Digital at Every Touchpoint
September 15, 2023
As the founder and CEO of ParkEngage, Rajiv Jain’s mission is to help parking businesses go digital at every touchpoint.
Rajiv has spent many years in the technology industry, building enterprise-class commercial software products. In the late nineties, he was one of the first to define and bring to market an eBusiness platform built on service-oriented architecture (SOA). Today, such SOA-based platforms have evolved into the current generation of digital platforms.
How do you view the parking industry?
RJ – I see the parking industry from two different perspectives: that of a parking consumer, the motorist, and that of the parking provider, the operator. For a motorist, parking is never the final destination, it’s always the penultimate stop before going to a meeting, dinner, or other engagement. So, the best parking experience for the motorist is if she does not have to think of parking at all, and that’s what the operators should strive to provide her – a seamlessly invisible experience. From the perspective of a parking operator, managing diverse parking assets ranging from small residential building garages to large airports, stadiums, and events parking facilities, and many other types in between, is challenging. They have to manage such diversity in assets and provide that same seamlessly invisible experience to motorists.
Why do we need a digital platform specifically built for the parking industry?
RJ – Parking operators manage a diverse portfolio of property assets, each with its own uniqueness, infrastructure, preexisting technologies, parking services, and contract arrangements with property owners. They realize that managing each property as a separate business is not a scalable business model. To achieve organizational economies of scale, the entire portfolio must be run as a unified business.
How do digital systems help operators provide the seamlessly invisible experience to motorists?
RJ – Our digital systems help operators provide the seamlessly invisible experience to motorists by establishing the linkage between the motorist’s need, her vehicle, and her payment method. Touchless systems, LPRs, online user accounts, apps, reservations, permits, monthly leases, valets, promocodes, validations, loyalty, guidance systems, and more are the means to establish that linkage. To cater to the diverse preferences of motorists, operators need to provide a range of technology options. While, nobody likes waiting in lines to enter a parking facility or to pay for parking, some motorists may not want to download apps or may not own smartphones, while others may not want to reserve parking spots in advance. Hence it has become crucial for operators to offer a smorgasbord of these technologies.
However, if these systems do not work together, they would do more harm to the motorist’s experience.
What are the underpinnings of the ParkEngage digital system?
RJ – Digital companies must prioritize robustness, agility, reliability, scalability, and self-learnability in our digital systems. Whether an operator is competing to acquire a property, or enhancing properties currently under management - they face the same challenges:
“How quickly can I add a service that I don’t currently have in my portfolio”
“How quickly can I customize my service to meet the new requirements?”
“Do I have to wait for my technology vendor to make expensive customizations for me?”
“Or can I make the configurable changes myself through a simple-to-use administration interface?”
Digital systems provide the desired agility to businesses. Our digital systems are built to be reliable in terms of system availability and security for commercial rollouts across the operator’s portfolio, offering scalability not only in terms of optimum resource utilization but also cost of service, directly in proportion to pay as used.
How will machine learning play a role in the parking industry?
RJ - Machine learning has the potential to revolutionize the parking industry by leveraging data-driven insights to optimize operations, enhance customer experiences, improve resource allocation, and increase efficiency. As the technology continues to advance, we can expect innovative applications of machine learning algorithms to create smarter and more efficient parking systems in the future.
Leveraging technology such as touchless systems and machine learning gives operators an advantage over their competitors by providing them with the flexibility and digital solutions they need to succeed in today’s market.
Rajiv Jain is CEO of ParkEngage. He can be reached at email@example.com