Join Date: May 2001
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
Change for parking may be a phone call away
By Garry Barker, Technology Editor
Wednesday March 6 2002
Short of change to feed a parking meter? No worries. Technology is coming to the rescue. Soon you will be able to ring up a parking meter and pay through your phone bill.
Telstra's group managing director for mobile services, David Thodey, says the corporation is about to launch trials of a wireless transaction system that will allow parking meter payments through mobile phone bills. The trial will be announced publicly in Sydney today at the annual conference of the Australian Telecommunications User Group.
Electronic parking meters already installed on many streets will be equipped with mobile phone units. Users will simply dial the number of the parking meter, punch in the amount they want to pay, and have the charge billed to their Telstra account.
Mr Thodey did not identify the council taking part in the trial, but industry speculation says it is the City of Melbourne. A spokeswoman for the Melbourne City Council was unable to confirm last night that the trials would be conducted using the green electronic meters now common in the city's central business district.
Mr Thodey said the service would "eliminate the hassle of finding the right change for a parking meter". It would also help motorists avoid parking fines by sending a short message service reminder to their mobile phones 10 minutes before their meter expired.
The parking meter trial is the second Telstra has conducted into using mobile phones as small-change terminals. Last year tests were held with Coca-Cola using drink vending machines fitted with mobile phones.
Telstra says that trial was successful and has been concluded. The wider market was now being assessed, a spokesman said.
But that's not the only new use for mobile phones. New short message service technology, to go on trial this season with Channel Ten, will allow football fans to answer questions posed by match callers and submit their opinions of play and players.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.