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Parking in Ennis can be a challenge at the best of times. Photograph by John Kelly

13th Century Ennis to get 21st century parking solution

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THE medieval town of Ennis is known for its narrow streets and labyrinth of historic laneways and bow-ways.

It’s also famous for being a tricky town to navigate, where motorists are challenged when it comes to finding available parking, especially visitors unfamiliar with the town layout.

However, parking is about to become a whole lot simpler in Ennis with the deployment of a new Smart Parking initiative by Cisco and Dublin-based software development company Danalto.

The proposed solution will see Cisco’s software partner Danalto deploy Bosch parking sensors, Cisco ISR routers, Cisco LoRaWAN gateways, and Cisco Cameras throughout parking areas in Ennis town centre, including surface car parks controlled by Clare County Council private car parks, and some on street parking bays.

The use of parking cameras and sensors in conjunction with a cloud analytics platform to analyse parking space availability, will allow the public to access real-time information on parking availability. The project will also facilitate the introduction of dynamic digital signage to communicate parking availability to motorists as they approach Ennis.

The Smart Parking initiative is to be carried out under the Cisco, ‘Country Digital Acceleration’ (CDA) programme, which funds digitisation initiatives across the world to support countries, cities, and towns to realise the value of digitisation faster.

The Ennis Smart Parking Project came about through a collaboration between the Western Development Commission and Chambers Ireland working with Cisco to identify a ‘Smart’ project capable of improving the quality of life of locals and the experience of visitors to a town or city.

Ennis Chamber identified a series of parking challenges that could be positively addressed through the deployment of technology-based solutions. Cisco agreed to support Ennis SMART parking initiatives under its CDA programme.

The objective of the Ennis Smart Parking project is to provide intelligence to enable better management of traffic in Ennis town centre.

Improved traffic management across the town could reduce CO2 emissions from cars, increase shopper footfall, and deliver improved visitor sentiment.

The initiative has support from Ennis Chamber and its membership, in partnership with Clare County Council (Ennis Municipal District).

Shane Heraty, Managing Director, Ireland and Scotland, Cisco said, “The smart parking and connected community solution to be implemented in Ennis will provide valuable data and insight into the broader impact of addressing an issue such as parking. The historic town will be able to not only quantify improvements in traffic flow, but areas such as air quality and footfall for local businesses.”

Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission said, “The WDC is delighted to be part of this collaboration, part of a wider initiative to establish the West of Ireland as a Region of Innovation that connects, builds and scales the existing competencies we have.

“The WDC believes that Atlantic Economic Corridor can act as a living lab where private companies can work with public bodies, academia and community groups to develop and test innovative solutions to societal problems. These solutions can be scaled not only across the region but across the country.

“Projects like Smart Ennis are helping to develop a global competitive advantage in the areas of smart sensors, data and sustainability and make our towns a more attractive place to live and work.”

Margaret O’Brien, CEO Ennis Chamber said, “The work to be undertaken by Cisco and Danalto will result in clear, tangible benefits for the commercial heart of Ennis. Improved traffic management, dynamic digital signage and real-time communication around parking availability will improve footfall and, also the user experience, which in turn will make Ennis an even more attractive destination for shoppers and visitors.”

Mayor of Ennis Councillor Ann Norton said, “Parking can be a challenge in Ennis and a solution devised by global IT leader Cisco, to help improve traffic management and access to parking is most welcome.”

Leonore O’Neill, Senior Executive Officer, Ennis Municipal District, Clare County Council said, “We view this as a great opportunity for Ennis and look forward to working collaboratively with Cisco and Ennis Chamber on this exciting project to develop an innovative digital parking solution for Ennis.”

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