The New Face of Access & Revenue Control Equipment
It has often been easy to take access and revenue control equipment for granted. PARCS tools have been the workhorses of the parking technology world, eschewing sex appeal for functionality. Not that the equipment isn’t vital. For now, it remains the heart of any parking technology suite. But at a time when a steady stream of new technologies is being introduced, access and revenue control is often viewed as the understated mainstay of parking facilities.
The primary focus of next generation PARCS equipment is on improving the user experience.
But all that is changing. Access and revenue control design has moved into the future, and the latest generation is more advanced and useful than ever before. PARCS has always been the face of parking technology because it’s the most visible and most often-used type of equipment when it comes to parking transactions. Today, however, it is more technologically advanced, user-friendly, and useful than ever before.
The primary focus of next generation PARCS equipment is on improving the user experience. The parking journey must be a smooth process, and PARCS needs to be able to provide that smooth experience in our increasingly mobile world. One of the ways it can accomplish this is to accommodate pre-booking. That way, users can reserve the space in a particular facility before they even leave the house, and when they get to the lot or garage, they can enjoy a frictionless parking experience.
How can contemporary PARCS accomplish this? The first key is for the technology to be adaptable. The best modern systems can be integrated with other parking technologies into truly frictionless systems. What used to be a very complicated process is, today, relatively commonplace. Today, owners can add parking guidance, license plate recognition and automatic vehicle identification, and reservation or pre-booking technology to their PARCS tools to provide an extraordinarily simple and convenient parking experience.
And while this approach makes parking more convenient, it also provides incentive to drivers to become repeat customers. Once they’ve created an account at a parking facility or operator and provided their personal and payment credentials, they are much more likely to keep patronizing that garage or other garages managed by that operator. When customers know that their accounts will provide the convenience of frictionless parking, they are much more likely to utilize the facility again and again.
Modern PARCS equipment can also accommodate loyalty programming. In fact, it’s really the key to offering a loyalty program because it’s where all the vital data about the customer is collected and stored. It’s also the technology that allows the parking owners to maintain contact with each customer who is a member of a loyalty program. In this high-tech era of parking, access and revenue control equipment is really the heart of any technology suite.
Monetizing Your Parking
One of the most exciting recent developments is that PARCS equipment can now be used to monetize your parking management. This is a potentially groundbreaking improvement for parking owners because it permits them to generate revenue beyond parking fees and upsold services. Modern access and revenue control equipment can also provide advertising opportunities.
In recent months, video-enabled PARCS equipment has been introduced to the marketplace. This equipment features customizable video screens that can be tailored to the individual needs of the garage owner or operator. The video screens allow for high resolution full color images and video, and were developed to make the equipment more user-friendly by providing step-by-step guidance into how to use the payment equipment.
However, because the video screens are customizable, they can really be used to convey any type of information. For instance, shopping facilities may program the screens with maps of shopping floors to make it easier for patrons to identify the stores in which they wish to shop and determine how to get to those shops. Similarly, airports may display terminal maps showing travelers how to get to their gates and where they can shop or dine while they wait to board. Or a hospital could provide directions to different areas in the facility to help patients get to their appointments more quickly and visitors to find their loved ones.
But the truly exciting possibility for the new technology revolves around advertising. Owners and operators can monetize their access and revenue control equipment by selling video advertising to local merchants or other organizations. The possibilities are limitless, and any type of parking facility can utilize the technology. And because the screens can be split to display several different types of messages, the new technology offers owners and operators extraordinary flexibility.
Take an airport, for instance. Local hotels, restaurants, and other business could advertise their services to travelers who are just landing and leaving the airport. They could even offer discount codes to entice travelers to visit. Similarly, hotels could sell advertising to local stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, though those ads may be more effective on equipment located at hotel entrances.
For advertising businesses it’s a great way to reach visitors who are just arriving at their hotels, while for the hotels themselves, it’s an opportunity to generate advertising revenue. The same strategies can be utilized by other parking owners, including universities, municipal parking facilities, and owners of private structures.
Brave New World
Parking access and revenue control equipment is more advanced than ever, and is transforming the user experience. For owners, however, the most exciting development is the introduction of video technology. Although the technology was developed to make the equipment more useful and user friendly, it also offers equally exciting opportunities for owners and operators to use the equipment as a powerful marketing tool to monetize parking facilities and benefit the bottom line.
Waldemar Batistella is national product portfolio manager for SKIDATA. He can be reached at Waldemar.Batistella@skidata.com.