Figuring out the best way to manage employee parking lots has can be intimidating. Trying to navigate your way through car parking technology can be a minefield.
“There seems like so many different options from ANPR systems to access control systems, car park management apps to parking permit management software.”
We’ve combined decades of real-estate experience to create this guide to smart parking technology. We’ve trawled through all the major technology and leading providers. Our mission is to help you to create a smart parking environment.
- Car Park Access Systems
– Access Cards/Fobs
– Automated Barrier System
- Car Park Allocation Systems
– Parking Information Screens
– Allocation Cameras
– Parking Sensors
– Parking Allocation Software
– Parking Information Software
- Car Park Managements Systems
– Traditional Parking CCTV
– Monitored Parking CCTV
– Smart Parking CCTV
- Car Park Occupany Management Systems
– Parking Reservation Management
– Revenue Management
Every company likes to think that their parking problem is unique. Before buying a parking technology, take a step back and consider what is your actual problem. To help you, we’ve categorised parking problems in four key areas.
Access management also known as parking access management or parking control management has been around for years. A lot of car parks struggle with rogue parkers who are parking without permission.
“Implementing a parking access system controls who can enter and exit a car park.”
The popular methods of access control are parking barriers or gates. Market-leading providers include large hardware companies like Skidata & Designia. Key differences between solutions include the capacity to integrate with other technology like:
- ANPR (automatic number plate recognition, also known as LPR or licence plate recognition)
- Car park management systems
- Validator and encoding stations
- Pay stations
- Fee computers
- Parking sensors
Technology integrations are generally designed with commercial parking in mind. This includes shopping centres, multi-storey car parks, hospitals and airports.
Real estate professionals can reduce the cost of implementation by choosing simpler systems. A good parking barrier system can perform up to 10,000 cycles a day. Yet, it is worth noting that the more cycles you need the more expensive a barrier will be.
Another key consideration is how quick you need your barrier lift to be. The best technology can perform this is about 1 second. More standard hardware units will perform this in 6 seconds.
Hand in hand with all barrier systems is the access method. There are now more parking systems than ever to control how motorists manage entry & exit. The most popular are:
The age old solution of having a person with a hut who controls the barrier going up and down. This can also be done remotely through camera technology.
Popular with smaller offices. A keypad is installed close to the entrance. Motorists allowing people to punch in a code to gain access. Staff sharing keycodes to non-authorised people can create security risks here.
Access Card / Fobs:
The most popular solution, which allows employees to tag in and tag out as per their needs.
“Access cards / fobs are declining in popularity for many reasons. They are very expensive to replace and are often lost in large quantities by employees.”
They raise many security concerns. Employees often pass cards around. Sometimes sharing with people who should not have access to the premises. Access card systems are very inflexible.
Once someone has a fob it is very hard to limit their access to the parking lot. Companies who need a more fluid access tend to avoid this model. If you need different people to have access on different days or times, a more modern option is the best choice.
Automatic number plate recognition also known in certain places as licence plate recognition software is a growing area of parking technology. ANPR management technology is a camera technology.
Upon arrival at a barrier the IOT based parking management solution scans the licence plate of a car. In real-time the license plate is run through a database of persons due access to the car park on that specific day. The barrier will lift if it finds a match. ANPR is a very powerful technology.
“It works very well for companies who want to manage parking with minimal fuss. The technology is still quite new and as a result is still very expensive.”
This is a premium experience for premium parking lots.
The barrier can be opened by phone in a many ways. The traditional method has often depended on bluetooth and beacon technology.
A popular method is GSM gate openers where motorists open gates with phones on arrival. GSM is very secure. The best software ensure that only people who have been designated access can enter the car park.
Automated Barrier System:
This style system automatically opens for incoming traffic. Motorists then tag out using some sort of validation system. Ideal for companies with large amount of vehicles coming and going. This is most effective for companies who work in logistics and transportation.
Most modern barriers integrate with contemporary solutions like ANPR & phone access. When working with older style barriers, adding GSM units can be quite cost-effective. You can source GSM units from most good parking barrier providers.
Once you’ve kept unwanted motorists out of your car park, the next step is allocating spaces. For some companies this is a simple case of numbering a couple of spaces and telling your staff where to park.
For other companies, this is often a manual administration nightmare. Parking permit policies are managed through spreadsheets and WhatsApp, causing real headaches. A lack of a transparent allocation system can cause traffic chaos.
If you have hundreds or thousands of staff converging on a car park looking in a short space of time. Many of these motorists have no exact idea of where free space is available.
As a result drivers end up cruising around car parks looking for space. This causes congestions at entrance points with cars trying to access full car parks.
This is before you get into the employee satisfaction side of the equation.
“In the modern day, to compete for key talent parking is important. Companies need to be able to show that parking is allocated in a fair manner.”
The good news is that there is a wide range of parking technology to manage the parking experience. There are two key strands of technology in this space; hardware and software.
There are a couple of hardware solutions which make parking allocation easier.
Parking Information Screens:
These digital screens are used at key access points to employee car parks. They notify motorists where there is still space available. Generally these screens work in tandem with another piece of hardware. For example they sync with the barrier which feeds occupancy data to the screens.
They also work with IoT parking sensors placed at entrances to calculate occupancy. The parking sensor then feeds information into screens.
“Parking information works well for enterprise companies who want to direct traffic effectively. As a standalone piece of technology they are quite limited. They do not provide information to motorists ahead of arrival.”
Meaning that motorists don’t have the information needed to alter their journey route.
Cutting edge cameras can be installed in your employee car park to track space usage. Cameras can cover up to to 400 spaces each. By syncing cameras with other software, they can provide real-time parking information. Companies use this to direct traffic to empty spaces. This can play a key role in avoiding congestion at peak times.
Market leaders such as ParkingDetection.com are more approriate for local governments. Companies need to have high poles to give cameras sufficient vantage points. If your car park is a large single level surface car park this could provide value for you.
German innovator SON AH are making good noises in this space and worth a look.
By installing a parking sensor for each parking space, companies track real-time occupancy. Often times these sensor systems come with or can be synchronised with a lighting system. The lighting system will direct traffic to empty spaces. This reduces cruise time.
“The market is showing signs of moving away from this technology. It is expensive to install and every space needs a separate sensor. While upkeep costs can be high if sensors keep breaking down.”
The use of cutting edge software to manage employee parking allocation is growing. In a mere seconds software can direct and manage thousands of motorists. This makes it a powerful tool for streamlining parking allocation.
There are two core functions to most parking allocation software.
Parking Allocation Management:
So you have thousands of staff looking for parking everyday and let’s say you only have 900 spaces. Many companies operate a first come first serve policy and hope for the best. Others operate a space designation policy resulting in large amounts of unused space.
The great news is that technology can now trim away all the inefficiencies. Parking Allocation Management software allows employees flag their parking needs ahead of time.
“Cutting edge algorithms work-out how much space is available and what is needed by staff. Solutions then allocate the parking spaces based on demand.”
When demand outstrips demand, companies can weight staff on set criteria. For example seniority or distance to travel. The algorithms then calculate in real-time who gets what space and when.
Employees can then be directed to park in specific spaces or zones. This limits inefficient cruise time and congestion close to offices.
Parking Information Management:
The modern version of parking information screens. Parking information management software often live side by side with allocation management solutions.
This software allows companies to communicate parking information in real-time remotely. For example, a motorist working in a large company in Silicon Valley needs their car for work. They can log onto the parking information software and check current availability.
“This software is beneficial for enterprise companies who want to avoid workplace congestion.”
Everyday large amounts of traffic converge on their car parks which are already full. This technology diverts traffic away from pinch points into key overflow car parks.
This is important when companies have lots of space but employees prefer one car park.
“Parking information management gets really exciting when it matures. Once leading systems build up enough data they can start using predictive analytics.”
For example if a motorists commute is due to take 30 minutes, predictive technology will be able to forecast the likelihood of space being available at their estimated time of arrival.
When choosing a parking allocation software, reflect on your company culture.
Do you want a system underpinned by booking management which optimises space? Or prefer to minimise congestion for motorists but still have some parking inefficiencies.
Regardless of your preference the ability to link in with access control systems is key. This means that only employees and tenants who are meant to access a parking lot will be allowed access.
Try to avoid having expensive hardware lying idle. Make it easier for your company to make the most of their access hardware. Choose a software to sit between the hardware and motorists and drive real results.
Anyone with oversight of a large employee car park knows that management can be vortex. Some days it seems that everything that could possibly go wrong, does go wrong. Barrier systems break down, accidents happen and people park in the wrong place.
Discover how technology makes parking management easier by looking at three key areas.
When something goes wrong in the employee car park it can be very challenging to figure out who owns the cars. Getting direction lines of communication going is a minefield.
Intelligent parking management systems allow companies to get a real-time list of everyone in the car park. They search for particular employees based on car licence plates. Even communicating with these people through internal messaging features when needed.
This is useful for communicating with motorists around violations or emergencies. The average medium sized company spends up to 40 hours a month managing staff parking.
By embracing parking management software, companies free resources to focus on adding value.
Security is a massive concern for most motorists. The higher end the company, the more likely that your staff have invested in expensive cars. Safe storage of their motors during the workday is of massive importance.
A strong and robust access control system is your core foundation here. Yet, this does not stop petty thieves from finding ways into your car park. There are a many ways to mitigate risks in this area depending on company size and resource.
Traditional Parking CCTV:
Most people will be familiar with traditional parking CCTV. This consists of installing cameras into your car park to deter crime. Traditional CCTV cameras can be sourced and installed by local security companies and parking equipment providers.
Most modern systems can be synced to cloud technologies allowing for remote access. Smaller companies with low risk of crime often favour this option.
Monitored Parking CCTV:
Like Traditional Parking CCTV except the stream is being monitored. Live feeds of CCTV are monitored by a member of security personnel. The staff member will often have a brief to manage other aspects of building safety.
Growing in popularity is remote monitoring where outsourced companies tracks your feeds. This is often a cheaper option as remote monitors can oversee many companies at a time.
Remote monitoring companies link in with security services to respond to issues. Remote monitoring is offered by most leading security companies.
Smart Parking CCTV:
Smart parking CCTV cameras are another level up when it comes to parking CCTV. They use artificial intelligence to track any intrusions in the car park. The cameras spot suspect behaviour and alert security. Smart parking CCTV cameras are available from most leading parking hardware suppliers.
“Human error and a lack of respect for a company’s parking policy can lead to parking violations.”
Maybe an employee has double parked or parked in the wrong space. This often leads to irate phone calls from other employees who arrive at work to find their space in use.
The poor person responsible for the car park is then left trying to contact the rogue parker. Leading car park management apps simplify this process through self-reporting.
If someone arrives at work to find there is someone in their space, they report it through the software. The offending person and relevant company admins receive alerts to take action.
So you have your car park running like clock-work. You only have one problem. Your car park always seems to be half empty. This is a very common problem.
Often where there are waiting lists of people looking to get parking access this doesn’t seem to make any sense. Getting a grasp of occupancy can be quite tough. Who is parking and when are they parking?
“As a fail-safe companies resort to inefficient practices. These include designating parking spaces permanently. This is why companies often report massive demand and empty spaces at the same time.”
Fixed space holders are away from the office up to 40% of the time on holidays or out of the office.
To manage occupancy companies are turning to software.
Parking Reservation Management
Using cutting edge parking management apps like ParkOffice, staff now book parking ahead of arrival. This can also be structured using the opt-out method. Staff are asked to indicate when they don’t need a parking space and their spaces are released.
This allows companies to forecast occupancy and demand on a daily basis. Maximise efficiency by integrating with allocation solutions.
Automated parking management systems give companies access to valuable real-time and historic analytics. Want to figure out who rarely uses their space? Is your car park too big?
With a few clicks, all the information you need to make the key strategic decisions is available.
A growing area of focus for employee car parks is revenue management. There are two types of companies looking at this area:
- Companies with too much parking demand who are looking to deter car usage
- Landlords with spare space looking to maximise the usage of their parking spaces.
Revenue management solutions for employee parking lots are integrated with booking management software. This allows companies and individuals to pay for available space at the office.
“A key selling point is that these spaces are only made available to motorists who are already working in your building (either for your company or another tenant).”
This ensures that there are no security concerns.
CHOOSING THE BEST PARKING TECHNOLOGY?
Hopefully you’ve accessed lots of helpful information. This still leaves you with a lot of tough decisions to make. The key advice is take your time and invest in the parking technology which solves your problem.
Join industry leaders from companies like Sanofi, Indeed.com & CBRE, schedule a demo with ParkOffice.io today and solve your parking problems in the click of a button.