Automated Garages, and everything on street. That would be my take on the 160 companies that were exhibiting at the IPI Show this week in Tampa.
On street led the way. If you weren’t a city or a university, it could have been pretty much same old same old. The concept of placing sensors in individual parking spaces was rampant with half a dozen or more companies showing their wares and each claiming to be "the only one that works." My take is that the technology is almost there and the back end software has matured to the point that its a product. Now only the customers have to catch up. There are no systems installed in larger quantities than a couple of hundred and those are in a "test" mode. The automatic chalking systems don’t need to be quaking in their boots just yet.
Of course all the other onsteet groups, from booting to meters, from pay and display to enforcement, are jumping on the bandwagon and showing interfaces to the space monitoring systems.
In fact, one booth that seemed to have the most action was Photo Violation, which combined practically every feature imaginable and gave away 1,000 MP4 players. The catch with the players, you had to stand through 20 minutes of presentation about the product. I like it – no sense giving something away and getting nothing in return. But many of the 1000 units went to exhibitors, as there were about 800 actual attendees and many of those didn’t participate in the give a way.
The second major technology "surprise" was automated garages. There were a number of booths showing the mechanical marvels, and most of them had at least one project either completed or "in the ground." By my count there are three systems running an at least half a dozen in various stages of completion. These aren’t pie in the sky, but real working garages. IN one case, Automotion, they had real time streaming video of their garage running and showing cars actually being parked in Chinatown in Manhattan. I was told that I was "over the top" when I say the images of the cars being moved and turned. I guess this made the trip worth while — I have been supporting this technology since PT was founded, and now its starting to come to life. This can be nothing but good for an industry that has been struggling to get established for over a decade.
The rest — Sure there was the "No Fly Zone" with its human sized pigeon walking the floor with signs saying "No Fly Zone unfair to Pigeons" and "Don’t go to booth 634" which added to the humor of the event. And there was a bit of technology here and there that caught the eye like a parking ticket which looked like a standard paper ticket but actually converted instantly to a machine readable document, some pretty fancy in car meters, and quite a bit of technology based on Internet protocol," from CCTV to Intercoms, to all types of revenue control devices, to those in street sensors.
The rest — well not a lot of new or exciting stuff — sure this P and D had some new features, and that revenue control system showed off a "chip" coin entry device, but not much to knock your socks off.
My comments on this type of event in general are above — Lots of sizzle, not a lot of steak.