City governments around the world are starting to adopt smart technology as a foundation for building a new digital infrastructure. Smart parking meters that connect with apps are becoming a reliable solution for crowded urban planners to take the headaches out of parking. Here’s a look at the journey involved with creating smart parking software.
Global Smart Parking Market
The smart parking market was valued at $6.05 billion in 2019 and is expected to surpass $11 billion by 2027. Much of this projection is based on rising populations in urban areas as cities are now steadily moving toward digital transformation. Cities are becoming more congested so there’s an urgent need for making parking more efficient.
Types of Parking Apps and how they work
Before venturing into your parking app development, consider the different types of parking apps already available. The two main categories of parking apps are those for parking in advance and those for last-minute parking. From there apps may differ based on the method of finding an available parking space and by payment method. Some apps allow you to report when someone has wrongfully taken your paid parking spot.
Steps to Start Parking App Development
1. Market Research
Study the market for smart parking software and identify the dominant players in the market. Figure out how your enterprise fits in with the growing interest among city governments to resolve parking problems with digital solutions. Investigate the question: what can an app do to make parking more efficient?
Try to estimate how many parking spots are available in the city where you want to implement your parking app. Des Moines, Iowa, for example, has 1.6 million parking spaces, which equates to 19.4 per household. Philadelphia, by contrast, has 2 million parking spaces with a much larger population, averaging 3.7 per household. Another crucial point to research is the preferred payment method of residents, which is commonly a debit card.
2. Decide Budget
Your software development budget will play a significant role in shaping the quality of your smart parking app. Nearly half of the businesses in Baker McKenzie’s “2020 Digital Transformation & Cloud Survey” said they need to “improve cybersecurity” as a top priority in the investment to go more digital. Make cybersecurity a priority for your project as well, since software security flaws can destroy a new brand instantly. So avoid cutting corners. Other factors that will affect development costs will be the developer’s level of experience and the number of hours it takes to develop the app.
One way to cut costs on app development is to aim for a minimum viable product (MVP). Such a product involves solving a problem with low-cost product development and testing. The goal is to reach the market quickly with a unique solution that meets the minimum requirements for satisfying customers and filling a market hole.
3. Choose the Software Development Company
When outsourcing to an app developer, be sure to research companies by reading reviews to gauge their online reputation. Compare different developers and prioritize those with a track record of empowering businesses and their customers. Try to avoid companies that have contracted with city governments but have wound up in a lawsuit over cybersecurity breaches.
Ideally, your developer understands automation and the secrets to successful app design. One of the most important factors to success is putting a sensible limit on the number of features the app offers. Functionality overkill can be overwhelming for new users who quickly discard apps they don’t readily understand. Be aware that some parking apps of the past in New York City have displayed incorrect parking rates. Make sure the information about parking via your app is accurate and valuable to commuters.
4. Define Key Features
A smart parking app can have many possibilities, but one of the main features to make it viable is a map with clickable available parking locations. A major concern after that should be offering a timetable or a way to schedule specific parking times. Another feature needs to be payment method, which should be diverse. The most essential functions for a smart parking app are search, price comparison, booking, payment and directions to the parking space.
5. Choose App Design
Your app design should mix creativity with functionality. Whatever design you choose should be user-friendly with an intuitive nature. Don’t make the user spend too much time figuring out your app or they’ll be spending more time looking for an alternative. Avoid turning the app into an endless mess of buttons and focus on the most important features.
6. Other Technical Solutions
Another key concern for app development is flexible scalability. Your app might start out with a small community and spread to a large region. Allow the app to easily update and integrate with other interactive technology.
7. Launch and Maintain Your Application
Once you release your well-tested app to the public it’s essential to encourage users to interact with it. One thing consumers will be interested to know is if your app can save them time and money regularly in their pursuit of parking convenience. Ideally your app saves people money if they book a parking space in advance. Another reason people might want a parking app is to help locate their vehicle. If the app performs these functions, it will be easier to promote.
Follow the response to your app closely and gather as much feedback as you can. Learn from people’s reviews what you need to do to refine and improve the app. Monitor what other parking app designers are doing as well. Tap into sustainability as the theme driving the smart technology revolution.
Winning parking apps these days help solve or reduce the problems of heavy traffic, air pollution and traffic citations. Each of these problems can be avoided with smart parking meters and apps. Make sure your app solves parking problems that competitors can’t to secure your corner of the market. Building a smart parking app that improves parking in your town can bring attention to your business as many civic leaders explore making their city infrastructures more sustainable.