A Solution for Parking at Work;
How Companies Are Using the IoT
For many workers, the typical morning begins with the stress of finding a spot to park their car at their workplace. It can cause feelings of frustration and discomfort.
The anxiety aroused by this daily parking challenge, as well as the loss of time and expenditure on fuel, greatly affects the productivity of people and, at the same time, their satisfaction and loyalty to the company.
Despite efforts to encourage other means of transport -- less polluting and more collective -- the reality is that most workers prefer his or her car to get to work. Records for 2005 show that 75% move in private vehicles, and 18% in public transport.
This raises important challenges for companies that must be prepared to implement new systems that favor the greater mobility of its personnel, not only improving the quality of life for the workers, but also increasing their productivity in daily tasks.
The new challenge for companies: make employees’ mobility easier
To be competitive and efficient, most factories and logistic centers and even many medium-sized or big companies need to be located in areas removed from the metropolises. The motives of space, cost, activity and the local regulations that led them to move away, on the other hand, make difficult the reception of talent, conciliation and satisfaction of its personnel.
Company management constantly faces the challenge of finding and offering solutions for the mobility of its employees and, thus, presenting all kinds of proposals:
Shuttle buses that pick up and return employees.
Promoting use of bicycles.
Co-pay for the cost of public transport.
Flexible schedules and telecommuting.
Despite the new proposals, employees still go to work in their own cars
These are some of the efforts designed and implemented by companies in their desire to be a nice place to work. Despite all these efforts, the reality is that schedules, combined with the personal life of each employee, lead most workers to prioritize the use of the car to travel between home and work.
For this reason, companies need to optimize the space of existing carparks for the use of employees, visitors and suppliers. Some choose to have staff managing mobility in the parking area, others by assigning spots to certain profiles and let the rest help themselves.
These options end up being discriminatory and unproductive.
Currently, many companies seek to modernize their parking management, offer a more innovative image, and try to be as ecological and sustainable as possible. That’s when the Internet of Things (IoT), increasingly more present in companies, comes into play. Technologies guide workers toward areas with available parking spots, and that offers a more productive and definitely more profitable option.
Audi and Amazon choose technology based on sensors
Audi, for example, is one of the innovative companies that applied IoT to optimize management of its employee parking areas through sensor systems that guide workers at its plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. Thanks to well-delimited entrance and exit lanes, Audi could manage its 5,000 parking spots by installing only 22 sensors that detect vehicles entering and leaving and transmit the different areas’ availability directly through variable message signs.
Today, parking at Audi is much more agile and rapid. Congestion has been eliminated and traffic circulation sped up in the parking area. Explains CEO Harald Schmitt, of MSR-Traffic, distributor of this technology in Germany: “The Urbiotica solution is a very good system as [as related to] cost effectiveness. Audi and LGI [Logistics Group] are glad to have a dynamic system of parking guidance and are thinking of extending it.”
Currently, many companies seek to modernize their parking management, offer a more innovative image, and try to be as ecological and sustainable as possible.
Amazon is another company that has found this parking guidance clearly beneficial, and IoT is now one of the pillars of its strategy and performance at its logistics center in Barcelona.
Innovation and IoT applied to daily parking management prove increasingly stronger in these companies. Leaders in their market claiming dynamism, innovation and creativity for their workers and suppliers should be equally consistent in the operation and service of all their corporate systems.
Sensors allow different applications to approach every specific project
With the appearance of low-cost wireless sensors and the age of the IoT, the solutions we find in airports and shopping centers and, to a lesser degree, in cities adapt themselves very well to use in parking facilities, applying two strategies.
The first strategy is to “sensorize” each parking space to enable the guidance of vehicles, as is done in many airports and shopping malls.
The second, often implemented where cost is a priority, consists of sensorizing the inputs and outputs of several parking areas to offer a guided area system.
From spot sensors, we move to a sensor for hundreds of spots with a number of informative digital panels. Cost is reduced by 10% with respect to the spot-to-spot option and yet still considerably improves mobility.
This is the option that Audi has implemented at its factory in Germany, as well as Amazon for its new logistics center in Spain. In both cases, parking is distributed among several areas, and thus oriented to those users.
It avoids trying to park in the area closest to the ports when there is no availability, saving congestion and time losses.
A last option would be in combining the two possibilities with a guided system for those large employee parking areas, and spot-to-spot sensing for the area directive or dedicated to visitors.
The rise of the IoT in private parking
Barcelona-based Urbiotica is a technology company with wide experience in implementing projects in cities around the world. It has gained more attention as its business, focused to the “Smart Cities,” is growing toward parking at private companies and commercial centers.
Companies have come to realize that the IoT provides agile and profitable solutions to their infrastructure management, and have turned to it for employees to improve the experience and convey the image of innovative – one that corresponds to their positioning in the market at the same time.
Contact Paula Mirkin, Lead Technical Writer at Urbiotica, at firstname.lastname@example.org.