Ben Martel, CEO
Sick of people telling you that you should be using a digital parking platform? Do you find yourself sitting there when told this and asking yourself “So what the heck is digital parking anyway?”
Let me give you my view on what it is. I’ll start by using another phrase often lobbed over the fence – ‘data is king’. I certainly believe that statement is true and the problem in the parking industry is that getting a comprehensive view of your business, including your parking data, is nigh on impossible given that most parking facilities are currently islands of data. A digital parking system changes this. It gives you the ability to connect all your facilities in one back end system, as they all use the same technology on site. This enables you to see all your parking data and businesses in a single place, to compare how each facility is running and make changes in real time from the comfort of your office — including space management, rates, bookings and access itself.
There are many more benefits to digital parking than just seeing all your facilities in one place. There has been a strong increase in interest from operators post COVID-19, who want to be able to quickly adapt their product offerings to attract back or accommodate the new ways people are working e.g. two days from home and three in the office. A digital parking system enables you to provide shared spaces, opening up more spaces for public use and increasing your revenue. Digital systems also remove a lot of touch points from a traditional PARCS system, including substituting tickets for Licence Plate Recognition or Bluetooth entry and payment moving from pay stations to credit card details within an app — which is highly desirable given the current global state.
Another benefit of digital systems is the ability to easily introduce loyalty programs, especially those businesses with multiple parking facilities. This is something I’m surprised is not done a lot more in the industry. To do it properly, you need to be able to count parking sessions in real time. Say the parker finishes a parking session on one side of town, drives to another of your facilities on the other side of town and does it because they know it will be free. Without doing these transactions ‘digitally’ i.e. through an electronic mechanism that does not require manual intervention, then the outcome would be a laborious and potentially terrible experience for the parker. With a digital system, it will be automatically recognised that they have a free session, let them in with ease and leave the parker feeling great about their experience — encouraging them to come back again.
Digital parking systems are a great step forward for facilities, and with the rate of technology development, it won’t break the bank to invest in either. Systems like inugo utilize and enhance digital technologies to make parking easier, for both operators and parkers alike.