Smart park­ing

Apps some­day could help driv­ers find, re­serve, pay for park­ing

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By LIU ZHENG li­uzheng@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tion is about to hit the mar­ket as the na­tion’s ex­pand­ing droves of driv­ers thirst for an up­grade of park­ing lot ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Nar­row Band In­ter­net of Things, or NB-IoT, is a Low Power Wide Area tech­nol­ogy that en­ables the con­nec­tions be­tween IoT de­vices to be faster with wider range than the ex­ist­ing blue­tooth and Wi-Fi ap­proaches while at the same time be­ing cheaper and con­sum­ing less power.

Shen Zhou, an en­gi­neer at the IoT busi­ness sup­port cen­ter of China Uni­com Shang­hai Branch, told China Daily the NB-IoT smart park­ing so­lu­tion would re­duce the cost of build­ing and man­ag­ing the in­fra­struc­ture and trunk gate­ways, which were orig­i­nally used as data con­nec­tors to bridge in­for­ma­tion be­tween end-user ter­mi­nal servers and up­per servers.

Shen said the tra­di­tional trunk gate­ways were able to man­age only a max­i­mum of 10 end-user park­ing ter­mi­nals, but the vol­ume could be sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced thanks to the chipsets em­bed­ded be­neath the sur­face at the park­ing ar­eas.

He also ex­pressed his op­ti­mism about the fu­ture im­ple­men­ta­tion of NB-IoT to up­grade Shang­hai’s pub­lic park­ing lot ser­vices. “Fol­low­ing the im­prove­ment and uti­liza­tion of NB-IoT, more pub­lic park­ing fa­cil­i­ties are ex­pected to be seen with re­spon­dent chipsets em­bed­ded into the ground,” Shen said.

In ad­di­tion, some spare en­ter­priseor pri­vate park­ing lots will also be re­vi­tal­ized to par­tic­i­pate in the net­work and en­joy prof­it­shar­ing from the busi­ness.

Statis­tics from the lo­cal me­dia noted that there are 15 NB-IoT base sta­tions be­ing jointly built by Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd and China Uni­com at the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Tourism and Re­sorts Zone, pro­vid­ing 334 park­ing booths that are equipped with NB-IoT chipsets and ve­hi­cle de­tec­tors. They are aimed at re­solv­ing tourists’ dif­fi­cul­ties in find­ing park­ing spa­ces and re­liev­ing traf­fic pres­sure.

By con­nect­ing the data be­tween in­di­vid­ual ve­hi­cles and China Uni­com’s smart park­ing server on the cloud, end users are able to search for, re­serve, nav­i­gate and even pay for avail­able park­ing spa­ces through an all-in-one app, which can be down­loaded to a smart­phone.

Zhong Bo, se­nior de­vel­oper of Eric­s­son’s R&D North­east Asia, said that the tech­nol­ogy al­lows tele­com op­er­a­tors to play a more sig­nif­i­cant role in the IoT ecosys­tem and ex­plore more growth ar­eas, by part­ner­ing with de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers and in­dus­trial users and lever­ag­ing ex­ist­ing net­work in­fra­struc­ture.

The Swe­den-based com­pany has part­nered with ma­jor in­ter­na­tional tele­com op­er­a­tors to pro­vide NB-IoT in­fra­struc­ture. It demon­strated the world’s first stan­dard NB-IoT con­nec­tion ap­pli­ca­tion at the Mo­bile-World Congress Asia 2016 in July in Shang­hai.

“The NB-IoT tech­nol­ogy can sim­plify the de­ploy­ment of the smart park­ing so­lu­tion and eas­ily con­sol­i­date in­for­ma­tion on sev­eral dif­fer­ent garages/park­ing lots into a sin­gle plat­form,” said Zhong. “This can sig­nif­i­cantly fa­cil­i­tate the end-users’ park­ing process, and make the man­age­ment and uti­liza­tion of the park­ing area much more ef­fi­cient.”

Zhong said there is no tech­nol­ogy ob­sta­cle to the devel­op­ment of NB-IoT, but it still takes some time for the mo­dem man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce ma­ture stan­dard­ized chipsets.

Ulf Ewalds­son, se­nior vice pres­i­dent, group CTO and head of group func­tion tech­nol­ogy at Eric­s­son, said the ad­van­tages of NB-IoT are that by us­ing the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture, such as net­works and base sta­tions, the tech­nol­ogy will be us­able by most telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion op­er­a­tors with only soft­ware up­dates and im­prove­ments.

He said he be­lieves that the cur­rent im­ple­men­ta­tion bot­tle­neck of NB-IoT is the re­search and devel­op­ment process of chipsets em­bed­ded in the as­so­ci­ated ter­mi­nals. But, as more and more coun­tries and re­gions around the world are be­ing at­tracted by the tech, chip ven­dors will ac­cel­er­ate to meet cus­tomers’ de­mands. As one of the con­trib­u­tors to the NB-IoT Stan­dards, another Chi­nese ma­jor telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions provider— ZTE Cor­po­ra­tion, which also of­fers end-to-end so­lu­tions for op­er­a­tors and the in­dus­try, has ac­tively in­vested in re­search on chips, ter­mi­nals, sys­tems and IoT plat­forms.

The com­pany re­cently ex­ported the tech­nol­ogy to Ro­ma­nia and helped the na­tion estab­lish its first smart park­ing lot in the west­ern city of Timisoara.

NB-IoT tech­nol­ogy first drew at­ten­tion from the in­dus­try back in March last year, as Voda­fone Group Plc to­gether with Huawei de­moed a smart­meter ap­pli­ca­tion en­abled by the tech­nol­ogy at the an­nual-Mo­bile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies Huawei, ZTE, China Mo­bile and China Uni­com, along with other world- lead­ing tele­com tech­nol­ogy providers and op­er­a­tors, in­clud­ing Eric­s­son, Eti­salat, the GSMA, GTI, In­tel, LG Uplus, Nokia, Qual­comm Inc, Tele­com Italia, Tele­fon­ica and Voda­fone, joined the NB-IoT Fo­rum and laid the foun­da­tions for a new in­dus­try fo­rum aimed at ac­cel­er­at­ing two ecosys­tems around NB-IoT tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing the ecosys­tem in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try and the ecosys­tem in ver­ti­cal mar­ket co­op­er­a­tion.

In mid-June this year, the 3rd Gen­er­a­tion Part­ner­ship Project com­pleted the global stan­dard­iza­tion of NB-IoT at a ple­nary meet­ing in Bu­san, South Korea.

“The in­ter­net of things is con­sid­ered as an emerg­ing in­dus­try with the most devel­op­ment po­ten­tial due to im­proved tech­nol­ogy achieved in ar­eas such as mo­bile in­ter­net and big data,” said Wang Xi, di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai In­sti­tute of Mi­crosys­tem and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy of the Chi­nese Acad­emy of Sciences. “Re­li­able busi­ness mod­els in the IoT mar­ket had not ap­peared un­til the birth of NB-IoT.”

Apart from the smart park­ing use case pro­moted as a demon­stra­tion of con­cept, NB-IoT has a great num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions in the smart city, in­clud­ing en­vi­ron­ment, traf­fic, health care and pub­lic se­cu­rity.

“As the strat­egy of ‘ Made in China 2025’ is be­ing pushed fur­ther and do­mes­tic prod­ucts re­place im­ported chipsets, the in­te­grated cir­cuit sec­tor will usher in a busi­ness of more than 100 bil­lion yuan ($15.15 bil­lion), es­pe­cially in fields such as NB-IoT and 5G,” said Xu Tian­shen, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of global mar­kets of Shang­hai-based Semi­con­duc­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ing In­ter­na­tional Cor­po­ra­tion.

Tech­nol­ogy re­search com­pany Gart­ner Group said it ex­pected 6.4 bil­lion yuan worth of con­nected de­vices to be in use next year, up 30 per­cent from this year, with the fig­ure reach­ing 20.8 bil­lion yuan by 2020. Ac­cord­ing to Gart­ner Group, IoT ser­vices spend­ing will grow 22 per­cent to 235 bil­lion yuan in 2016.

CCID think tank, a con­sult­ing in­sti­tu­tion un­der the Min­istry of In­dus­try and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, said China’ s IoT mar­ket in­creased at a growth rate 30.5 per­cent from 2010 to 2014 — grow­ing from 195.8 bil­lion yuan to 567.9 bil­lion.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion also ex­pects that the global IoT mar­ket will wit­ness 61 per­cent growth in the next five years and be­come the largest mar­ket for IT equip­ment and ser­vices.

WANG XIAOYING / CHINA DAILY

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