Embracing and Adopting Parking Technology Best Practices


Embracing and Adopting Parking Technology Best Practices

I’m one of those people who think change can be hard. It’s difficult for a lot of us to embrace change, being used to the status quo or culture that surrounds us. But in the world we live in, the “bigger picture” adds a new and profound understanding of where we are going and what we need to do to get there.
We have so many examples of new technology surrounding us every day. It’s inescapable; it can be intimidating and even scary. There is so much to know, how can we be the experts? The truth is, we probably can’t, but we can enjoy what it brings us.
So much technology is being adapted and created for the parking industry; it really is amazing to an ever-increasing old-timer like me. It seems anything is possible over the internet, and indeed parking operators, as well as customers, can take advantage of the ease, convenience, efficiency and, yes, profitability that technology can bring us.
From a customer’s perspective, their journey may start with noticing a promotion and planning a trip. They may find it convenient to reserve goods and services in advance, such as valet parking at an airport, electric car charging, rental car reservations, hotel accommodations, entrance access privileges to a venue, etc.
Once they arrive at their destination, a pre-defined credential can be used. This can be anything from a credit card, a pre-produced loyalty card, their license plate number, or any number of things. Payment can be completed through a pre-arranged account. They may even review or post their experiences once their trip is completed.
Everyone seems to be getting into the act of using technology for customer convenience, including car manufacturers such as BMW, currently testing a system in San Francisco called ParkNow. It provides information, automated access, reservation, booking and payment for off-street parking spaces through the navigation system built into (or separate from) their vehicles and accessed before the trip via an app on your phone or the Internet.
Reducing stress, saving time, fitting into our busy lifestyle, reliability, ease of use while still giving us a discounted price – that’s what we as customers are looking for, and today’s technology can deliver it.
Technology can do a lot for us and our customers. Unfortunately, the bad guys have the same technology at their disposal, and best practices must be maintained to keep them in check. It’s a moving target, it’s not easy, but it’s not always easy to do the right thing. The great thing is that we are not alone. There are many ways to establish best practices, to adopt them and even to embrace them.
Dare I bring up the first thing that comes to mind in the parking industry, but PCI compliance? At the beginning of implementing the changes needed to products and practices for PCI/PA-DSS, a lot of us were either in denial or overwhelmed, but in the end, we knew it was needed, and you know what? It has come to be an expected and known part of our day, and we all survived.
There are other examples of established best practices that we can use as a basis for our own needs. For manufacturing and service industries, ISO 9000 standards have been around for quite a while. Since so much of data security is based on IT infrastructure, standards such as those in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and IT Service Management (ISO/IEC 20000) may apply here.
Cisco, IBM, HP and many other companies have published white papers on these issues. No wonder “the cloud” is becoming more accepted every day – letting the pressure off the normal business day and allowing the IT experts do their thing.
Doing your homework goes a long way – research and network with those who have been down that road before. It will pay off in the end. Organizing internally and getting feedback from those involved inside your organization can help with your particular business. Everyone can be involved, because in the end, we are all in this together.
Technology is our friend. Really, it is.

Karen Pradhan, a Women In Parking Board Member, has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, working for several parking equipment manufacturers. Pradhan has been Product Manager for Skidata Inc. since 2000, where she has several responsibilities in Product Management, Marketing, and has developed the corporate Training program.  Contact her at karen.pradhan@skidata.com.


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Karen Pradhan
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