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NFC in the Parking Industry BY LARRY BERMAN W


HENSHOWNANOKIA6212 near field communication (NFC) phone and some MiFare tags, which performed simple tasks such as playing a song on


my phone or takingme to awebsite, I got interested in creating an application that would reduce the com- plexities of parking at a meter with coins, credit cards and cell phones.


The problem with coins is having as many as you need to


park in the ever-demanding rate increases in parking costs. Cred- it cards are not taken at allmeters, and in a lot of cases, themeter does not read the card due tomalfunctioning equipment. The need for this new technology in using a cell phone to


pay for parking will create unique and sim- plified parking applications. A short-range, high-frequency, wireless


communication technology, NFC is similar to Bluetooth and has a range of about 10 cen- timeters (about 4 inches). It can be used pri- marily in three instances: • Card emulation: The NFC device acts


like an existing contact-less card. • Reader mode: The NFC device is


active and reads a passive RFID tag, for example, for interactive advertising. • P2Pmode:TwoNFCdevices can com-


municate and hence exchange information. Letme give you an example of howthis


technologyworks. On a typical day, you race out of the house and head to your transit sta- tion, wave your phone at the turnstile’s elec- tronic reader, dash down to the platformand just make your train. The train pulls into your stop, and as you step off, you notice a sign for a fast-food restaurant advertising great coffee. The sign has a logo signifying it’s a smart ad – an advertise-


ment that transfers information to your phone when you tap it on the logo.You tap the smart ad and your phone displays the loca- tion:There’s one on 6thAvenue, right by your station. You step around the corner and order that coffee.You pay for


it by tapping your phone at the checkout stand.You remember that, because of your enrollment in a loyalty program, you also downloaded a 10% discount coupon when you tapped the smart ad. That amount was automatically deducted from the price of the coffee. Thanks to NFC technology, the parking industry is undergo-


ing amajor shift in the way it will be doing business. Smart cards were introduced in the 1990s. The public was


slow to accept this payment method. Today, NYC sells about 14 million cards a year. In 2000, the credit card began to show up at multi-space meters; today, 20% to 40% of the transactions are credit cards. In the past five years, a new technology has been introduced that enables a person to pay with a cell phone at a parking space


14 JULY 2010 • PARKING TODAY • www.parkingtoday.com


by dialing a number, and entering a space IDand a length of time the person wishes to park. This technology has opened up very powerful resolutions to parking applications and permitting in authorized parking areas. Of all payment methods, this is the most innovative and flexible. It offers a convenient alternative paymentmethod. All that is


needed for implementation are instructional stickers prominently placed on single-spacemeters or posts. It also can be used to han- dle payments in a pay-and-display environment when needed. The versatile and robust technology allows the flexibility to


accommodate an unlimited number of parking zones, durations, rate policies and permits, and can be tailored to accommodate the needs of any city. Radio frequency (RF) tags, or transponders, when placed on


parking meters or signage, can be programmed and when touched, will produce a parking transaction or take you to a web- site to register for any kind of parking pro- gramthat requires it. Using this technology, my new parking


application will be called Touch ‘N Park. Just touch an NFC-enabled cell phone to the target area and an SMSmessage will be gen- erated and sent to its central servers. When the parker returns, he can touch the RFID tag again to stop the parking transaction, if the city permits that. At the present time, the only NFC-


enabled phones are from Nokia. The next version of the iPhone is expected to have this technology built in. Other companies will release either mini-SD cards or attachments for smart phones to enable them to read the new NFC chips. NFCmobile payments, for low transac-


tions anyway, were expected to exceed $75 billion globally from 2009 to 2013 accord- ing to a 2008 study from UK-based Juniper Research. In the second report in its Mobile Payment Markets series, the firm found


there was a “significant opportunity” for NFC mobile payment services, chips, phones and supporting services, especially as the market reaches its tipping point over the 2011 to 2013 period. But, as the report’s author cautioned, “The Industry still


needs to convince both consumers andmerchants of themedia of yet another payment mechanism on top of cash, checks, credit and debit cards, and to allay understandable (even if unfounded) fears and skepticism about the security of themobile wallet.” The report’s author, Howard Wilcox, said; “NFC will


achieve traction initially in developed countries and regions, with Japan already leading the way with FeliCa-enabled phones. North America,Western Europe and countries such as Korea, Singapore and Australia are likely to see service take-up.” With NFC technology, a new horizon for the parking indus-


try is just ahead.


Larry Berman, President of Metered Concepts, can be reached at lberman@me.com.


PT


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