Mobile Parking

LLGA2011 Winner: Report on Worldsensing Smart Parking Pilot

5.12pm 12 May 2011 it has become official – Worldsensing has won the Stockholm Living Labs Global Award 2011 in the category of urban mobility. The winning prize was nothing less than a pilot trial of our cutting-edge smart parking solution in one of Barcelona’s largest satellite cities Sant Cugat.[youtube]

Usually very difficult to achieve, a city hall has actually committed to testing an innovative technology solution for easing the daily headache of finding a vacant parking space and thus easing the daily routine of their citizens.

Discussions with the city hall about their needs and our possibilities started a little less than a month after the prize announcement, i.e. at the speed of light considering the public administration’s usual understanding of time. Of surprise to us was the advanced state of the Smart City initiatives in San Cugat. It seems that the city hall has been making important steps towards a sustainable city by introducing a separate smart city department which essentially handles smart city technologies the same way as an IT department handles computer technologies.


A specific street in Sant Cugat has since been assigned to us, where we are about to install our smart parking product referred to as FastPrk. The tailor-made product targets the outdoors parking market, be it privately owned (such as shopping malls) or public (such as townhalls). It addresses the obvious headache for the citizens of Sant Cugat of losing a lot of time, money and health by finding a parking spot quickly. The product is composed of sensors, which are installed in each parking spot and which communicate wirelessly with an Internet-enabled gateway to inform about the absence/presence of a car. The information of available parking spots is made available to the citizen of Sant Cugat via a smart phone application and/or via panels along the street, something still to be discussed. The closed loop platform, i.e. sensors offering real-time information, addresses all headaches encountered at either end of the parking market. In addition, it facilitates the introduction of dynamic pricing; reservation of places; the coupling of the obtained data streams into a more general and powerful smart city operating system; among many other opportunities.

Installations commenced at the end of October 2011. We hope to significantly improve the lives of the citizens of Sant Cugat in their commutes downtown.

Living Labs Global is a fantastic team to deal with! They are clearly a market shaker in the emerging market of smart cities. Worldsensing has had the pleasure in applying for the Stockholm smart city finals through a fairly simple and straightforward procedure and, after a pitch in front of an eager audience, won the finals in the respective category. A lot of work, however, had clearly been done in the background by the Living Labs Global team – be it for the organization of the event(s), getting together qualified people, make them review the applications and ideas, etc, etc. A notable development is also the platform developed by Living Labs Global which allows city halls around the globe to consult on existing technologies and prior experience of fellow cities. Congratulations and good luck with the 2012 edition!

- Mischa Dohler, CTO Worldsensing

Our Handbook on Innovation in Services and Mobility in Cities - "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend" - now out!

We are pleased to announce that our new Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities is now out, published by the DesignLondon at the Royal College of Art. The result of a collaborative effort involving more than 20 contributors, the book presents rich original data and serves as a resource for professionals from both public and private sectors, as well as entrepreneurs, engaged in the complex yet potentially profitable market for service innovations in cities.

You can flick through and order the book now at Amazon (UK), Amazon (US).

Mobility is not a technology, but a paradigm shift. The user, as citizen, professional, or visitor is in a state of mobility represented by the ubiquity of mobile phones in our society. Why this book asks, have highly appreciated services like mobile parking, tourism services, or solutions for the visually impaired not taken off despite the astronomical investments into digital infrastructures in the past decade? Why, have these infrastructures not had the productivity impact that the internet had on our economies, when more than 60% of the world population have access to them?

256 Billion Euro is the sum of opportunity presented in this book, following real business cases and examples of mobility and service innovations in cities. Drawing on the rich insights of Living Labs Global, the book illustrates what defines the market for mobility, neglected by many for its complexity. It logically structures the market opportunities, frustrations and successes, and actors that make or break success into a coherent call for action to fundamentally change how we deliver services in cities.
This book reveals important insights for public leaders, local politicians, service professionals in public and private organisations, entrepreneurs, technology experts, consultants and researchers interested in promoting innovation and excellence in cities today.

The Dreaded Hunt and the Spotscout Solution

Spotscout CEO and Founder, Andrew Rollert, becomes animated when asked about his company.  Over the course of our conversation, his sentences dipped and hooked, weaving a narrative about traffic patterns, consumer habits, Newton’s laws of motion and spatial exchange.  As we spoke, his voice took on a tone of undeterred, optimistic confidence so magnanimous, I would have thought we were talking about baseball or football. All of this is funny, of course, because this conversation began with a few simple questions about parking.  Rollert’s Boston based, six year old venture is trying to change the way people use and consume space, specifically parking space, by providing a free platform for people to buy and sell parking spaces within an expanded and inherently more transparent marketplace.   Wade Roush, the chief correspondent at the Xconomy, aptly summarized the basic logistical ins and outs of these transactions in a blog post last year.  Here’s Wade’s SpotScout crash course:

People who own parking spots—whether they’re commercial garage operators or just private citizens with driveways or other spots that are empty during certain hours—can upload that information to SpotScout. (They’re called “SpotCasters,” in SpotScout’s parlance.) Then, using their desktop computers, laptops, or Internet-enabled cell phones, people seeking spots— or “SpotScouts”—can tell the service where they need a parking spot and when; see a list of available choices, organized by cost, user rating, walking distance to the final destination, or other criteria; reserve a spot, effectively taking it off the market; pay for the spot electronically, from their SpotScout account; and receive a text-message confirmation, sometimes accompanied by discount offers at businesses near the parking spot.

The spot-finding service (not counting the cost of parking) is free to SpotScouts, but SpotCasters pay the company a small percentage of each transaction.’

Don't miss the Spotscout Showcase on Living Labs Global Showcase.  The Living Labs Global SpotScout user review is coming soon.