San Francisco becomes the world’s largest NFC parking lot [Updated]
Posted by Seth PlanckDecember 16th, 2011 at 12:18 PM Filed Under Latest News
San Francisco becomes the world’s largest NFC parking lot
Ugh, parking in a city, fumbling for change and then realizing you are running out of time on the meter and running back to the car to add more coins is such a drag. It is, in fact, one of the problems to which NFC has a solution and that’s not new news. There have been multiple projects around the globe that have used NFC to tackle this annoyance, but as yet, none have been as ambitious as the PayByPhone project in San Francisco that has announced it will be extending its trial with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), to encompass all 30,800 parking spaces.
We must admit – we really like the system that payByPhone has deployed in San Francisco. The firm is claiming that the project is one of the world’s largest NFC payment schemes for parking, and we have no reason to doubt this claim.
How the PayByPhone NFC parking solution works in San Francisco
The system basically works by adding unique stickers to every parking meter in the city. The PayByPhone system, already deployed in the Castro district, will be extended citywide as installation of the stickers is completed. Users simply tap their NFC smartphones against the NFC sticker, which automatically launches the parking meter app. The NFC mobile payment system recognizes the user and knows which parking space is being used based on a unique identifier passed by the NFC sticker.
At that point, the user simply enters the amount of time they want to purchase and off they go. The system will then send a warning when the meter is nearly run dry of funds and the users wherever they are can top up the meter directly from their NFC smartphones, again using the app. Simple huh? After the user leaves the parking space and the amount runs out, the system simply charges their credit card for the amount owed and the process is done.
“This is one of the largest deployments of NFC technology in the United States and shows the practical benefits this technology can deliver in terms of ease of use and convenience. There has been a lot of hype around NFC recently and PayByPhone is pleased to now put the technology in the field for real world applications,” said Neil Podmore, VP of Business Development at PayByPhone. “We expect this to help kick start the more widespread adoption and understanding of the practical benefits of NFC in 2012.”
It makes sense that the firm is receiving a lot of interest for this system that will eventually negate the handling of coins. It also adds consumer ease of use features that takes the annoyance out of paying for parking. We don’t know which platforms are already supported under the NFC parking scheme from PayByPhone, but we assume the firm has most covered to get a contract as large as San Francisco.
As ever, San Francisco is ahead of the curve as it deploys the British firm’s solution, although Canadian and British cities are also deploying their own systems also. It is going to be interesting to see how adoption of systems like PayByPhone’s NFC parking payment system proliferates around the globe in 2012.
[UPDATE] We just heard that UPM RFID are providing the NFC tags for this project through one of its partners Cellotape (No not Sellotape for the Brits). We learned that this will be the largest deployment of NFC tags in the United States so far and may very well be the first deployment of the NTAG globally, but we’ll reserve the right to confirm that at a later date. We are starting to think its UPM RFID day today! We’d like to thanks to UPM RFID for those facts, now if they’d just tell us when we can get our hands on those NTAG NFC tags.