Australians carry on…


Australians carry on…

First of all, Australia never had a recession – the place is booming, people are upbeat and happy. There is construction going on all over. This is what happens when a country can keep its financial house in order. We could learn a few things from these folks. It doesn’t hurt, by the way, that they have almost a limitless supply of minerals and are selling them to China by the hundreds of tons a day. The Chinese are building their infrastructure and Australia is supplying the raw materials. We could, but then we aren’t allowed to dig.

On the other hand, there is a matter of scale. Compared to Australia, the US is huge. There are 21 million people in the country, that’s about half of California. Everything we try to do in the US is done on a scale most countries can only think about. Maybe the old “let the states do it” isn’t such a bad idea after all.

The Trade Show here went well. The exhibit hall is one of the best I’ve seen, anywhere. And as Don Shoup pointed out, technology is flowing everywhere, and its great technology, not seen in the US.

LPR is everywhere. As I pointed out earlier at least one company has a system installed and working in Sydney that allows cars to come and go with no gates using only their License Plates as tracking. More about that later.

There are Booth after booth with many different types of Pay by Space, Pay and Display, Meters with credit card, and at least three or four companies that make revenue systems you have never heard of.

This place rocks. We could learn a bit from them.

The trade show is open from 8 to 6, but everything slacks off when the sessions start and many of the exhibitors go through to listen to the speakers. There are four or five periods during the day when folks are attracted back into the hall (opening, morning tea, lunch, afternoon break, and closing.) Each is about 45 minutes or an hour long. If people are in deep discussions when the sessions starts they can elect to continue. The exhibitors seem to like the informality of the sessions.

These sessions aren’t second rate by any means. Heavy Hitters like Barbara Chance and Don Shoup, Muriel Hugosson head of transport sciences in Stockholm and Michael Julilan, former Deputy Chief in New York City. Or Vince Scanlon, Airport Operations Manager from Adelaide and Millie Yang, marketing director of one of China’s largest Mechanical Parking Manufacturers.

They and a number of others put on 20 sessions over the two days that were meant to educate and inspire. I attended a number and there wasn’t a clunker in the lot. They were focused like laser beams at the attendees. Good Job, Parking Association of Australia.

One of the problems with many of the educational programs we find in our trade shows is that they try to be all things to all people – 75 sessions make it difficult for attendees to choose, and put speakers in the position of speaking to an empty room. We need to find a way to get information out in a form that our pros can use, and not beat them over the head with it at our conventions.

I have some ideas, do you?


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John Van Horn

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