the rate of change.

It wasn’t that long ago that the parking industry saw its first major venture-capital investments, and those in turn have brought new types of technologies, such as space sensors and mobile payments — with some being deployed more quickly than others — as the industry works its way to understanding the benefits and best practices of the new technologies.

My contention is that our rate of change is too slow, almost sclerotic.

I once had the privilege of working for the person who oversaw the development and implementation of the “edge-processing” model that is the foundation of our ability to use cellphones literally anywhere in the world.

This mindset, in turn, let people visualize and implement what we today know as “IoT,” or the Internet of Things.

Cellphone developers had two initial obstacles to overcome: the actual creation of the device, and the logic of being able to handle and hand-off calls when moving from one cell tower to another.

The second obstacle required a separation from the traditional central-station switchboard, which routed each call physically over copper. The edge-process model moved logic and some business processes out to the “edge,” where the connection and switching were occurring.

The back office today still manages the billing cycle and support, but the validation of your ability to place a mobile call in real-time happens in the field.

The IoT models also rely on the presumption that
logic and processes move close to where real-time events are occurring.

Over time, cellphones have gotten smaller and a lot smarter, to the point where many millennials today do not have even a landline in their residence – and in many cases, not even a traditional desktop computer.

All of this existing capability is still based on the early breakaway thinking that implemented edge processing. Most of what we do today on our cellphones was unimaginable to those early telecom developers who simply wanted to “cut the cord.”





So what does our industry look like today? A central station with devices connected by copper.

You are invited to join us for a session at PIE 2018 in March in Chicago about bringing our technology into the 21st century. See you there!

Contact Michael Bigbee, CEO Americas of Spaceek, at

Article contributed by:
Michael Bigbee
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