Matt Jones, CTO
Parking and Revenue Control Systems, also known as PARCS, are a key element of any parking facility. PARCS and access control equipment have developed alongside technological advancements and make use of these advancements to create faster, safer and easier access for parkers.
inugo is no exception and has been constantly developing frictionless gate opening technology since 2015. The platform today includes a Customer Management Platform, Mobile App, Software Development Kit (SDK) and our flagship device, the Intelligent Gate Controller (IGC). The IGC started as a small IoT device inside a box, that connects to PARCS equipment or any electronic gates, such as roller doors and swing or sliding gates. Today, the IGC stands as a low cost, non-descript pedestal that seamlessly co-exists with existing gear, with a quick installation time — typically between 30–60 minutes.
At inugo, we pride ourselves on constantly improving our product and technology, and we work closely with our partners to ensure we are meeting the needs of parkers, giving them the best experience possible while parking. This feedback is invaluable and has driven some important updates to our equipment, with some of those key learnings & developments below.
Connectivity is key
The IGC has had a range of different connectivity combinations throughout its evolution, starting with our first generation Cellular 3G. 3G presented some obvious issues as it does not work well underground, and there is no backup method of opening the gate if 3G fails. Our second generation used a combination of WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Although WiFi works underground, connectivity dropouts still occurred — however these were mitigated by opening the gate via Bluetooth. Our third generation now uses Cellular LTE + BLE. LTE Cat M1 works surprisingly well underground and removes having to stand up your own WiFi network, reducing connectivity dropouts.
Installation of equipment should be in an independent physical location
Installing additional equipment within a parking garage is faster when your equipment is independent, and this is where demarcation becomes important. inugo partnered with PedestalPro to help design a stand-alone mounting fixture. This includes floor mounting points that provide 45 degrees of rotation, allowing the unit to be easily pointed in the direction of the vehicle. An external LTE antenna ensures the best coverage possible within challenging underground environments.
Superior multilane identification accuracy
Identifying the location of a vehicle within a lane becomes crucial for supporting parking facilities with multiple entry and exit lanes. inugo’s lane identification technology has been created by working closely with Microwave and Radar specialists who support the NZ Defense Force. Our custom multi antenna design allows for a directionalized BLE signal to be transmitted from the IGC to the location of the vehicle. Combining thousands of data points from the IGC with our advanced algorithm has enabled inugo to achieve a superior lane identification system.
Applicable in all locations
The most secure way to open gates is to authorize users in real time. To provide real time authorization, either the IGC or the user’s phone must be online — and we find this to be the case over 95% of the time. However, there are some locations where providing internet connectivity is problematic or too costly. To mitigate these situations, inugo uses public key cryptography to verify that access codes have originated from an inugo trusted source — we call this preauthorization. Preauthorization allows the gate to open regardless of connectivity state to specific users.
The enhancements to our frictionless gate opening technology will continue to develop and grow, and I am excited with what the future holds. With optical recognition making its way through R&D at an astonishing rate, we are preparing ourselves to harness this data to help our customers understand their users and operations better than ever.