Does your PARCS system really work?


Does your PARCS system really work?

To answer that question one has to understand what ‘work’ means to the questioner. In dealing with PARCS systems, it could mean many things. To wit:

  1. When a car approaches the gate and presents a credential or pulls a ticket, does the gate goes up.
  2. The systems acts like ‘1’ above except it checks the credential for validity.
  3. The system keeps track of all the tickets issued and lists them upon request.
  4. The system knows when a credential is invalid and turns it off automatically.
  5. The system does all the things the salesperson said it would do.
  6. The system does most of the things a salesperson said it would do and ‘1’ above.
  7. All monies collected by a POF are accounted for and all credit card transactions are checked on line.
  8. If a person has not paid or their credential is invalid, they are stopped at the gate.
  9. The system works off line.
  10. The system will not work off line.

There are more but you get the point.

I could probably hold either side of most of the ‘working’ reasons above and a large number of you would consider me correct.  How can that be? Something either works or it doesn’t.

I think it has to do with what you bought the thing to do in the first place. I mean what you really what it to do. In other words, do you want to control the location, or do you want to control the location except when the customer might be inconvenienced. In that case, maybe its “OK” to skirt the rules a bit. We don’t want anyone to complain, now do we.

When I was selling alarm systems to movie stars (a story for another time), sometimes we would get a star who just wouldn’t follow the rules and not open a certain window or door when the alarm system was on. This caused numerous false alarms, and many unkind words to patrol staff who responded to those alarms. The solution; jump out the sensor to the offending door or window. Problem solved. What we did was purposefully break a working system so the customer wouldn’t be inconvenienced.

If we allow the PARCS system to run off line, then we are letting a broken system control our facility so we don’t inconvenience practically everyone. However if we say the system must run on line, all the time, or shut down the garage, my guess is that the offending part would be quickly and permanently fixed, and that there would be a repair crew handy to ensure the system was always up and running.

A bank or a grocery store would never allow their control systems to run off line. Period. They wouldn’t allow a broken system in their facility. Why should we?

So the next time someone asks if a certain systems ‘works ‘ perhaps you should get their definition of ‘works’ before you answer.


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John Van Horn

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