Security, Shows, and the IPI
According to the words from the musical "Camelot," the month of May is lusty. That means it's the heart of spring, with everything growing, renewing and looking great. Our industry is doing the same, with the huge show in Amsterdam and the only slightly smaller (sigh) show we put on in Chicago last month.
As usual I am gratified by the attendance (nearly 600 attendees), although you all could really keep my scotch bill down if you would let us know you were coming more than three days before the event, but nevertheless, we were happy to see you.
Spring is the time for new things, and I saw a few during these events. Perhaps the most innovative was a way to reserve a parking space and then have your entry ticket sent to your cell phone. There's a picture nearby of Karen Blasing Pradhan, U.S. Marketing Manager for Skidata, opening a gate using a bar code received on her mobile phone.
The technology is in its formative stage, but certainly there is no technical reason it can't work. A text message is sent to your phone, you call up the message, and there's the bar code. A reader at the entry lane sees the bar and off you go. Neat, huh.
I also saw a new exit pay station that did virtually everything that a pay-on-foot does but costs tons less. Zeag's John Lovell, head of its North American operation, demonstrated the unit to me. Why is it so inexpensive? "Canadian parts," smiled Toronto-based John.
Plus, the irrepressible Klaus Gindl, formerly of Scheidt and Bachmann, has a new company and a new product. It's a gizmo that fits in the street and can scan, through the use of mirrors and CCTV, the undercarriage of a truck or car. Just the thing for these security-minded times.
Speaking of security, one of the main thrusts of this issue of Parking Today is safety and security in garages. We think a lot about lighting, barriers, CCTV, and guards to protect our customers and our staff, but what about our computers? Plus, check out our story on the "10th safest place on Earth." And it's a parking garage.
Take the time this month to read the article on security and your revenue control system by Auri Rahimzadeh. It's frightening, or at least it should be. If you aren't convinced, read Auri's short bio at the end of the article. If this guy doesn't know his stuff, no one does.
I write this from the floor of the Parking Industry Exhibition and Conference of Parking Management and Technology being held in mid-April in Chicago. A description of the event can be found elsewhere in this month's PT. However, one encounter remains with me.
We were honored and pleased to have the interim President of the International Parking Institute, Kim Jackson, as an attendee. Kim is a dynamic woman who has served in many capacities during her tenure at the IPI. She had this position thrust upon her with the sudden resignation of David Ivey and from all indications has risen to the task.
Our conversation covered many topics, but I was most impressed by her humility. Although she has received the interim position from the IPI board, Kim is looking forward to the search for the permanent president. Her application will be considered alongside any others the search committee finds, and she expects to be interviewed in the same manner as other applicants.
In the meantime, however, she is leading the organization with vigor, openness and candor. Her first major task? The IPI's Annual Meeting and Expo next month in New Orleans. She told me that most of the event has been planned for months, but that she hopes to make a few changes to this year's program to begin to give the meeting, which has used the same formula for the past few years, a bit of a new look or feel.
My sense is that her tenure, long or short, will begin to bring a different feel to the venerable organization. All the best, Kim.
Check out the insert in this month's PT. It's the way we get your phone number correct for the PIP directory coming out in July. Your name and address are printed on it, and if we have your phone number, it's there, too. If it's correct, just ignore it. If we need to change it, make the change and fax it over. Thanks.