Following the very latest trends in parking management and parking technology, Interpark, a member of Excellerate Property Services, has committed to an investment of some R10 million in new technology and infrastructure, including the latest ‘centralised’ technology, which can help reduce operating costs for landlords.
Says Kate Wolfaardt, MD of Interpark: “The emerging international trend for parking management operators is to invest in centralised technology. This investment is both in their wide area networks, IT platforms and technology.”
She says realising that the parking management industry in Southern Africa requires a new impetus, executives from Interpark and Excellerate Property Services under took a fact-finding visit to major cities which included Brussels, Rome and Frankfurt to view first-hand some of Europe’s most sophisticated parking facilities which cater for large volumes of vehicles in high traffic areas.
Says Wolfaardt: “We not only gained insights into current European and global trends but also looked at adopting some of the cutting edge technologies to take Interpark forward into the future. Various strategic projects have arisen from the trip in addition to our meaningful investment in new technology and infrastructure. This will enable us to offer a new and unique service to the Southern African and African market while maintaining our leadership position in the revenue generating parking management space.
Benefits for Landlords and Parkers
“During our visit we focused on suppliers who are at the forefront of building centralised infrastructure, which offers significant advantages to both the parking manager and the property owner. Typically in South Africa, a car park is ring fenced from a technology point of view and the onsite parking control solution is installed and managed on the premises, operated by a parking management company.
“By investigating across suppliers and our international parking management colleagues we were able to design a solution for Interpark which includes a centralised data warehouse consolidating all system data, and a centralised control room allowing remote monitoring and control of car parks. Through this design all the parking facilities managed by Interpark can be connected via the web to our centralised services irrespective of the brand of equipment or supplier and even if located countrywide or across borders.”
Wolfaardt says there are numerous benefits of this concept, not only in terms of better control, management and reporting, but also in facilitating a significant reduction in monthly operating costs for owners.
“Of note is that the onsite parking equipment, including the parking management software and server will still be installed on site and that the cash handling logistics will of course be local. By incorporating a centralised control room and utilising world class technology, we will be able to provide a centralised service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, thereby offering a very high quality of service to the parkers and to the landlord.”
Manned by better trained and more knowledgeable staff on a 24/7 basis, the centralised control room will be located at Interpark’s Head Office in Longmeadow Business Estate, Edenvale, Johannesburg.
Explains Wolfaardt: “This centralised control room has the ability not only to duplicate the onsite management team’s operation of the Pay On Foot (POF) site and assist with any issues, it can also take over the full operation of the site by being able to talk to parkers via digital intercom and view parkers via digital CCTV system at each and every device (entry, exit and pay station). It can also integrate every incident into the centralised system and remote control equipment when no staff members are on site.
Potential for Increased Parking Revenue
“In instances where certain sites have lifted their barriers at a specific time of the evening or on weekends when parking management staff are no longer on site, we can now lower the barriers in order to earn additional revenue for the landlord as the site will still be operational 24/7. Key staff will still be deployed on site to take care of peak hours and any specific requirements of the landlord.”
She says as a result of the centralised control room a reduction in staff can be achieved at the site, depending on the circumstances and the individual needs of the site and the landlord. This also translates into lower monthly operating costs, while providing a far better quality service to parkers and landlords.
“The centralised services solution has multi-platform operability, which means that we want any of the major parking equipment vendors currently trading in South Africa to be able to be connected to the centralised system, therefore maintaining the industry’s current investment in parking equipment. In order to achieve this, an existing equipment audit is required, particularly taking into account the Intercom and CCTV systems which are currently installed, as older installations may need to be upgraded to digital systems.
“In regard to all new parking management solutions offered, clients can choose between models comprising standard parking management operation and the centralised services model. “
“Importantly, both Interpark and the landlord can obtain real time statistics from the centralised system at any time – a critical factor enabling either party to making key business decisions and take quick action.”
Adds Wolfaardt: “A further benefit of the centralised system is it will also be able to help parkers to find parking availability before they leave on their journey, and our 24/7 operated controllers can assist with pre-booking parking bays online. Landlords will also be able to offer loyalty products such as VIP Cards to key customers.”
For further information contact Interpark on 011 8790200 or email Derek Morris, general manager business development for Interpark on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.interpark.co.za.