“Never underestimate the importance of the platform behind the IoT-product.”

By linking a smart platform to previously installed software and hardware, extra intelligence can be added to your existing infrastructure. By subsequently applying big data processes and machine learning, huge opportunities arise. But what will really make or break your project, is the platform behind the IoT product. Jorik Rombouts, Founder and CEO of Rombit, explains.

“A perfect example of how the power of the platform and its generated data can be underestimated with regard to the IoT product, is the smart no-parking signs project that we implemented for the city of Antwerp. They are an improvement for the city’s inhabitants, its visitors, the city itself and the city services”, Rombouts says. 

More efficient applications for the parking signs

“Inhabitants can use a website to apply for signs to be placed. The program automatically calculates the cost and the applicant can pay online. Furthermore, this is linked to the city’s ERP system. Thanks to this link, citizens will also receive an immediate notification if the signs cannot be placed on the requested date, for example due to certain events.”

Rombouts: “If the system sees no immediate objections, the application goes to the management dashboard. From there, it is dispatched to the teams that place the signs. Thanks to machine learning, this dispatch operation will proceed automatically in the near future.”

Link to the application yields an enormous ROI

“The no-parking signs carry a QR code that the team members can scan with an app. This links each sign to its application. Afterwards, all citizens can scan the QR code with their QR readers and verify whether the sign is legal and placed correctly. This prevents the illegal use of such signs, which was a huge problem for the city of Antwerp in the past”, says Rombouts. 

“The management of these signs is now much more efficient, so the city only needs two instead of seven employees to do the job. The city of Antwerp has achieved an income raise from 350,000 to 2.5 million euros by using these signs and more parking spaces remain available. An enormous return on investment!”

Even more profit thanks to digital no-parking sign

Rombouts: “The next step is a digital sign that works via NFC (Near Field Communication), requests data wirelessly and shows on a small e-ink screen when parking is not allowed in a certain spot. This will create a gigantic decrease of the error margin, because manual interaction and chalk writing will no longer be required.”

“On top of that, a smaller number of signs will be required for the city services, as it will be useless to steal them, due to the integrated tracking system and motion sensors. If a sign gets stolen, the relevant information can be forwarded to the police, so they can track down the sign and issue a fine. This will compensate for the extra cost of digital signs.”

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