The partnership began last November when Streetline won the IBM SmartCamp World Finals and the title of IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year. Since then, the company -- about which we've written before -- has been working with IBM's venture capital arm to find ways for the two organizations to work together in addressing the problem of city parking.
The fruits of that partnership are now coming to market in something called the Smarter Parking Starter Kit, which is described as a "pre-integrated solution" that cities can implement right out of the box to improve parking congestion. According to a press release, the Kit will combine Streetline's parking sensor system and "Parker" smartphone app with data management and analytic tools from IBM. The resulting off-the-shelf service will:
- Provide real-time information to allow citizens and visitors to find parking more easily;
- Gather, analyze and act on information about parking resources and services to optimize revenue;
- Analyze real-time information to better model and anticipate problems to reduce congestion, more appropriately price parking based on demand and provide enhanced services to citizens;
- Integrate real-time information from on-street and off-street parking to enable collaborative decision making for rapid response to events, changes in parking availability and demand.
This is exactly the sort of partnership that Streetline needs to be competitive. On its own, Streetline offers a strong product, but without a bigger partner to boost quality and simplify deployment, most city governments aren't likely to sign up for the company's services. IBM brings tools that make Streetline better and easier to use -- and having Big Blue's stamp of approval doesn't hurt, either.
It's also the sort of partnership that eco-minded folks can appreciate: a 2007 study carried out by Professor Donald Shoup at UCLA discovered that folks within a very limited, 15-block area of Los Angeles drove over 950,000 miles looking for parking in a single year. That translated to 47,000 gallons of wasted gas and 730 tons of CO2. So if all goes according to plan, commuters will have fewer headaches down the road, and they'll breathe easier, too.