Shopping Centers Today International

FEB 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 6 / S C T 37 parking technology in a bid to stay competitive? Not neces- sarily, says Mark Braibanti, director of marketing and busi- ness development for Santa Monica–based ParkMe, a soft- ware and data company that specializes in smart parking. The company's database of parking information includes some 29 million spaces across 64 countries, according to Braibanti. Some of the data is static, such as parking-garage addresses, hours, costs and similar fixed info. ParkMe also works with parking-facility operators, however, to obtain real-time occupancy data showing exactly how many spaces are available in a particular lot or deck. "If a parking garage or lot is ticketed or gated — meaning if someone has to pull a ticket to get in or out — we can tap directly into that in- formation," Braibanti said. "We have software integrations with all of the leading parking companies." ParkMe licenses this occupancy data to car compa- nies, which funnel it to drivers' onboard navigation systems and to parking software or app developers. ParkMe's own consumer app and website leverage the information as well. "If I'm headed to a downtown Los Angeles shopping area, I can open the ParkMe app, see what lots are available, and even look for prompts like 'Get two hours free if you shop at this store,' " Braibanti said. "If a lot is 80 percent full, we can show drivers that information before they get there." ParkMe users rave about being able to find or even reserve parking spaces in congested areas, Braibanti says. But in the fu- ture, the ongoing shift to "connected cars" — GPS-connected vehicles that can be tracked at all times — will make smart parking even more widespread, he says. When most cars on the road are connected, ParkMe will be able to tap satellite feeds to supply car companies with real-time occupancy data even for unmanaged parking areas, Braibanti says. This would make smart parking viable even for a regional mall or power center with a large parking lot rather than a ticketed, structured deck. Because unmanaged parking is commonplace across the industry, connected cars will enable more landlords to do things like offer real-time occupancy maps of their parking fields on websites or apps, or reservations and similar smart-parking services — all with- out investing in expensive new hardware, Braibanti says. Over time, he predicts, smart-parking functionality will be- come something drivers simply expect to have as a standard feature of any vehicle. "We really feel like, with the future of transportation, smart parking is going to be fully integrated into your car's navigation system." "It is shocking, but the parking field really defines a lot of people's feeling about convenience. An extra 50 yards of walking will bother a lot of people."

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