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where the pay-and-display machines were connected to a “cloud,” and the university had no hardware on-site (except the P-and-D machines themselves). They could access all information online from any computer terminal on campus or, in fact, anywhere. (See page 48.) Back at Intertraffic, the Designa booth had a heads-up display (HUD) that was showing real-time transaction activity from installations across Europe, all running on the company’s “cloud.” The transaction count was in the tens of millions. Parking service suppliers are beginning to speak in a different language. Many of us scoff at “youngsters” who talk about clouds, apps, technology, pay by electronic purse, in-lane sensors and gateless systems, but we may be doing so at our peril. When Harald Raetzsch of Skidata mentioned Google and parking in the same breath, I looked at him like he had six heads. But, remember, this is the fellow who uploaded his recent article for Parking Today from a catamaran in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and complained about the lack of bandwidth. Raetzsch went on to say that if one could sell books, theater tickets and dog food online, why not track parking times and compute real-time parking fees? The problem, he said, isn’t the


The issue is coordinating all the bits and pieces, and massive companies


such as


Google – which is the fourth- largest in the US – are good at doing just that.


technology; most of it exists. The issue is coordinating all the bits and pieces, and massive companies such as Google – which is the fourth-largest in the U.S. – are good at doing just that. Revenue control companies have been reluctant to share information and make their products work on different platforms. “Why shouldn’t Skidata pay-on-foot machines run on Scheidt & Bachmann software?” asked Raetzsch. “You can plug a Canon or Brother printer into your Dell or IBM PC or laptop, and they run just fine. But if you take the thinking one step further, why do you need a pay-on-foot machine or a gate or a ticket dispenser? “The technology is very close right now,” Raetzsch said. “We in this industry must start rethinking our business model.“ Think about it: For all we know, Google could be working on


this problem today in its super-secret billion-dollar R&D facility in Silicon Valley in California. They already track our purchases, supply us with cash and credit functions, provide directions and maps, show our backyards in satellite photos, know where all the parking facilities are located right down to the GPS coordinates, know where our


Continued on Page 38


See us at the IPI booth #525 Parking Today www.parkingtoday.com 37


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