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Peer-to-Peer: Not Just A Catchy Name for A New Technology

Updated: Mar 19

Studies of the connection between humans and technology reveal that the latter is increasingly felt as an extra limb. While technology is not fundamentally different from any other extension of the human body and will, it does have its own effects. This effect serves to amplify and even alter the incentives and motivations of people using technology. Motivations behind our use of technology have political ramifications that usually come to identify the technology in use as the tool of specific ends. Changing our motivations, then, changes the technology itself, thereby extending our human capabilities to solve our problems.

If the reasons for using a technology are what ultimately determine what we can do with it and how it affects us, then developments in artificial intelligence and the internet of things will show whether the incentives that materialize AI and IoT as tools care about humanity and the environment as a whole, or merely represent the wishes of the hand that handles the tool. In our previous post, we discussed how the incentives of industrial behemoths to increase profit rather than create equitable and environmentally friendly solutions are reflected in the ways in which big auto brands use AI and IoT to solve parking problems. Industry leaders have chosen to ignore scientific insights and instead plan for the construction of new parking lots with design specifics to accommodate the cars equipped with the new technologies, despite the fact that doing so would optimize the use of existing parking spaces and streamline all parking processes.

LetsParky’s Distributed Parking Management

LetsParky's mission is to help the planet by encouraging the adoption of cutting-edge technologies that reduce waste and facilitate the sharing and reuse of resources. What motivates us is the use IoT in the most beneficial way for the implementation of research-driven solutions to parking problems. This requires technologies for a better utilization of existing parking infrastructure and less demand for additional parking structures. Our novel solution is to use IoT in conjunction with P2P to create a marketplace for parking spots where drivers can trade spots with one another.

P2P marketplaces have existed since the internet's early days in the 1990s. But, if their age makes you believe they appeared out of nowhere, you'd be mistaken. Peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange, also known as bartering and trading, has its roots in the earliest forms of bartering and trading in small communities. The online shopping boom of the 1990s did nothing more than usher in a new era of peer-to-peer commerce. Online platforms like Craigslist and eBay made it possible for peers to buy and sell among each other, making peer groups the customer base of these companies and users of Customer-to-Customer (C2C) marketplaces.

C2C marketplaces have the potential to increase societal sustainability and openness, as well as stimulate economic growth by giving consumers more choice in their purchasing decisions. The monetization of idle parking spaces, which provides parking spot owners with an additional revenue stream, is only one of many ways that we reap benefits from the sharing economy. The transaction costs in P2P marketplaces are typically cheaper than those in traditional markets, benefiting both consumers and sellers. Moreover, in platforms like LetsParky, there are no middlemen to govern the prices in marketplaces, which means that sellers are not required to pay commission fees out of their income, and buyers are always able to find better deals in real time. Those who live in cities where parking is challenging to locate and consistently expensive will benefit enormously from having access to a greater variety of options. In the same vein, owners of parking spaces have access to new clients and markets, which enables them to either increase their income or become more selective about the people they serve.

If the motivations behind the use of a technology determine the effect we bring forth with its use, we should aim for developing economically viable and equitable ways that can endure the effects of congestion, expansion of urban living areas, and commute length, without increasing commercial parking space supply or modifying the existing ones. Most individual parking spots, especially in residential areas, remain unoccupied for the majority of the day. There are already 300 million parking spots in Western Europe, and two billion in the US, which is more than enough for us to ‘parky’. LetsParky makes it possible for more people to benefit from these parking spots by allowing them to be rented out. This makes the infrastructure we already have work better, reduces the need for new parking structures, and leads to better urban planning in our cities.

Just as we share vacation homes and car rides, the best solution to parking problems is to share the existing spaces instead of building new ones. As part of a scientific initiative, LetsParky offers the technological tools with which we can collectively create a sharing economy and enable the collaborative use and management of (parking spot) resources. We invite you to visit LetsParky to take part in the solution. Let's Parky together!

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