Palmerston North-based company Frogparking has recently deployed technology designed and developed by the firm in a 33-space car park in the city's Church Street.
According to the company, the technology could prove to be the end of not only parking meters, but also parking fees.
The car park has solar-powered parking sensors that link to a cloud-based parking management system, which detects the number of vacant spaces at any point in time.
Drivers pay for parking through a mobile Frogparking payment app rather than a parking meter with a variable tariff. This means cheaper parking when there are more spaces available and more expensive fees when space is at a premium.
"I consider this a game-changer for the New Zealand parking industry. It is also a win-win for motorists and cities with the potential to revive retail centres and encourage better use of city parking for the benefit of all," said Frogparking director Don Sandbrook.
The technology also allows retailers to send customised offers via their smartphones as they pay for the parking. The customer receives a unique code, which they can then use to take up the offer and get their parking fee refunded, or a discount on a product or service by the participating retailer at their outlet. The product discount can also be shared via social media.
Regular or premium parkers can also have a GPS-enabled tag fitted to their windscreen. This will allow them to enter and exit freely with the parking fee being automatically billed to their credit card.
"For retailers, there are added benefits with the location-based engine combining users' parking-behaviour with personalised offers and social media, over time allowing them to tailor promotions to the preferences of individual shoppers and their social networks.
"For the shopper, they're just getting great offers, which they can share with their social networks, and free parking," added Sandbrook.