By Isaiah Mouw, CAPP

This year, I worked to make our house a smart home. Our Roomba vacuums our floors. Our Nest controls the temperature. Our speakers and TV are powered by Google Cast. Our light bulbs were swapped out to smart Philips Hue bulbs. Wemo turns lamps on and off and Tile finds our wallets and keys when they go missing. All of this is controlled by our Google Home device.

I remember showing this off to my older brother, Jeremy, and the exchange went something like this:

Isaiah: Hey Google, turn off the lights.

Google: I’m sorry. I don’t understand.

Jeremy chuckles to himself.

Isaiah: Hey Google, turn off the lights.

Google: I’m sorry. I can’t reach your lights right now.

Jeremy: I have an idea.

Jeremy then used the old-fashioned light switch to turn the lights off, much to everyone’s amusement and laughter, including my own.

That’s when a light bulb, pun intended, went off in my brain. Our smart lighting system does more than turn off or on based on a voice command and save our house energy and money. But my brother had a great point. How many times in the parking industry have we created, developed, adopted, purchased, or implemented smart solutions that may actually end up needing more time than doing things manually?

Technology isn’t always the answer and sometimes  advancements don’t do much advancing. I read several articles recently about how autonomous vehicles may initially make traffic and congestion worse, not better. The key is ensuring you always do your due diligence before adopting certain technologies, and not being afraid to pivot if a certain technology isn’t working out. Parking has changed rapidly this decade and even significantly in 2018 alone. Most of this has been for the better. But remember that sometimes manually flipping a switch may be the most efficient method out there.

Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, is vice president, municipal solutions with Citizens Lanier Holdings.