M2M: Your Personal Valet

by OMA | Friday, January 25, 2013

Innovation Generation 1/24/13 M2M: Your Personal Valet …For many, the idea of tirelessly searching row after row, level after level, to find a vacant parking spot can be enough to dissuade them from going to the mall or other big venue. But fear not, mall goers, technology can now make a vacant spot find you instead.

With machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, it is now possible for a sensor to detect a vacant space and wirelessly convey its coordinates to your car via a parking lot controlling system. A sensor could be placed either in the center of the parking space or in a pole in front of the space. The parking lot system then keeps track of occupancy of each and every spot and assigns a space automatically to an approaching car that is closest to its coordinates.

Once your vehicle gets the level, row, and space information about the parking location, your car will be able to drive itself to the spot. Once you have parked and before even exiting your car, the parking lot control system could communicate with your smartphone and ask if you are willing to pay the parking fee without you having to look for quarters.

Now, when you’re done shopping you may run into another common mall problem: You forgot where you parked your car. No problem. Simply send a message from your smartphone to your car asking it to tell you its coordinates. Once your smartphone receives car coordinates, the location based app in your smartphone turns on, providing you with turn-by-turn directions, leading you quickly and safely to your vehicle.

Additionally, you could even reserve a vacant parking space before entering the parking lot by paying the parking fee ahead of time. A red light appears in the rented spot indicating that the particular space has already been taken (by you). It could turn what would normally be a frantic drive, full of stress, into a leisurely one, free from worry.

This scenario is easily implementable and, with it, all value chain players, like communication service providers, M2M service providers, and parking lot management authorities, will benefit monetarily. Today, we have all the basic building blocks for this deployment. It is a matter of service providers putting an end-to-end system together to provide such a service.

As for the end user, new technology will make one of life’s chores easier to manage by eliminating the frustrations that come from searching for a spot in a crowded parking lot and forgetting how exactly to get back to your car.

Ultimately, M2M technology will result in growth in revenue for service providers and immeasurable convenience for people. It could even make going to the mall fun.