It's a fear many people have when they park in a public space. They pay the meter and head out for whatever it is they drove to do, and when they come back they have a ticket on their vehicle because the meter timer ran out.
This can happen to anyone, since it's easy to lose track of time. However, technological advancements have helped this process. Organizations have begun using SMS services to remind people of impending time expirations. Text alerts can inform people when the meter is running out of time, alleviating the risk of the recipient getting a ticket.
At Texas A&M University, college students are benefiting from these alerts. The school has implemented a service called extend-by-phone, which allows students to extend the amount of time they have paid to park on campus parking lots via their phones.
Suppose a commuter drives to school for a 90-minute class and pays for two hours as he or she parks their car. The lecture may go long, or they may decide they want to meet up with classmates to study once class is over. Instead of going back to the car, the student will simply receive a text message when time is running out and, by using bank information associated with the account, can pay for more time right on the spot.
This is an important feature because oftentimes, the individual knows the meter is running out, but they aren't in a position to pay once it does.
June Broughton, marketing and communications manager for Texas A&M Transportation Services, told the school newspaper The Battalion that her department is always searching for innovative solutions to improve the campus experience.
"Extend-by-Phone is a fairly new industry service," Broughton said. "We are constantly researching new and better ways to provide service for our customers and visitors."
Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools organizations need to launch similar text message services.