Calling My Shot for 2021
I’ve never done a prediction article before, but then again, I’ve never steered a company through a global pandemic before, either. My aim is to drive a little pragmatic optimism into my predictions for next year, to give people a hopeful, yet not too rosy picture, as we enter 2021.
Much like the financial crash of 2008, I truly believe that the slow and steady progress we make, month after month, year after year, will give us all reason to be optimistic. Here’s why I believe that. I can remember very clearly when the pundits announced in early 2009 that there was a two-year glut of houses for sale, and that it would take years for mortgage supply and demand to normalize.
It’s now 12 years after the crisis, and all signs point to a corrected mortgage market that is hotter than ever. The point is, despite being one of the greatest economic downturns (to that point) in history, we did come out of it by building the economy back, brick-by-brick. Rebounding from COVID-19 won’t be easy, but, like the economic crisis of 2008, we will eventually recover. Of course, the biggest difference here is tragically many souls have been lost to this crisis and those wounds won’t heal quickly – for that, I am truly sorry.
Prediction #1: Steady as she goes. Life will begin to return to normal as we all learn to cope with the precautions it takes to stay healthy, and as the medical community begins to roll out all six different vaccines that were fast-tracked under operation Warp Speed. In fact, just today (I’m writing this in November) Pfizer announced they had received results of their vaccine to be 90 percent effective. This vaccine and others will allow us to return to normal activities without fear.
Prediction #2: There will be no silver bullet to curing COVID-19. It will have to be managed. I’m not a scientist, but I did work for a Johnson & Johnson for six years. Everything I’ve seen in the data suggests the vaccine will not be a “one and done.” It looks to me like it will need to be administered every year, just like a flu vaccine. And while we know the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it does give us a measure of protection.
Prediction #3: Collaboration will be more important than ever. We have to learn to work together. I’ve said many times in these pages that one company cannot deliver the end-to-end solution our customers demand. In practice, what does that mean? Just this week, our new platform launch created a hiccup for our customers. We had to be prepared to work with other companies to research, pinpoint, test and deploy fixes to the software in a collaborative manner. Our software operates in a parking ecosystem and we must leave excess bandwidth in our development resources to help our partners isolate the issue, and fix it…TOGETHER. There is no other way; we must be committed to solving the problem and make sure finger-pointing never enters the mix. I’m happy to report that we found the problem, worked with our partner to fix it, and deployed a fix that worked. That’s what it’s going to take in the new world…collaboration!
Prediction #4: Parking will cross the digital divide. It’s happening. Parking is going digital. That means, our customers can find us, gain entry, pay for it, and exit, all without ever touching a PARCS device. Of course, we’ll still have folks like my parents, or even those who can’t operate in this realm, to accommodate. But, it’s clear that our digital capabilities will dramatically improve, to the point where we won’t have to touch what is not known to us (e.g. using our phones instead) to get in and out of parking facilities. And just like all things, it will get better over time; it will become the norm and we’ll welcome it.
Prediction #5: In-person meeting will be a blessing we no longer take for granted! Remember the days when we “had” to go to the next show? That sentiment won’t exist in 2021. In fact, the first time we will be allowed to meet in-person will be one of the biggest parties the parking world has ever seen. I can assure you that I and my team here at Parker Technology will be right in the middle of the entire scene. We’ve missed you all and we can’t wait to get back on the “conference” trail. We’ll look forward to the first big show in Schaumburg, Illinois with PIE 2021. If it’s in-person, WE WILL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON!
So, there you have it, an even mixture of hope, parking, and general predictions. I can’t wait to read this article in November 2021 and see how wrong I actually was. Until then, hang in there and keep the faith!