The world is moving forward, and the parking industry is still one step behind. In a world of instant access and smart applications, “mobility” has become a keyword. The parking environment has to evolve to become more mobile-friendly, with a focus on the user-experience and data-based insights. New digital solutions continue to render the parking technology platforms redundant, together with the traditional parking model and its practices. The key digital solutions disrupting the parking industry are fundamentally customer centric, placing the decision making and payment options directly within the hands of the end user and requiring parking facilities to become smarter in order to accommodate the customer who occupies it as opposed to being a building that houses cars.
These digital solutions and applications are disrupting the current technology in the market as it renders the hardware redundant and it also causes us to reconsider on-site servers in the face of the data migration to cloud services, with all the business intelligence that it offers. This is what we believe we can expect in the future of parking management:
Product to platform
Parking prepares to move away from the traditional model of labour and reconciliation to intelligent service delivery at consumer touch points and analytical processes including rich data mining in a real-time environment.
Management will happen in the cloud
In the future, an on-site server will be replaced with cloud technology, accessible anywhere, anytime towards a real-time management solution accommodating multiple payment methodologies and points of sale.
Human capital will change
As the infrastructure of parking changes, parking management companies will start to feel more pressure to update their systems, with a resultant effect on optimizing human capital. A digital-first parking management requires different human capital in fulfilment. A revision in the current back office models will be necessary and a far more sophisticated consumer engagement process will be required.
Smoother payment processes
As consumers become accustomed to quick and easy transactions, they will begin to expect, and demand, easier payment processes. The tech already exists for digital apps to facilitate payments, this will extend out of the retail space and into the car park.
Service providers will become more accountable
What ultimately happens when an analogue system goes digital? A lot of data becomes available for analysis. Data, which previously was self-reported, is now extracted from a database, and service providers will need to account for their actions and responsiveness. SLAs will be given new meaning when system generated reports come online, and are viewable in real-time. Service Providers that embrace this and prepare for it will be far more competitive in the market place.
Applications will enter the market which lie over the generated parking data and can extract key business insights, which will allow management to make data-driven decisions. This will be facilitated through a centralised data warehouse and easy-to-use analytics dashboards placing Asset Management in a position to create "tomorrows parking today".
The management of operations will be automated through a series of smart workflows which are built to trigger actions and responses in the system. Robust workflow processes and improved incident management systems will improve general parking management and stop gaps in leaking profitability and optimising productivity.
When considering the greater technology ecosystem of the parker and the parking facility, we begin to see parking as, let’s say, under-developed in terms of the amount of data that is created versus the number of intelligent insights that are extracted from that data. How do new apps and devices integrate into the retail facility in order to enhance the experience from the customer from boom to purchase, and what are we doing in parking to enhance dwell times and spend per head. Currently, parking is a paper system in a world of digital data, one that lacks the intelligence to drive better management decisions, which will ultimately increase revenue without compromising the customer and inhibiting dwell times within the centre it serves.
Whilst it can be said that all of these tools are available, it is the implementation of such that requires a detailed approach and how the parking strategy specific to the facility is executed in line with the overall digital strategy of the property.
By Warren Swart, CEO of Nozy Parker