Mobile Future

The “wallet in the mobile phone” trick

In the old "Get Smart" TV series, Maxwell Smart occasionally used a "wallet phone" when his shoe phone wasn’t working.  Forty years later, life is once again imitating art.

According to ABC News, residents of Decatur, Georgia have the equivalent of a wallet in their mobile phones.  The Atlanta suburb launched one of the nation’s first pay-by-phone parking systems this year as part of a drive to improve efficiency and offer a new payment choice to residents. 

According to ABC, drivers call a local number to set up an account with a credit card.  After that, they can just call the number each time they park, enter a code and draw down their balance.

Each meter is outfitted with a radio that transmits data and sensors for detecting a car parked in its space.  If the time runs out or the driver doesn’t pay, the meter sends a wireless alert to parking enforcement, which dispatches someone to write a ticket.  The cost: about $200 per meter.

So no more fishing for quarters in your glove compartment or sprinting into a nearby drugstore to buy a pack of gum in order to get change.  Parking in Decatur: E123