POM, Incorporated unveiled its newest solar smart parking meter, Parktel 2.0, during a June 1 unveiling party held in conjunction with the International Parking Institute's Annual Conference & Expo at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, TX.
Good looks and easy installation
The new meter features a sleek, retro design reminiscent of POM's signature "Model N." Parktel 2.0 simply "drops in" to most POM upper housings and includes a new dome to accommodate the meter's massive 4.4 inch display. Upgrading an existing meter takes less than a minute. The complete Parktel 2.0 unit also works with any conventional parking meter vault, so customers without POM housings can simply bolt the entire unit to their existing vaults.
"When designing Parktel 2.0, we tried to improve on every aspect of the modern parking meter, taking into account the perspectives of our customers and our product's end users," said POM President Seth Ward.
Parktel 2.0 features a 4.4 inch state-of-the-art reflective LCD display with industry leading 320x240 resolution. "Reflective technology means our display looks even better under bright sunlight," said Ward. The new screen is also a "memory LCD," which allows it to display a static image without drawing any battery current. The display's vertical positioning provides optimal visibility (even from a vehicle or wheelchair) and prevents buildup of snow and condensation.
Until now, all connected parking meters have relied exclusively on individual, power hungry cellular modems. POM's patent pending "dual mode connectivity interface" changes the status quo by having all meters in an installation work as a team rather than as individuals.
Each meter includes a low power, ISM radio to create a "mesh network," enabling all meters in an installation to communicate with one another. Although each meter retains a cellular modem, only one meter's modem is powered on at any given time. The other meters communicate with this "gateway meter" using their low power ISM radios. The gateway meter relays the information to POM's web based back office and/or credit card gateway provider. Each day, another meter takes a turn at being the gateway meter so as to balance the load on the entire system. "This is a game changer," said Ward. "The dual mode interface will drastically improve battery life and put an end to spotty connectivity in areas where cellular reception is less than ideal." "The more meters an installation has, the better the battery life will be in each meter," Ward added.
In addition to the new connectivity interface, each Parktel 2.0 meter features a large, easily replaceable battery pack with solar recharging and an all-new advanced power management chip.
Parktel 2.0 can be configured to accept coins, credit cards, chip cards and contactless (NFC) payment sources. The meter also works seamlessly with third party "pay-by-cell" applications and parking sensors. POM's self-training coin chute electronically detects and prevents "coin fishing." All components plug-in and are easily replaceable.
Improving on POM's existing, patented 2x and 4x meters, Parktel 2.0 allows customers to use a single meter to monitor as many spaces as desired or necessary. "Parktel 2.0 can provide all the features of a conventional multi-space meter at a fraction of the cost," said Ward. The meter can also be configured to work in a traditional, single space mode.
Cloud based back office and enforcement software
POM customers can access any electronic POM meter (including, of course, Parktel 2.0 meters) via POM's cloud based back office suite, MeterManager.net. Using MeterManager, customers can configure dynamic rate changes, custom displays, individual LED and button functions, specify alerts, check meter status, and run revenue reports. POM's PCI-DSS certified gateway provider, CreditCall, will continue to provide detailed reporting of credit card transactions from its secure dashboard, WebMIS.
Parktel 2.0 meters feature four "ultra-bright" LEDs that are visible from either side of the meter. Each LED changes color to allow for enforcement of up to four parking spaces. More than four spaces can be enforced using POM's web based enforcement software on any tablet computing device. The LED lights can also be programmed to indicate transaction status, errors, or special events (i.e., red, white, and blue for Independence Day).
POM's long history, reputation for customer service, and good relationship with multiple vendors and service providers are why POM has been providing cutting edge technology since 1935.