June 12, 2019 13:10 CET

Smart Cities Need Smart IoT Solutions

Smart cities and IoT solutions: How Göteborgs Parkering and Tele2 IoT are taking Sweden's second largest city into the future.

Parking spaces are at a premium in a growing city and as Gothenburg, on Sweden’s west coast, enjoys explosive expansion, Göteborgs Parkering has been developing a new way of addressing the needs of both commuters and city dwellers.  But instead of increasing the number of parking spaces, the municipal parking authority is instead taking the opportunity to increase the city’s sustainable footprint by challenging ingrained behaviours.

When cities grow traffic congestion usually grows as well. Sweden’s second largest city Gothenburg, which is seeing more people moving in, more buildings going up, and more companies making the city their own, is no exception.  The result is increased road congestion as more and more people try to get from one place to another. Göteborgs Parkering is using IoT to address these new challenges and in the process is giving both city dwellers and commuters new options.

We have a lot of resources at our disposal, such as street parking and parking garages. But instead of creating more spaces for cars to park we’re instead developing a new approach: we’re using the existing parking spaces more efficiently through data and analyzing behavior, as well as connecting different ways of traveling.

Maria Stenström CEO Göteborgs Parkering

While Göteborgs Parkering has always had plenty of data, going digital and using connectivity provided by Tele2 IoT has revealed more ‘true behaviour’ through better quality data. Having this higher quality data has allowed the company to optimize parking in a much more detailed and predictive way. The days of putting money in the parking meter, which meant you usually paid for more than you used, are gone.

When a city is growing you don’t need to create new spaces, you need to optimize the ones you already have. For example, people rent parking spaces in the city for, just say, a month.  The problem is that when you rent a spot for a month you don’t use it all the time. Using data generated by connectivity allows us to study and learn more about customer behavior and as a result we can optimize the spaces we have and also start challenging those behaviors.

Dennis Ahlborg CIO Göteborgs Parkering

Challenging behaviours means Göteborgs Parkering isn’t just optimizing parking spaces in the city; by utilizing spaces further away from the city center and combining them with options like public transport and city bikes, the company is creating a new way of travelling.

“Our parking app is connected to public transport, so people can sync their travel,” explains Maria Stenström. “We’ve also integrated payments, so people can pay for everything – parking, public transport, and bikes – all in one place, and they also can see the total cost of their trip. Combining everything in the app makes it’s extremely easy for commuters to plan their trips and it also makes the city more sustainable by reducing congestion.

It’s city planning for the future by making our cities more liveable.

Changing behavior, though, doesn’t come without challenges.

“It’s difficult to get people to change,” says Dennis Ahlborg. “If you’re used to taking your car into the city center it can be difficult to break the habit. But as people realize that there are easier and less stressful ways to commute they will start looking for other ways to travel.  With our app you can see which parking spaces on the edge of the city are available, as well as when the next bus leaves or where to hop on a bike, and how long it will take to reach your destination.”

Göteborgs Parkering started their digital platform in 2014 and is working on cooperations with other companies to present complete solutions.

“Everyone is one a different schedule and possibly working with different solutions,” explains Dennis Ahlborg. “So, we have to pull the different players together. A good example of this would be Västtrafik, the public transport company for the Gothenburg region.  We demonstrated to them that this is the optimal solution and were able to combine the different elements.”

Tele2 IoT brought connectivity to Göteborgs Parkering’s solution in 2015 after a public tenure. Maria Stenström says Tele2 IoT was chosen because it has the communication and connectivity they needed.

Tele2 IoT also has the techniques required to measure what we want to measure.  Tele2 IoT is also providing connectivity for Västtrafik in both rural and urban areas, so it made sense on a larger scale.  It’s the perfect fit with the wide-ranging scheme we are developing.

Göteborg Parkering’s payment systems are connected by Tele2 IoT and roaming is crucial when combining the many aspects of the of the solution, because having the best available network at all times is key for this revolutionary approach to work.

“Tele2 IoT’s knowledge and experience has been great at helping us implement our solution,” says Dennis Ahlborg. “We’re using Tele2 IoT’s communication platform to tell us if parking spaces are available or not. We’re also testing 2DISCOVER and think it may be a good fit for measuring and analyzing data that is coming in, allowing us to optimize parking spaces and understand usage patterns.

“In the future, IoT will help us enormously with predictions, which will then allow us to offer suggestions to our customers.  For example, there may be a big event in the city or perhaps an unexpected traffic jam. We can use IoT and connectivity to monitor these types of situations and then let our customers know that not only should they leave the car at home or on the outskirts of the city but also what other travel options are available and how much it will cost. With our digital solution we are creating a seamless travel experience for our customers.”

Göteborgs Parkering is creating the urban travel of the future and Tele2 IoT connectivity is at the heart of their IoT journey.