Easing the perils of parking; an automated solution

Parking is a necessary evil. It’s something we all do. Before going shopping, hanging out with friends, or before catching a game. It’s the experience before the experience.

As someone who has recently joined the parking-sphere, I see parking as something where you either have a neutral experience or a below average one. 

This lines up with the feedback I hear from friends, family, and members of the general public. People forget the times where everything worked perfectly, but remember the bad times. Circulating for ages not being able to find a space, getting confused by not knowing where to drive, and the resulting congestion; all reasons for a negative parking experience. 

Parking is also [normally] the first impression a customer gets of the place they’ve just arrived. Everyone knows how the first impression is in any interaction! It sets the tone for the experience. 

Making it easy, stress-free, and frictionless means your customer is content when they walk in the door, ready to engage with your offering, rather than lamenting over the bad experience they had in your parking lot.

Many large providers and operators of parking, particularly shopping centers, airports, and cities, are acknowledging this and are taking steps to ensure the best neutral (or even net positive) experience possible for users of their parking.

If only there was some way of automatically displaying occupancy and guiding people to available parking spaces!

That’s where Frogparking comes in. With our suite of parking guidance products including indoor & outdoor sensors, LED lights, dynamic way-finding signage, a mobile app etc. to get people into parking spaces faster and easier.

Frogparking and the Irvine Company have been partnered for five years to make parking easier for visitors to the massive SoCal shopping center, the Irvine Spectrum Center. It started with the outdoor parking area and then moved to the indoor spaces, with a number of custom requirements catered for along the way.

It made sense, then, that when the Irvine Company sought to install another indoor solution at the brand new, Block 800 site on the south side of the site. Being a brand new garage, a key component of the project was to keep that minimal, slick, and premium look and feel with the parking guidance installation. 

Since implementing the initial parking guidance project at the Irvine Spectrum Center, Frogparking developed and patented a new method of detecting vehicles. Using an eye-safe, class-1 laser sensor mounted in the middle of the driving aisle, instead of an old, bluetooth sensor. 

The new sensor has been advantageous for all of our customers, not just the Irvine Company. Not only did this change in sensing method led to greater detection accuracy, but also greater reliability from eliminating batteries, having no hardware on the often harsh road surface, and a lower cost of install.

However, with a new sensor in the equation, the integration done in the past with the site’s existing strip-lighting and Frogparking’s LED guidance lights needed a redesign to incorporate new components.

With a large, internal team of product and hardware engineers, combined with that world-renowned Kiwi-can-do attitude, Frogparking was able to produce a new fixture to seamlessly attach to the end of lighting enclosures. 

All of this while providing accurate parking guidance to improve the experience of the end user, while meeting the custom look and feel requirements.

There are some other significant benefits to integrating parking guidance technology with existing lighting infrastructure.

For example, integrating with the existing infrastructure at the parking lot meant an extremely low impact installation to date. Being able to use an existing power supply, wiring power into the same power supply as the lights reducing costly cabling or supplying specialised power points. 

It also shows the benefits of working with a company large enough to deliver on a 7,000 bay plus installation, but small enough to be agile and responsive to custom requirements - something our existing customers tell us is a feature of Frogparking.

Anecdotal evidence on the ground suggests that the parking guidance is working. Speaking to parking users on a recent site visit, many told me they thought the garage looked very smart, new, premium, and clean. Users also told us they enjoyed the easy journey, fast parking, and compared the experience they’d just had with an experience in a garage without parking guidance unprompted. Customers often cited those “red and green lights and the signs” as the reason for that. 

Frogparking is proud of our partnership with the Irvine Company. We are proud to be delivering them with solutions and integrating our technology with their existing infrastructure and helping to provide their customers with the best experience.

An easier parking experience gets you off on the right foot with your customers. Reduce the time to park, reduce congestion, reduce circulation time; increase the customer’s experience.

New, laser fast parking at Wellington Airport

Finding a parking space at Wellington Airport is now easier and faster than ever before, thanks to kiwi made laser parking sensors and guidance technology.

The system, which includes eye-safe laser vehicle sensors, ultra-bright LED guidance lights, and large signs to direct customers through Wellington Airport’s new nine-level parking building to an available parking space as quickly as possible, was developed and patented by New Zealand-based global parking tech company, Frogparking.

“Drivers at Wellington Airport are the first in New Zealand to experience our latest and greatest technology which delivers a frictionless path to a parking space as quickly as possible so that they arrive at the terminal happy and ready to take off,” says Frogparking’s CEO Shareena Sandbrook.

A world-first use of the same laser technology used in Tesla’s autonomous vehicles, the system uses laser beams to detect parking space capacity, feeding information to a live signage system that shows drivers where parks are and guides them there using LED lights.

“The information is right there in front of the user from the moment they drive in, making it easy for them to choose a parking area where there are plenty of spaces. Once in an area, ultra-bright colored LED guidance lights to show where spaces are available on that floor.

“We are always innovating to make sure our technology is simple, accurate, and cost-effective, removing the need for clunky, old technology like infrared, cameras, ultrasonic systems, batteries, conduit, and on-site servers,” says Shareena.

Wellington Airport’s Transport Manager Pippi Kettle says the system is a great way to make people’s journeys through the airport a little easier:

“Real-time guidance is very popular with car park users because not only does it mean they get a park faster but it gives people a friendlier experience, with less stress, improving satisfaction overall.

“Frogparking’s laser guidance system is a stress-free and quick identification system for thousands of people who use our car park before flying out of Wellington Airport every day”

Shareena says since the system was patented this year, it has been installed in many different locations in Australia and the United States, the company’s biggest markets.

No woes for Palmerston North parking sensors

While parking sensors in Wellington and New Plymouth are failing just a few years after being installed, Palmerston North’s locally developed sensors and system are still going strong eight years later.

In 2010, local firm Frogparking installed more than 2,600 smart, environmentally friendly solar sensors and a cloud-based platform fully integrated into the city’s parking meter systems - and a mobile app to take cashless payments and show local people where parking is available.

Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith says at a time when other local authorities are struggling with failing technologies, Frogparking’s system has provided the council with excellent value for money and ultimately the best deal for local ratepayers.

“I am proud to be entering the eighth year of working with Don and Shareena Sandbrook, and the team at Frogparking. They have been a great tech partner for the city, providing a range of quality, reliable products that, after eight years in the field, are delivering as reliably as they did on day one,” says Mr Smith.

“Their story is also a positive one for our region. Frogparking is a local business which is still based in Palmerston North, was founded by local people and continuing to create smart jobs for local people.

“They have continued to grow and develop world leading IP here and exporting their smart technology all around the world - all of which contributes to keep our city’s economy growing.”

Shareena Sandbrook, Managing Director and co-founder of Frogparking says Palmerston North was the first city council to install the firm’s sensors and system, now used by many clients globally.

“Whilst there were a few teething problems with how the system was used in the very early days, our technology has stood the test of time and, now in its eighth year of being installed, is outperforming the others.

“It’s a real validation of our commitment to producing quality, reliable, future-proofed, world-leading technology.

“As a local Kiwi business with a big global reach, we’ve come a long way over these eight years and the experience of working with the local council has been an important part of that.

“Installing our technology has also given the city increased access to valuable live and historic data and analytics. This has given city planners a new level of insight into how local people are using the city and its existing infrastructure, allowing the city to make data-driven decisions about future projects.”

Frogparking drives North American growth with new United States sales team

Parking technology firm Frogparking has appointed two new senior sales executives to lead its ongoing expansion into the United States off the back of a multi-million investment.

The New Zealand-based firm, a pioneer of cloud-based parking management solutions, has recruited Grant Johnson, a senior sales consultant in the parking industry for over 20 years, and Shaun Donaghey, who’s led a number of technology companies expanding their operations in the US.

Frogparking Managing Director Shareena Sandbrook says the firm is building on its successes in the US aggressively boosting its research and development capacity and its international sales and marketing presence in the country.

“With a number of successful sites and happy customers, Frogparking already has a strong foothold in the United States. Our well established brand and reputation gives our new sales team a strong base to work from in the US,” says Shareena.

 “Grant and Shaun are at the top of their game, both well known in the parking industry and with innovative technology companies, so they’re a perfect fit to join our team and lead the charge.”

Grant, who’s based in California, says he has seen the industry undergo a technological revolution in his 20 years as a sales consultant and sees Frogparking as a future-focused innovator.

“It’s about staying at the cutting edge of parking technology, because that’s where the advantages lie for parking providers. Frogparking is a fast and furious innovator, always one step ahead and looking for ways to provide even greater efficiencies and better user experiences.”

Frogparking’s suite of solutions includes wireless indoor and outdoor guidance solutions, solar and hybrid occupancy sensors, cloud-based management and user apps with Bluetooth user engagement.

Grant says one of Frogparking’s most sought after solutions is wireless indoor and outdoor guidance, which is fast to install, integrates easily with any existing system and delivers a smooth, stress-free user experience.

“Parking is the first interaction people have when they go to a shopping mall, stadium, or an airport where the facility is likely to be large and very busy, with available parking at a premium.

“Everyone knows how important a first impression is. So what Frogparking provides is a customised solution, which combines wireless technologies with real-time data to deliver an accurate and efficient system that makes the parking experience and, in fact, the overall facility experience easier and stress free.”

Both Grant and Shaun will be exhibiting Frogparking’s range of indoor and outdoor solutions for airports at the upcoming annual ACI-NA Conference and Exhibition in Fort Worth, September 17-20.

Frogparking focuses on growth after successful capital raise

World-leading Kiwi parking technology firm Frogparking is launching a major growth programme to meet escalating global demand for its product following a successful capital raise.

Frogparking, co-founded by entrepreneurs Don and Shareena Sandbrook in 2010, has grown into a global export success with a wide range of international and domestic customers, including large shopping centres, universities, hospitals, and airports – such as at New Zealand’s three largest international airports: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Frogparking Managing Director Shareena Sandbrook says the new investment is a significant vote of confidence in the company and will facilitate growth in its already well established key markets.

“With this investment, we can lead the charge into new markets, fund R&D into new technology and products, and meet exponential demand growth.”

The lead investor is Malcolm Bailey, an experienced and well-established director and business owner, a former National President of Federated Farmers, Westpac New Zealand director and a Fonterra director for 12 years.

Mr Bailey says he sees Frogparking as a world-leader and is keen to push the company’s drive into key markets including the United States, Asia and Europe.

 “There is enormous capacity in this business and it is growing rapidly. I’m excited to provide the working capital injection that will help make it achieve its potential.”

Mr Bailey is also Chair of the Manawatu-based Central Economic Development Agency in Palmerston North where Frogparking is based and has interests in a local manufacturing firm.

“I see Frogparking as a long-term investment in a regional technology business that is generating new roles and employment opportunities locally. I also expect to see it deliver good returns.”

 Ms Sandbrook says the company is thrilled to have a local investor of Bailey’s calibre come on board, supporting the company’s commitment to stay local.

“It means we can take the business to the next level whilst staying 100 percent New Zealand owned, based in the Manawatu and committed to bringing the benefits to the region.

“We already have well-established distribution networks and partnerships, a suite of large customers using our innovative products, and a great team of people, so this investment is about building on our successes to go bigger and better.”

Frogparking is now actively recruiting for engineers, operational and service personnel and additional global sales and marketing capacity across its four major markets in the United States, Australia, Europe and Asia.

“The parking industry is worth around $100 billion annually, of which $18 billion is in the United States alone. To take this on, we need new sales and marketing people, new software, firmware, and installation engineers to keep up with the demand for our products in New Zealand and overseas.

Ms Sandbrook says parking guidance technologies which collect and display large amounts of data about parking assets and how they are being utilised are one of the key growth areas where demand is strong.

“Major carparking providers, especially retailers are always looking for ways to improve the customers’ overall experience and to stay innovative in what’s a highly competitive space. 

“Real-time indoor/outdoor guidance is very popular with their customers, not only does it mean they get a park faster but the data captured in the Frogparking cloud system allows management to improve on what they’re doing.”

The level of Mr Bailey’s investment is commercially sensitive, but it is in the multi-million dollar range. 

Realising the true value of parking with Dynamic Pricing

Since the introduction of self-parking well over half a century ago, parking owners and operators have struggled to realize the full value of their asset. In the early days, the challenges revolved largely around accounting. As with any cash business, it was difficult to make sure that all the money that was being collected was making its way into the cash register.

Today, owners and operators still struggle to maximize their profitability, but the challenges are very different. Now, parking owners find themselves managing an incredibly valuable asset without a mechanism for fully realizing that value. This is particularly true for downtown parking facilities in urban areas.

The problem is that unlike other products and services, it has always been difficult to apply market-driven pricing to parking. Whereas, the price of such commodities as food, clothing, or even entertainment can be adjusted based on demand, cost, and other market factors, the price of parking remains relatively static. Until recently, there hasn’t been a good way to constantly measure parking demand and adjust prices as demand rises and falls. The best owners and operators have been able to do was to look at historical data and predict future behavior, and then set prices accordingly. 

It’s easy to see the limitations of this approach though. Pricing is based on little more than guesswork because no matter how much data you have about past parking demand, it’s impossible to know for certain how much demand there will be in the future.

Technology To The Rescue

The good news for parking owners and operators is that these challenges have finally been conquered. The technology age that has transformed the parking industry in recent years is providing particularly important benefits when it comes to dynamic pricing. And the key to success begins with the parking guidance sensors that have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

One of the key roles of parking guidance sensors has always been to monitor utilization. The most visible manifestation of this is the series of lights that indicate to drivers whether a particular space is available and, if so, which type of utilization is acceptable. Typically, a green light indicates that the space is available, red means it’s full, and blue means the space is reserved for handicap parking. However, most systems can be tailored to each facility’s unique needs.

However, these same sensors can also work in conjunction with software to analyze utilization to help owners and operators better manage their facilities. Now, that software can be customized to continuously monitor occupancy levels and automatically modify pricing in real-time. If occupancy rises above a certain level of occupancy, the price is raised accordingly; if it falls again the price is dropped. For the first time owners and operators can base their pricing on utilization, rather than on guesses about how full or empty their facility will be. 

Of course, as with guidance, communication is required for the system to work. Just as the sensors communicate in real-time with signs at facility entrances so they can tell parkers how many open spaces are available on each floor, the system must also communicate how much parking costs at that exact moment. You can’t have drivers entering a parking lot or garage expecting to pay one amount, only to be charged more when they leave.

With these technologies, dynamic pricing can be achieved in any parking facility. Ground-based sensors can be used in outdoor lots and even in on-street metered spaces. Likewise, ceiling-based sensors hung above parking spaces in garages can be used to manage the system.

Good News

It’s obvious why dynamic pricing is good news for parking owners and operators. They can finally earn the actual value of their parking assets. In fact, the technology was installed for the first time last spring in downtown Los Angeles, and the owner immediately benefited. Over the first two months of implementation revenues increased by 100% each month, before settling at around 35% per month. When the owner factored in decreased labor and associated costs permitted by the system, increased profits inched over 50% per month. 

Interestingly, business has actually picked up since the owner installed the dynamic pricing package. Drivers seem to appreciate knowing that the rates they are being charged are based on the actual value of the space, and not some arbitrary number.

Needless to say, the owner is delighted with the results and his competitors have taken notice. Not only is that owner installing dynamic pricing systems to his other lots, but other parking facilities in the area are also starting to install the system.

Dynamic pricing also promises benefits to municipalities. Obviously, cities can install the system in their garages and lots, but they can also use the technology in on-street spaces that are served by smart meters. On-street applications work the same way, with sensors measuring occupancy and communicating that information to smart meters, which then set pricing accordingly. Cities and towns can enjoy important revenue benefits from dynamic pricing.

And the benefits extend beyond revenues. By being able to adjust prices on the fly, municipal parking planners can use parking pricing more effectively to support downtown business development. Typically, parking planners set on-street prices in central business districts at levels designed to assure that at least 15% of the spaces are available at any given time. The idea is to help local businesses by make sure that it’s easy for shoppers to find parking. Now, with dynamic pricing, that strategy becomes much easier to implement and manage. If occupancy gets too high in the CBD, the system can automatically raise prices to encourage long-term parkers to use more remote parking spaces. If occupancy gets too low, the prices can be dropped to encourage visitors to park adjacent to downtown businesses. In the coming years dynamic pricing will become an important element of most communities’ efforts to support downtown businesses.

Finally, parkers will benefit in a few ways. Most notably, drivers who typically park in low utilization lots will no longer pay more than they should for parking. With dynamic pricing, when a garage or lot empties, the price of parking will go down. Of course, the sensors that are managing the system continue to guide drivers into open spaces too, which makes the entire parking experience more convenient and pleasant. 

Added Value

Moving forward, these systems will be able to offer parkers even more amenities. For instance, if a driver overstays the amount of time for which he or she has paid, the systems will be able to send an alert via that driver’s smart phone. The driver will then have the choice of paying for more parking or moving the vehicle. Enforcement officers will only be notified if the driver ignores the alert.

Owners and operators will also be able to offer parkers loyalty programs through apps on their smart phones. Through these programs they’ll be able to offer premier parking benefits like preferred parking, discounts, and added services such as automobile detailing. They’ll also be able to guide parkers back to their vehicles if they forget where they parked. There are numerous benefits that can be provided through this greater connectivity with parkers, and owners and operators can build loyalty programs around the unique desires and requirements of their customers.

And in the future, these benefits will grow exponentially. We are about to enter the era of connected cars and self-driving vehicles, and sensor-based networks will be a key to the success of these efforts. In fact, they will be the tool that connects all of a community’s parking spaces to the transportation grid.

Of course, not all sensor systems can manage dynamic pricing. While accuracy is essential in any type of parking guidance system, it’s particularly important when the price of parking is being adjusted on the fly. Inaccurate systems can cost owners and operators thousands by improperly dropping prices when occupancy is too low. With dynamic pricing, anything below 99% accuracy is unacceptable. 

Dynamic pricing can provide extraordinary benefits to owners and operators, cities and towns, and even to parkers. It’s a concept whose time has come, and we finally have the technology at our disposal to make it a reality.

Smart, small data with the Frogparking Reporting Suite

Turn your parking asset from “just a car park” to a smart, agile, small data collecting machine with Frogparking’s sensors, mobile app, and cloud-based reporting suite. Understand your customers better, so you can target promotions and offers, set pricing based on live utilisation, and make better business decisions based on live data that is accessible, informative, and actionable.

Using Frogparking’s real-time dashboard to interpret information from sensors, data is collaborated from all parts of the system and is presented in a way that’s easy to understand. Information can be sliced hourly, daily, weekly or monthly and data can be exported to .csv files for further analysis if required. Users can compare and contrast multiple locations to track revenue and car park usage.

The system is completely cloud-based, with live data accessible from anywhere at any time, without any software being installed on computers. All data is stored securely on multiple remote servers.

From the simple to use reports and analytics suite, you can analyze and view reports on car park utilization, turnover, revenue, infringements, citations issued, and duration of stay. The reports are so cool you’ll be printing them off and flashing them around the office in no time!

Frogparking to Provide Guidance at Wellington International Airport

A Palmerston North technology business is flying high after winning a major parking contract with Wellington International Airport.

Frogparking has created what it says is the world's first cloud-based parking management system.

The indoor/outdoor guidance technology has been selected by the airport for its new $70 million multi-level transport hub, due to be completed in November next year.

Airport bosses were so impressed they will start implementing the system throughout the airport's existing parking area next month, installing 650 wireless occupancy sensors.

Frogparking director Shareena​ Sandbrook said the system would smoothly guide motorists to carpark spaces.

"They are easy and cost-effective to install and maintain and provide accurate, real-time data on each parking space."

Signs are being installed, which will display real-time information on where parks are available. Drivers will be guided by LED lights to those spaces.

The company has clients all over the world, such as Disney, that use its suite of technologies.

It has created a niche in the airport market with Christchurch and Auckland international airports both using its systems.

Shareena Sandbrook would not give the value of the Wellington Airport contract which was awarded by tender.

Frogparking was started by chief executive Don Sandbrook in 2010 after he sold out of his aircraft tracking business Spidertracks, and seeding and harvesting technology company Seed Spider.

The entrepreneur kept his key development staff and now employs 27 people.

Frogparking's turnover had tripled since 2014, and was forecast to rise by 170 per cent in the 2017 financial year.

Shareena Sandbrook said this would be the result of adding new clients in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and more work from existing clients.

The company was the only one offering a fully integrated wireless indoor/outdoor guidance product with solar or battery powered occupancy sensors, she said.

There was so much demand for the technology, the company could not keep up and would recruit more staff.

It had started a capital raising venture and asked for feedback from companies interested in partnering.

"I believe we have the potential to become a $100m company within the next five years," she said.

Wellington International Airport manager of transport and commercial development Pippi Kettle said the airport had considered a range of options - weighing up the benefits of camera-based versus wireless cloud-based technologies.

"Our main goal is customer experience. We're investing a lot of money in car parking and we want it to be user-friendly."

The cloud-based system would provide real-time parking guidance and comprehensive data to the airport.

The data would open opportunities such as dynamic pricing based on data, future add-ons such as an integrated app for motoristsas well as a wealth of enforcement tools, Kettle said. - Stuff

NZ Car Park Replaces Meters with Mobile App

The technology also allows retailers to send customised offers via their smartphones as they pay for the parking

Palmerston North-based company Frogparking has recently deployed technology designed and developed by the firm in a 33-space car park in the city's Church Street.

According to the company, the technology could prove to be the end of not only parking meters, but also parking fees.

The car park has solar-powered parking sensors that link to a cloud-based parking management system, which detects the number of vacant spaces at any point in time.

Drivers pay for parking through a mobile Frogparking payment app rather than a parking meter with a variable tariff. This means cheaper parking when there are more spaces available and more expensive fees when space is at a premium.

"I consider this a game-changer for the New Zealand parking industry. It is also a win-win for motorists and cities with the potential to revive retail centres and encourage better use of city parking for the benefit of all," said Frogparking director Don Sandbrook.

The technology also allows retailers to send customised offers via their smartphones as they pay for the parking. The customer receives a unique code, which they can then use to take up the offer and get their parking fee refunded, or a discount on a product or service by the participating retailer at their outlet. The product discount can also be shared via social media.

Regular or premium parkers can also have a GPS-enabled tag fitted to their windscreen. This will allow them to enter and exit freely with the parking fee being automatically billed to their credit card.

"For retailers, there are added benefits with the location-based engine combining users' parking-behaviour with personalised offers and social media, over time allowing them to tailor promotions to the preferences of individual shoppers and their social networks.

"For the shopper, they're just getting great offers, which they can share with their social networks, and free parking," added Sandbrook.

Sentry Introduces Parking Industry's First Gateless Off-Street Automated Dynamic Pricing Solution

VAN NUYS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sentry, America's leading provider of parking solutions and technology, announced today the launch of the parking industry's first fully automated gateless off-street dynamic pricing solution with integrated Variable Message Signage. The dynamic pricing suite utilizes Frogparking's groundbreaking parking management platform to monitor occupancy and automatically adjust parking rates for remaining spaces. The dynamic pricing system allows parking operators, municipalities, and private parking owners to maximize their parking revenues while remaining price-competitive. Sentry is the exclusive distributer of Frogparking products in the United States.

"The revenue increases that we've already seen indicate that owners could recoup their investment in just a matter of weeks."

"Automated dynamic pricing is a game changer for parking owners," said Tim Flanagan, managing director of Sentry. "Parking owners and operators lose tens of millions of dollars every year because there has never been a reliable way to achieve market-driven pricing. Ultimately, the goal of every parking owner is to maximize occupancy and revenues simultaneously. For the first time, that goal is achievable."

The dynamic pricing suite utilizes Frogparking's revolutionary parking management platform to measure occupancy and adjust pricing based on a preset formula. Parking sensors recognize when a parking space is occupied, reporting that information to a central database via Frogparking's software. The software continuously monitors occupancy levels for a parking facility or on-street zone, and automatically modifies pricing in real time. The system also includes signage at facility entrances informing drivers how much parking costs and how many spaces are available at that moment. The pricing suite can manage parking areas of any size, from individual parking facilities to parking companies with multiple facilities.

At the inaugural U.S. site in Southern California, the dynamic pricing suite pairs the Frogparking platform with Metro Parking Machines produced by Global Parking Solutions. Monthly revenues have increased by more than 115% over the previous year in each month measured, and monthly revenues have also increased steadily.

"The Frogparking suite has provided an extraordinary return," said Flanagan. "The revenue increases that we've already seen indicate that owners could recoup their investment in just a matter of weeks."

High-Tech Carpark Opens in Palmerston North

Palmerston North has become home to what may be the world's most high-tech carpark, where the amount drivers pay depends on how many spaces are available.

The 33-space carpark in the city's Church Street has been kitted out with solar-powered sensors by local parking technology firm Frogparking that can tell which parks are occupied. Drivers pay for parking through their smartphone.

Frogparking has been providing ticketless parking systems to Palmerston North for a few years, but director Don Sandbrook said the new system was its most advanced yet, with cheaper parking if there were lots of spaces available and higher prices if they were nearly all taken. The tariff ranges from 50 cents to $2 an hour.

Regular patrons can use a GPS-enabled windscreen tag that will automatically bill their credit card, but there is no cash option.

Sandbrook said there was plenty of on-street parking nearby for "little old ladies" who found the technology complicated. "If you don't have a smartphone, we don't want you to park in the carpark."

He believed everyone would be paying for all parking by smartphone within 10 years. "There will be no other way."

Drivers pay only for the time they are parked and local retailers can send codes to customers' smartphones that entitle them to have their parking fees refunded if they take up shopping offers.

A local cafe, Cafe Moxies, has been the first to do that, but three other retailers are offering parkers in-store discounts.

Sandbrook said Palmerston North could become the "world's innovation hub" for the parking industry and help cities around the world revive their retail centres.

State-of-the-Art Parking Space Sensors Installed Throughout Pentagon Row Parking Facility

ARLINGTON, VA. - With the installation of 1,946 parking space sensors, Pentagon Row now boasts one of the nation's most advanced, customer-friendly, and sustainable parking facilities. The sensors, which are located in each of the facility's parking spaces, record whether a space is occupied, forwarding that information to illuminated signs and the Pentagon Row mobile parking app which direct parkers to the closest available spaces to their final shopping destination. By eliminating the need for drivers to circle the parking garage searching for a space, Pentagon Row's sensor system provides a more convenient and greener parking experience. Pentagon Row is owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust.

"We are proud to host one of the first parking facilities in the nation to offer such a comprehensive space sensor system," said Robin McBride Zeigler, Vice President, Mid-Atlantic Region Chief Operating Officer for Federal Realty Investment Trust. "No longer do drivers have to circle the parking facility looking for an open space. Visitors are guided directly to open parking and can get in and out of parking areas more quickly and conveniently than ever before."

Pentagon Row's parking sensors send live parking information to the Pentagon Row mobile parking app, providing unprecedented convenience to shoppers by guiding them directly to open spaces, dramatically improving the overall shopping experience. In addition to saving shoppers valuable time, the sensors also promote sustainability by reducing exhaust emissions from circling vehicles.

The Pentagon Row Parking sensor package is unique because it combines two distinct solutions developed by different technology providers, Frogparking and INDECT Parking Guidance Systems. The package includes 278 ground-based solar-powered Frogparking sensors, and 968 mounted INDECT sensors. The combination of sensors and Frogparking's clever parking management software provides intuitive and recognizable guidance to unoccupied spaces to users, through the use of the mobile parking app. The Pentagon Row Parking sensor package was developed and installed by Sentry Control Systems.

"We were able to create a unique package of ground-based and mounted sensors to provide effective coverage throughout Pentagon Row, in both covered and open parking areas," said Blair Taylor, Vice President of Business Development, Southeast Region for Sentry Control Systems. "Being able to use different solutions in different parts of the facility makes the sensor package much more effective."

Pentagon Row's mobile parking app also provides up-to-the-minute parking rate information and shows the location of available free parking. Drivers who forget where they parked can even use it to locate their vehicles, using the æfind my car' feature. The free Pentagon Row app is available in the iTunes app store and Google Play.

- Heraldonline.com

City of Laguna Beach launches Frogparking app

Residents and visitors in the City of Laguna Beach, California can now experience the benefits of easier, faster, and smarter parking thanks to Frogparking’s smart-city parking platform.

Following a competitive bid process, Frogparking was selected to deliver a platform which improves the parking experience for the city, local businesses, and end-users. 

Frogparking sensors have been installed in on-street and indoor parking spaces around the city’s downtown to monitor vehicle occupancy. A mobile app means a frictionless experience finding a parking space, with turn-by-turn navigation to directly to an available parking space. 

Once parked, say goodbye to fumbling around loose coins, as users will be able to make a cashless payment for their parking session using their credit card of preloaded account balance.

The City’s Deputy Director of Public Works, Paula Faust, says the city’s aim was to make parking easier and more user-friendly.

“Say, for instance, after dinner you want to go to one of our [the City’s] really great coffee establishments here in town,” said Paula Faust, the city’s deputy director of public works. “You kind of panic a little bit because you can’t remember if you still have time left on the meter or if you’ve actually gone past your time. The app will send you a notification that you have 10 to 15 minutes left so it’s time to wrap things up and get back to your car.”

Frogparking CEO, Shareena Sandbrook, says the city is breaking new ground and it’s an exciting new partnership.

“We are excited to be working with a proactive, future-focused, and forward thinking city like the City of Laguna Beach. With Frogparking’s new smart city platform, people can now sign up to the app to find and pay for a parking space easier and faster than ever before,” says Sandbrook.

“In addition to sensors in parking spaces, Frogparking also rolled out a mobile app so city parking users can see live availability, make a payment, extend their parking, and features a “trolley tracker” that shows the user schedules and live arrival information of the free Laguna Beach parking trolleys. 

“The app has been branded completely to the Laguna Beach Parking branding guidelines.

“Frogparking works with a number of cities around the world, who are now starting to see the value in providing the easiest experience for people. Reducing the time to park reduces cruising time which, of course, reduces congestion and reduces harmful emissions from vehicles circulating.

“Installing our technology is also proven to give cities increased access to valuable live and historic data and analytics. This has given city planners a new level of insight into how local people are using the city and its existing infrastructure, allowing the city to make data-driven decisions about future projects.

“We are continuing to grow and add more and more locations across California. Our customers like that we are the complete, scaleable package because we develop everything in-house with a team of super-smart and responsive engineers and developers. We are able to expand our system as our customers expand themselves,” says Sandbrook.

Residents of Laguna Beach can find more information about the Laguna Beach parking mobile app at lagunabeachparking.net.

Frogparking recognised as Fastest Growing Lower North Island Exporter

Frogparking’s Chief Operating Officer, Shareena Sandbrook, says being recognised as one of the New Zealand’s fastest growing exporters in this year’s Deloitte Fast 50 programme is yet another vote of confidence in the company and acknowledgement of the rapid growth seen over the last few years.

The Palmerston North-based global parking technology company took away the Lower North Island Region’s Fastest Growing Exporter at an event in Wellington on Wednesday night. 

“The calibre of our competition for this award was incredibly strong; to come out on top shows how Frogparking has gone from strength to strength since we founded the company in 2010. It is great recognition of how hard everyone in the company is pushing to reach our long-term growth targets,” says Shareena.

Growth in sales, delivering a premium product, aggressive expansion into key markets, and a pivot in sales and marketing strategy is being attributed as the main reasons for the continued growth.

“The company is truly global now. Over 75% of our sales last year were exports to the USA or Australia,” says Shareena.

“For us, it was about capitalising and building on early successes. Frogparking already had a strong foothold with lots of happy customers and reference sites in our key overseas markets, the United States and Australia. 

“After we raised capital and brought a new group of investors on board last year, we decided to get aggressive and go direct to our key markets with our own team of sales and support people. 

“We setup a headquarters in the United States, and are about to do the same in Australia, meaning we have been able to offer the best deal and service to new and existing customers.

“Our customers know that our solution is the only truly premium product in the parking guidance space, with product quality assured by sourcing only the latest and highest quality componentry and by designing and assembling all products in-house.

“We are also the only provider in the market that is offering premium, cloud-based software, which is changing the way our customers see their parking lots. Frogparking’s software is helping our customers understand parking trends & behaviours and influencing future property development decisions,” says Shareena.

For Frogparking, this success is only the beginning.

“Success for Frogparking over the next 1-3 years will involve building on the gains we have experienced in the last 12 months to stay on the same growth trend over this period.

“We will continue to roll out our premium product at sites in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand, increasing sales, and developing more new products to stay at the cutting edge of our industry,’ says Shareena.

A full list of the Lower North Island Region winners, including Frogparking, can be found here: click here. The full Deloitte Fast 50 Index and national category winners will be selected following the Deloitte Festival of Growth in November.

Time is running out to meet with our team at the Airports Council International - North America show!

Time is running out, but our team still have a few time slots to meet with you at the ACI-NA Show in Fort Worth later this month. Grant and Shaun, both pictured left, will be more than happy to meet with you or your representatives and explain why Frogparking's parking guidance system is an absolute must-have for your airport's parking facility.

Frogparking is an international market leader in innovative parking solutions. Our products and services are user-focused, utilizing the latest technology to bring parking management and enforcement into the digital age. Using innovative technology, the Frogparking system makes the parking experience easier and more efficient for users and operators. 

Our United States-based team, Shaun Donaghey and Grant Johnson, will be exhibiting at booth 701 and can walk you through how our system can improve your customer's journey, analyse carpark usage, and improve traffic flow.

So make a time to meet with Shaun and Grant now - it's as easy as replying to this email! Otherwise, be sure to stop by booth 701 during the exhibition hours and say hello.

Kiwi Parking technology taking off at an airport near you.

The airport carparking experience is a critical first impression for airport customers, so making it easy and stress-free has significant flow-on benefits.

That’s the focus for pioneering New Zealand-based parking technology firm Frogparking which promises to turn their clients’ carparks into effective tools for understanding and managing their customers.

The company is on a global growth spurt off the back of a multi-million investment resourcing its capacity to meet escalating demand for its parking solutions.

Co-founded by entrepreneurial father-daughter team Don and Shareena Sandbrook in 2010, Frogparking has always been a step ahead in innovative design and development – one of the first to deliver cloud-based management of a full suite of solutions. 

It has a wide range of customers worldwide from airports, hospitals, universities and local municipalities to private parking operators, major shopping malls and property developers. A core growth area is its fully wireless indoor and outdoor guidance solutions - sleek, energy-efficient and easy-install – and very much designed with airports in mind.

We talked to Frogparking’s Managing Director Shareena, about the company’s products, pipeline of innovations and how its solutions work so well for airports.

So, you’ve recently had a major capital injection from a group of investors, where is that taking you?

As a Kiwi business with a big global reach, we’re now able to build on our successes and take the business to the next level of global growth. We are already a well-known quantity in the United States market and our plan is to use this investment and lock in the reputation we’ve gained over the years.

We’re aggressively increasing our international sales and marketing presence, particularly in the United States where we are now talking to and selling directly to new and existing customers. With our strong brand and reputation in the parking industry, a direct approach means we can offer a better service to customers at much more competitive rates.

To date, Frogparking has added sales capacity in California and Texas, and we have plans to continue this expansion soon. Our two new sales executives are at the top of their game and are well known in the parking industry and with innovative technology companies – making them the perfect fit to join our team. Grant Johnson, a senior Sales Consultant in the parking industry for over 20 years joins us in California, and Shaun Donaghey, who has been instrumental in the success with a wide range of technology platforms expanding into the United States. Having these two on board is a huge validation of our brand and where we are headed.

Tell us about some of the key growth areas for you

There’s huge demand for our wireless indoor and outdoor parking guidance technologies which combine our world-first solar parking sensors with wireless systems and cloud-based management, and unique benefits of user engagement through Bluetooth smartphone interaction.

It’s a scalable, future-proofed and highly efficient solution that will integrate easily into any existing system and, most importantly, for the users, it’s a smooth, stress-free experience.

What are the benefits for airports?

For most people, parking your car is the first interaction you have when you go to a shopping mall, stadium, or an airport. In these cases, the parking facility is likely to be both large to accommodate a huge number of visitors and it’s also likely to be very busy – with available parking at a premium. 

Everyone knows how important a first impression is! So what Frogparking’s solution provides for airports is a customised solution, which combines wireless technologies with real-time data to deliver an accurate and efficient system that makes the parking experience and, in fact, the overall airport experience easier and stress free.

Currently, all New Zealand’s major airport hubs use our guidance solutions to address different needs. For example, Auckland International Airport, wanted a solution that would address issues with long-stay users taking spaces near the terminal designated for short-stay users. 

Auckland International Airport does not use enforcement in their carparking facilities, as it’s all about providing a great customer experience that encourages compliance. We enabled that through installing our wireless outdoor guidance solution with hybrid solar/battery occupancy sensors, cloud-based management and dynamic way-finding signage.

Uptake from customers has exceeded the airport’s expectations. The system has been very effective at keeping the long-stayers away from the area nearest the terminal. Prior to the install, you’d struggle to find a park near the terminal, now there’s always something available. Auckland International Airport has since expanded use of Frogparking’s indoor and outdoor solutions across their other assets because it works. 

Our strong point of difference is using data and real-time information to make the overall experience more user friendly and tailored to each individual that visits a facility. We can give them instant information, customised promotional offers they can share via social media, creating a community of loyal visitors that feel valued and understood.

This is a key attraction for major car park providers like airports as it allows them to differentiate themselves in what is a highly competitive space. They can take full control over parking behaviour and analyse a wealth of data on parking and demographic information.

Can you tell us about any innovation in the pipeline?

Frogparking lives and breathes innovation. We always have new things in the pipeline whether that’s enhancements to current solutions or harnessing the latest technologies to create new and better ways of doing things. Our basic tenet is to stay one step ahead of the curve.

So, yes, while I don’t want to give any secrets away, people should stay tuned as we have an exciting enhancement in the pipeline that’s going to really lift carparking accuracy and cost-effectiveness in many ways.

High tech parking hits the deep south

Free parking, longer opening hours, and the removal of barrier arms are just a few of the benefits that the new hi-tech, Kiwi-made, parking technology system installed at Invercargill’s Leven St carparking facility.

The Invercargill City Council has worked with Palmerston North-based parking technology company Frogparking, which recently installed 143 of its wireless parking sensors in October to monitor the downtown car park building.

“It’s a great way to manage a public parking facility,” says Invercargill City Council Roading Manager Russell Pearson.

“Our whole goal has been to use technology to be more efficient in how we manage the facility. With the Frogparking solution, there’s no need for the barrier arms so we can create an open carpark which our team can successfully monitor without having an attendant roaming the building.

“That means we’ve also been able to open the park for longer and for free on Sundays.”

The wireless parking sensors, which include around 70 of Frogparking’s world-first solar-powered sensors and 73 indoor battery powered sensors – detect carpark occupancy. The real-time data is available to the parking team via the cloud-based software.

Mr Pearson says the occupancy information not only supports efficient monitoring but more importantly allows the council to better manage the available spaces across the building’s casual and pay-by permit offerings.

“The data gives us a way to really understand visitor usage patterns and accurately plan how we manage the facility to ensure that all available parks are being used to maximum efficiency.”

A significant bonus for Invercargill shoppers is the introduction of 90-minute free parking in the 65 parking spaces on the top floor of the building.

“This area wasn’t being well used prior to the installation. So with this new system, we’ve been able to make it available free for 90 minutes to the public, a great use of a public parking facility right in the CBD.”

Frogparking Managing Director Shareena Sandbrook says that reducing the barriers to the parking lot is not only symbolic, but is also good for traffic flow, and will mean a better experience for motorists.

“While the industry is still installing barriers and boom gates, Frogparking and the Invercargill City Council are bucking the trend by making it easier and more efficient for people to get to a parking space. Motorists will benefit from reduced traffic congestion, giving them an easier and more user-friendly experience at the car park.

Frogparking solutions are used globally across public and private sector organisations. These range from Nike Headquarters in Australia, the facilities of United States’ biggest shopping mall developer Irvine Company, the Dubai Regional Transport Authority, through to Coles Group Australia, and New Zealand’s three major international airports Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland international airports.

Frogparking technology helping parkers take off at Auckland Airport

Palmerston North based parking technology company, Frogparking, recently completed the installation of over 500 wireless parking occupancy sensors across Auckland International Airport’s indoor and outdoor carparks. 

The new sensors are an extension to the guidance system installed in late 2015 and will mean that motorists can enjoy better parking availability and an easier ride to available carparks at the airport.

The sensors send data about carpark utilisation to Frogparking’s cloud-based platform, which feeds live information from over 4,000 carparks airport wide into Frogparking’s dynamic signage. This signage, combined with LED lights in indoor bays, advises motorists where parks are available removing the hassle and frustration of circling parking lots to find a parking space.

Travelling can be stressful, and negotiating airport carparks can be confusing for many motorists. Travellers are often pushed for time and need to find an available car park as soon as possible, to avoid being late for or missing flights.

That’s why Frogparking and Auckland Airport have joined forces to deliver a slick, accurate, and reliable indoor and outdoor guidance solution to assist the more than 16 million passengers that pass through New Zealand’s busiest airport. 

“Frogparking’s guidance solution has replaced our old system, and has brought Auckland Airport’s parking facilities into the 21st century,” says Martyn Brewer, Commercial Manager Transport for Auckland International Airport. 

“Uptake from motorists has been fantastic, and people are noticing the results. Prior to the install, you’d struggle to find a park near the terminal, but now that people are being guided around the facility to the appropriate carparks, there is always something available.

“Our focus is on providing the best possible experience for our customers. Frogparking has delivered a system that makes things easier and more efficient for people, and helped to improve our carpark,” says Brewer.

Frogparking now service all three of New Zealand’s major international airports with its full suite of cutting-edge solutions, and plans to extend this specialisation across its major markets in the United States, Europe, and Australia. 

“Airport carparks manage a huge amount of traffic flow. From people parking short term or long term to people doing pickup or drop off, the system has to cater for them all,” says Frogparking Managing Director, Shareena Sandbrook.

“We’re currently the only provider world-wide that offers a fully wireless, indoor and outdoor, cloud-based solution that will integrate with existing systems and is easy to install and upscale as required,’ says Sandbrook.

Kiwi Solar Parking Tech Makes Commercial Breakthrough

'We now have empirical data to show councils exactly how we're using our resources and what capacity we have to add new services ordevelopments'

Commercial property investment company Smales Farm is using Kiwi - developed solar -powered car parking technology to make a breakthrough in parking management.

Smales Farm has installed nearly 100 world -first solar - powered wireless parking occupancy sensors - designed and developed by Palmerston North company Frogparking - at its properties at 2 and 4 Fred Thomas Drive in Takapuna.

The sensors detect whether a parking space is occupied and send reports via a wireless internet connection, supported by Frogparking's cloud -based parking management software.

Smales Farm general manager Daniel Henderson says the technology supports highly efficient enforcement as well as providing data that allows the company to understand how tenants and visitors use parking resources.

"Parking space is an increasingly scarce resource and we need to manage it as efficiently as possible. With this technology we have the data to demonstrate to our tenants that parking is sufficient for their customers. If there are capacity issues, we can use the data to help work with them to find a solution."

The Frogparking sensors provide complete usage data on how and when customers are using parking resources. This ensures Smales Farm can make the right type of parking available to people at the right times. The technology infrastructure also provides a platform for possible future services using mobile software apps.

The data is also invaluable for property developers in meeting local authority requirements for parking resource as part of applications for new property developments.

"We now have empirical data to show councils exactly how we're using our resources and what capacity we have to add new services or developments."

Frogparking designs innovative parking systems with management solutions for customers including local authorities, private parking operators, hospitals and airports.

Frogparking managing director Don Sandbrook says Smales Farm is the first commercial property development of its kind to install the new technology.

"There is huge potential for the commercial and public sector to use Frogparking's management and sensor technologies.

"We're having success in Auckland, with commercial and local authority customers in New Zealand and overseas and with some key trials under way right now in the US and projects under way in Australia."

Frogparking's solar - powered sensors are also being trialled by Auckland Council on Dominion Road. Designed to reduce congestion, the sensors direct motorists travelling along the busy main road to free parking spaces near a key retail centre, ensuring they get a parking space. This reduces time spent circling the block looking for a place to park and reduces congestion.

"Anyone who manages car parking spots is a potential customer of ours. There is a strong appetite to better manage parking use, and we have reliable, proven solutions backed up with local support"

Frogparking is at the forefront of the hottest global trend in technology today, the 'Internet of things'. This computing concept describes a future where everyday physical objects - such as carparks - will be connected to the internet. According to ABI Research, more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of things by 2020.

Auckland Transport Takes Up the Parking Challenge

The International Parking Institute - headquartered in the United States - says by embracing technology and forging public-private partnerships, cities can convert long-existing parking issues into models of sustainability, efficiency, revenue generation and customer service.

Auckland Transport (AT) recently released its draft Parking Discussion document with general manager strategy and planning Peter Clark saying it's the first time parking has been reviewed Auckland-wide.

Managing off-street parking facilities - in terms of long-stay commuter parking versus short-stay parking - is one of the biggest challenges.

Determined to foster greater use of public transport options, AT plans to reduce and eventually phase out the provision of long-stay commuter parking facilities in favour of prioritising short-term casual parking within their existing parking sites.

AT owns and operates seven car park buildings across the region - five of these in the CBD. The Downtown car park building on strategic prime land close to Queen Street has been touted as a key component of the council's city centre master plan. One of New Zealand's major car park owner/operators - Tournament - recently made a $75 million offer to Auckland Council to buy the car park, which has a capital value of $65 million. The offer was rejected.

Mr Clark reinforces that Auckland Transport supports private sector ownership of car park buildings but cautions that future provision of them will be subject to comprehensive criteria including commercial considerations.

The draft discussion paper suggests possible parking levies being imposed on private car park building providers as a revenue-generating mechanism to help fund public transport initiatives.

"Further investigation into parking levies is required to determine if they may be applied in Auckland's city centre," Mr Clark says.

The Auckland Transport discussion paper also flags the fact that New Zealand does not currently fully tax employer-provided parking.

Meanwhile, the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan seeks to constrain additional parking supply through the continued application of maximum parking controls for new commercial developments and introducing additional conditions for developers to meet with over new parking facilities.

The big players

The two major players in the New Zealand car parking landscape became more entwined last year when Tournament Parking - the only nationwide car parking company that is 10% New Zealand-owned - sold about 60% of its operational business to Wilson Parking but retained the property assets.

Wilson Parking is owned by Hong Kong's Kwok family, is the largest car parking company in Southeast Asia and New Zealand's largest private parking operator.

Chief executive officer Steve Evans says Wilson Parking now operates more than 300 car park facilities in New Zealand across Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Dunedin and Invercargill.

"When the opportunity arose to acquire part of Tournament Parking's operating portfolio, Wilson was naturally interested to expand our operating locations," says Mr Evans, adding that Wilson Parking also owns outright two car parks in Auckland.

"Car parks are, like all commercial property investments, subject to market changes and access to specialist operators. There is both property risk and operating risk and any investor should understand these risks in establishing value."

Car parking buildings throughout New Zealand are a tightly-held resource and a high-value asset. The 300-space strata-in-freehold City Centre car park in Albert St in the Auckland CBD changed hands for $15,500,000 in June 2012 - a yield at the time of 7.49%.

In May last year, the 570-bay former Auckland Council car park building at 24 Mercury Lane - off Karangahape Road - sold for $10,000,000 to Tournament Parking and is now operated by Wilson. The land value of the site is now $6,000,000; in 1994 it was $560,000.

Smart parking

The International Parking Institute conducted a survey last year in the US and technology emerged as a key theme. Parking access control, payment automation including electronic (cashless) payment, plus real-time communication of pricing and availability to mobile/smart phones were standout issues, along with guidance systems enabling drivers to find parking faster - thus reducing carbon emissions.

New Zealand company Frogparking is a world leader in the design and development of innovative parking systems including solar-powered occupancy sensors, wireless parking guidance, wireless permits and mobile apps, supported by cloud-based management software designed to improve parking strategies and the wider parking experience.

Commercial property investment company Smales Farm installed 100 of Frogparking's solar-powered car occupancy parking sensors at its properties 2 and 4 Fred Thomas Drive in Takapuna last year and has experienced a return on investment through the increased efficiency of parking resources.

Sensors across the 330 car parks detect whether a parking space is occupied and sends reports via a wireless internet connection supported by a cloud-based parking management software system.

Smales Farm general manager Daniel Henderson says the technology supports highly efficient enforcement as well as providing detailed usage data that gives a deeper understanding of how tenants and visitors use parking resources.

"In addition, Smales Farm now has empirical data to show the council exactly how we are using our parking resources and what capacity we have to service changes or developments," Mr Henderson says.

Stack æem up

Figuring that New Zealand would eventually face the same challenges as European cities about the availability of land and space within developments for car parking, Kiwi businessman Bob Haswell, of Car Parking Solutions New Zealand, brought German car stacking technology to this country.

"Many property developers want to double/triple-up car numbers on tight templates of land or to meet tenant requirements for car spaces within their resource consent framework," says Mr Haswell.

"In a new build, the cost is around $10,000-12,000 per car space. For around the same price, we can install a simple two-car stacker system in an existing building - provided there is 3500-3800mm head room."

Mr Haswell is aware of 30 buildings throughout New Zealand that are future-proofed for parking needs where basement head heights have been raised from the standard 2500mm to 3500mm to allow for stacking at a later date.

"$10,000-15,000 invested in a car stacker space can equate to $50,000-80,000 value," Mr Haswell claims.

Free: The Future of Parking

New Zealand has a few areas of technology excellence, but one of the least well recognised would have to be in the development of technology that some believe will revolutionise parking.

One of these developers - Meter Eye, renamed Car Parking Technologies and renamed yet again as Smart Parking Technology - was sold offshore a couple of years ago and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Another, Palmerston North's Frog Parking, remains owned by its founders and, while a direct competitor with Smart Parking Technologies, is taking a very different route to market and to generating revenue.

LEAPS AND BOUNDS: Palmerston North city councillor Duncan McCann, left, and Frog Parking CEO Don Sandbrook.

Where Smart Parking actually went out and bought some UK car parks, in what has proved to be a troublesome and distracting deal, Frog Parking is focusing on delivering the technology, developing the smarts and partnering to get to market.

And, founder Don Sandbrook said, the company is also working to fund more parking through advertising. If Frog Parking pulls that off, consumers could find themselves enjoying an increasingly elusive treat: free parking.

Sandbrook said there is a parking revolution under way where parking is used as a reward rather than sold for for a fee.

A self-described "serial entrepreneur" Sandbook founded Frog Parking four years ago after successfully designing and selling a satellite tracking system called Spidertracks for non-pressurised planes.

Before that he developed a seed metering system, Seed Spider, now sold all around the world. Sandbrook estimates two-thirds of the salad mix grown in North America alone goes through one of his seed metering systems.

After those successes, Sandbrook and a few of his engineers asked "what's next?". It was the sight of a parking warden chalking tires in the rain spurred the team to tackle parking technology.

After developing a sensor to gauge whether a carpark was occupied or empty, Frog Parking approached the Palmerston North City Council to roll out its technology as a public private partnership.

Winning that city-wide deal, involving the deployment of 2000 sensors, has proved a boon for the young company in providing it with a case study to back its sales and marketing efforts.

As development has continued the focus has gone off the sensors and on to the software and other smarts in the system.

Frog has developed a ticketing enforcement system using Android handsets and a Bluetooth printer, for instance. It also allows its online parking management software to integrate with the back end systems of customers and partners to create an end-to-end system that can be used by councils or private parking operators to manage their installations.

But perhaps the most advanced part of the project is the advertising management system - the one that could deliver free parking to consumers. Sandbrook said Frog Parking is "leading the pack" with the concept.

"There's enough value in advertising to pay for parking," he said.

A consumer would drive into a mall, for instance, and receive a personalised message or offer on their phone. The message would be personalised through "scraping" the shoppers social media likes and preferences, Sandbrook said.

Sandbrook left school at 15 and became a fitter and turner. He has held many jobs including working with the Post Office where he learned the basics of electronics, but he has no software training. Nor is is a trained salesman or marketer, though he says he has great confidence and likes engaging with people.

One of his big personal challenges is restraining himself from going off and developing new products.

His engineering team delivers the smarts. Frog Parking designs its own printed circuit boards and writes the software for the management system.

Meanwhile, daughter Shareena, who has an MBA from Waikato University, is his "right hand man" in marketing and sales.

Another providing great counsel, Sandbrook said, is independent director Franceska Banga, who is also the chief executive of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.

Sandbrook said he is also constantly looking for advice from outside and from an informal advisory board he has established.

Frog Parking has established distribution in the US and is making "good progress, he said.

Sandbrook owns the company and has funded it himself apart from some much appreciated grants from the Ministry of Science and Innovation. But to secure the big international deals Frog Parking is now chasing - one is worth around $12 million - will require some form of capital raising, he said.

Such tenders can also be "horrendous", he said, and buying cycles long.

But there is some seriously large competition out there. Sandbook cites Streetline and Dutch company Nedap as strong global players.

But for Sandbrook distance has never been a disadvantage.

"New Zealand is a great place to develop products," he said. People like dealing with New Zealand companies.

"I love how easy it is to develop products in New Zealand and take them to the world."

- ⌐ Fairfax NZ News

Parking Sensor Trial Launched on Busy AKL Road

A cutting-edge form of technology designed to help drivers find parking spots is being trialled in a street running off one of New Zealand's busiest roads.

Thirty-six solar-powered parking sensors developed by Palmerston North company Frogparking have been installed in parking spaces off Bellwood Avenue, off Dominion Road.

The sensors detect when a car has parked over top of them and when they leave, sending this information wirelessly to a digital sign on the main thoroughfare.

Drivers can tell simply by looking at the sign on Dominion how many spaces are available and whether they should bother turning into Bellwood Avenue.

Don Sandbrook, founder of Frogparking, said the trial agreement with Auckland Transport was "a major milestone" for the company.

He was keen to see how the technology helped Auckland drivers.

Don Sandbrook, founder of Frogparking, has developed car parking sensors which detect when a car arrives and leaves, sending this information to drivers looking for a space.

"This technology will help direct motorists travelling along a busy main road to parking spaces near a key retail area," Sandbrook said.

"This will also reduce traffic congestion and time spent circling the block looking for a place to park."

Auckland Transport said it was installing the parking sensors as part of the Dominion Rd upgrade.

"The sensors and real-time information signage are currently being trialled on Bellwood Avenue to ensure the electronic systems operate satisfactorily," a spokesperson said.

"Upon completion of the trial, further sensors may be installed, however this decision will be made following consultation with our designers."

Sandbrook said the idea for Frogparking came to him about four years ago when he saw a parking warden traipsing around in the rain marking car tyres with chalk.

"I thought 'the poor bugger - what a job!'" I figured I could put a device under the car to notify the warden of when the car arrives and leaves."

Sandbrook's technology has since been rolled out all over Palmerston North, with 2300 sensors now making life easier for wardens.

He has also developed a smartphone app which enables users to find available parking spaces and pay for their parking.

The technology is being used by Wilson Parking in Auckland's Princes Wharf, by a hospital in South Australia, by Christchurch Airport, and by businesses in the US and Germany.

Sandbrook said the technology had now moved on to serve a much greater purpose than just parking enforcement.

"Anyone who manages car parking spots is a potential customer of ours. There is a strong appetite to better understand and manage parking use."

He said the technology could reduce traffic congestion, help authorities understand how to price parking areas, and help people avoid driving around in circles trying to find a parking space.

The company helped its customers monitor and analyse detailed parking data and implement parking strategies, he said.

Commercial property investment company Smales Farm is installing about 100 of the sensors at its two Takapuna properties.

Smales Farm would use the cloud-based software system to better understand how tenants and visitors use its parking spaces, said general manager Daniel Henderson.

"We're interested in new technologies that can help us understand usage and make the right type of parking available to people," he said.

- NZ Herald - Ben Chapman-Smith