OMG – What Am I Going to See at PIE!


OMG – What Am I Going to See at PIE!

I’m looking forward to attending the Parking Industry Exhibition (PIE) this year. There is so much to see, learn and experience that those of us attending should have a plan so we can be sure not to miss something important.
The problem is, like a kid in a candy store, there is so much that is really perfect. What should we leave out? What should we sample? What is the most important?
I look at things that I am doing right now, and what I am planning to do in the near future. If I’m representing a customer, say, a city, and they are “going out” for bid on new equipment for their on-street parking, then the decision is easy. I make a list of parking meter and pay-and-display (P&D) companies and then visit each one, taking enough time to ensure that I am at least conversant with the topics and maybe pick up a few good questions to ask potential vendors.
But what if I’m a parking manager at a university and am in only the “consider” phase of replacing or adding new technology? The list of vendors could be endless. There are revenue control companies, meter and P&D manufacturers. There are companies that supply software to control my citations and permits and, of course, suppliers of apps that my campus customers will love. I’m pretty much overwhelmed.
PIE this year has designed its presentations for just my situation. Each day, a panel of experts holds forth on different types of technology, and then experts in different fields (municipal, higher education, parking operators and the like) break out into separate rooms and those attendees interested in particular segments of the industry can “follow” the expert who fits their needs.
There is no need to risk spending an hour learning about a topic, only to find that it doesn’t fit your particular discipline.
If I’m not sure, boot camp this year is a little more than just “Parking 1A.”
Rather than the typical “this is a ticket dispenser” conversation, Boot Camp 2014 will take the topics about parking a bit further, and explore how to better relate the technology available to you to the people who are going to have to support you in your decisions, and are going to have to use it. How will you be able to bring the stakeholders involved in parking into the fold and be sure they are on your team?
If you need high-tech support, plenty of experts, like me, will be around PIE to help.
Tech camp this year will be for those who need a good basic knowledge of the technology that is available, what those famous buzz words like “cloud computing,” “online,” “real-time,” “QR Code,” and NFC mean to you, and the various “apps,” or applications, available to not only you but your customers. Why do you need to know this? Well, your stakeholders, particularly if they are students or young people, were weaned on technology, and you have some catch-up to play.
Need to focus on one area, such as how the myriad changes of credit cards acceptance and security (Can you say Target?) affect your technology choices and the software you need to run them? There is a seminar just for that, with specialization down to the hardware, software and firmware levels.
Don’t worry, PIE 2014 has seminars if you are planning a new garage, and the technology that can be built into it, not only construction, but also how to be sure that maintenance down the road is done efficiently. And there will be lawyers at PIE 2014 assessing your legal risks when someone slips or technology turns on a vehicle and paint is scratched.
If you have a couple of people in your party attending PIE 2014, it would be a good idea to divide up the seminars and vendors you are going to visit, and then let the person whose duties are most affected by one area or another attending those presentations.
The idea of just walking up and down the aisles may be attractive, but it can also waste a lot of time. Specific goals will enable you to make your PIE 2014 experience a more fulfilling one, and to ensure that you get out of the event what you need.
The Parking Industry Exhibition 2014 is here for you to network, learn and experience. It’s up to you to use it properly.


Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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