India’s smart cities are taking shape with every passing day. One of the major challenges in urban centres is parking, for which Taiwan-based smart solutions provider Nietzsche Enterprise Co. has some answers. Johnson Chang, executive vice president, Nietzsche Enterprise Co., explains to Paromik Chakraborty of the EFY Group, how the firm’s Taiwan Excellence Award (2019) winning solution can address India’s parking woes.
EB: How does your smart parking solution work and what advantages can it provide to parking space owners?
Our smart parking node is basically an occupancy sensor device. Whenever there is a car in the parking space, the sensor will report the occupancy to the back-end. The system has two main sensors – earth magnets and micro-radars, which enable it to achieve high accuracy in occupancy detection. It has two wireless modules inside – one for NB-IoT and one for LoRa, allowing it to communicate across any of the two connectivity options. Right now, India is mainly using its cell phone networks for connectivity, while in some places, it uses low power WAN services. Hence, we have integrated both the options to allow Indian customers to use whichever feature they prefer, seamlessly. The devices are powered by extra-capacity 38A lithium-ion batteries, which can run for three years.
If a smart city installs these sensors across all its designated parking spaces, citizens can check the parking availability status at their destination beforehand through real-time information gathering, and navigate to the available parking area directly. This saves a lot of time in trying to find vacant parking spots, especially during rush hours. This also opens up business opportunities for parking space owners as they can monetise such real-time information through some form of service and hence increase their turnover.
EB) What is the biggest benefit of such a solution?
The main benefit of our offering is its availability in the form of a compact end-to-end solution, including the hardware, software and mobile application. It can be deployed easily and be put to action quickly. The system provides up to 99 per cent accurate location details in real-time. A third party verification from SGS (a Swiss company providing inspection, testing and certification services) depicted the accuracy to be 100 per cent. It leads to better parking management, no hassles for citizens while searching for parking space, and overall, substantially reduced traffic challenges caused by parking. So far, the feedback from the deployments has been positive.
EB) How can customers purchase your service?
We have a range of purchase models. The hardware is offered on an outright purchase model. The primary offering of the management platform and customised mobile application is through a leasing model. To give you an idea, if a customer has 1000 plug-in spaces, we can offer a quotation and leasing plan for them, evaluating the scale of hardware and software installations necessary. We then sign a contract for at least three years.
EB: Give us some examples of the deployments so far?
In Taipei city alone, we have deployed 2,200 nodes. In I-Lan city, it is around 980 nodes. Other countries with our deployments are India, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Our main customers include telecom companies, like Jio in India, Singtel in Singapore, Telkomsel in Indonesia, among others. During the deployment, we install the hardware and software and implant a SIM card inside the sensor so that it can talk to the base station directly using the mobile networks. The network operators establish connectivity for data to flow.
EB: Are you planning to increase the number of business collaborations in India?
Yes, we aim to explore opportunities with more partners in India. We are looking to expand our partnerships across other smart city solutions too. With our smart parking platform, we want to reach out to the property owners who have parking spaces, so that we can leverage their space to demonstrate our solution. At the moment, we are also analysing the scope of opening an office in India. The idea is still under consideration, and we are yet to take a final call.
EB: In which region are you considering opening your office in India, and by when do you see this happening?
We may see some developments in the second quarter of 2019. The main locations under consideration are Mumbai and Bengaluru. The idea is to provide effective local support, which is very important for a business to grow.
EB: If you set up an office in India, what kind of operations will be carried out there?
In India, we plan to carry out manufacturing, customer support as well as sales and marketing operations.
EB: Where are you manufacturing your chips and product components?
Except the battery, all our components, modules and ICs are manufactured in Taiwan. We are using a MediaTek chip in our device.
EB: Are you looking to appoint distributors/channel partners too? Any specific expertise that you expect them to have?
Yes, we are looking for distributors who can conduct installations and offer technology support locally. Distributors with multiple technical support teams throughout India would be an added advantage.
EB: How do you plan to promote the sales of your products here?
We are planning to work with mobile operators, such as Jio and Tata in India, to promote the solution and later work with parking space owners. These are our main target audiences.
EB: Once your business is set up, what is your roadmap for India, going forward?
Since we mainly focus on low power WAN technologies such as NB-IoT, Cat-M1, LoRaWAN, etc, we will collaborate with more mobile operators in the smart parking application area, in smart city projects, in order to expand our market share across India.