Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) for Smart Parking

Smart Parking: Sensor installation in Pisa

Searching for a parking spot in a crowded city center can at times be annoying and time-consuming. According to studies, drivers aimlessly looking for a place to park cause up to 30 percent of all urban traffic congestion – not to mention the environmental cost and wasted fuel. But a smart parking solution could solve these problems. Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) with its characteristics is a suitable technology for smart parking in the city.

In October 2015, Deutsche Telekom achieved the world’s first implementation of pre-standard NB-IoT on commercial network elements by software upgrade only. In the field trial, which took place on its local network in Bonn, Germany, Deutsche Telekom and Huawei were able to evaluate the capabilities of NB-IoT under real commercial conditions and test the usability of NB-IoT in a first application to provide smart parking for selected users.

The fastest way to park

How does it work? On-street parking places are fitted with sensors that detect parking space occupancy. These sensors transmit the occupancy to a backend. It in turn processes the incoming data and notifies a driver via, for example, a smartphone app or a navigation system, when there is a free spot nearby and provides directions for getting there.

Parking management for cities and drivers

Hence the system can help to reduce the traffic overall in the city, which benefits both cities and drivers. Moreover, the benefits of a smart parking solution are fewer traffic problems, helping drivers to save time. At the same time, NB-IoT offers an opportunity for cities to reduce their investments for road construction and maintenance by lowering the traffic volume and reducing pollution. Due to more detailed information on the parking situation, park surveillance authorities are able to prosecute parking violations more efficiently.

NB-IoT: The right technology for smart parking

In order to take advantage of these many opportunities, cities must first integrate the necessary technology into their current infrastructure. Here, NB-IoT is an appropriate technology because a very large number of parking sensors need to be connected at low cost. As power supply is often an issue and maintenance, i.e. changing batteries, is costly and time-consuming, a long battery life makes sense. 

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