No doubt 2020 has been one of the most disruptive years the parking industry has seen – exceeded only by cars replacing horses as the preferred mode of transport for the public at large. Every aspect of the industry has felt the sting of the pandemic and the economic fallout that resulted.
Many parking companies feel they have to take a hard look at how they do business and how to modify strategies to the changing times. It has also exposed a critical weakness for many: their business processes are not agile enough to take in the real-time market insights to proactively take action and maximize revenue even during periods of lower demand. Only the best positioned, best informed, and most agile companies will come out of this pandemic intact and ready to thrive. All others will lag, resulting in market competition becoming even stronger in a “survival of the fittest” scenario. So the question is, how can parking operators equip themselves with technology and infrastructure that allows them to capitalize on demand when the pandemic abates and people start parking again? And the answer is one word – Flexibility.
Flexibility is the shared characteristic among parking operators who have taken a hard look at how they position their products and services, how they deliver them, and how customers will consume them post-pandemic. This requires agility in reconfiguring infrastructure both that faces consumers – to provide a better, safer, touchless parking experience – and on the back end, so operators can understand where demand exists and how to capitalize on it.
In fact, in a recent Deloitte Consulting survey of CEOs across 15 industries, providing their perspectives on the impact of the COVID pandemic on their business, over 75 percent report that the crisis created significant new opportunity for their company, with an equal number agreeing that their digital transformation has been accelerated by the crisis. They see the opportunity amidst the uncertainty and have capitalized on it.
Here are some valuable areas in which technology providers, like TIBA Parking Systems – a leader in connected, engaged parking solutions – have given market expanded offerings and enabled more flexibility to customers. In turn this has helped them differentiate operations to rise above the noise in crowded markets. These areas are:
Technology Deployment models
Companies have many options of how they want to deploy technology. Based on their IT infrastructure, security requirements and facility needs, choosing how to run systems, store data, and lock down networks is never a one-size-fits-all endeavor. That is why the parking technology leaders allow complete flexibility in how customer PARCS systems are deployed. Whether totally cloud-based, on-premise, or a hybrid model that takes the best of both options, enabling the flexibility to decide what infrastructure server deployment model best suits your operations is a differentiation that few can offer – but the ones that can offer it stand out above the rest.
Purchase Finance Options
Companies have different priorities when managing finances. Understanding and acknowledging that different options are important when making purchase decisions is critical. Whether its a higher priority to keep capital expenses in check or track and lower operational expenses, parking operators need to invest in technology that affords greater flexibility in terms of payment/finance models, such as:
● CapEx investment – purchase the equipment outright and paying a multi-year software license and service fee; ● Hardware purchase/Saas subscription – purchasing the equipment outright, but paying a monthly Software as a service (SaaS) subscription, or; ● New Parking as a Service (PaaS) from trusted providers like TIBA - A no-upfront CapEx model with full hardware AND software subscription offering.
The PaaS model, which is becoming more and more appealing to operators and ownership groups, significantly lowers the barrier to technology adoption by providing a simple monthly subscription across the entire purchase scope.
Rigid technology platforms and solutions that offer “boxed up” functionality and fail to address individual facility dynamics simply don’t work in this day and age. We live in a personalized economy. Systems that can be easily configured to a broad spectrum of scenarios and customer needs – coupled with the ability to easily tap in to integration partnerships through a vast eco-system of best-in-class point technology providers that enable enhanced functionality – is key in order to extend the value of the platform. Forward-thinking solution providers, like TIBA, offer the configurability and the capacity to tailor an end-to-end solution to each location's needs plus the ability to expand as future needs evolve.
Most consumers are picky about who, when, and how they communicate with their vendor partners. Providing flexibility in contact points, allows them to choose the method that suits them and provides a more personalized experience. Over the last 5 years, some in the parking area have discounted the value of a local presence in the market, while touting the direct sales and self-support models of business. However, industry thrives on choice. Building a trusted local relationship through value added regional partners for all interactions is still highly valued, in addition to the ability to directly interact with the corporate product company.
Companies like TIBA Parking Systems see the writing on the wall. The parking and mobility industries have been changing for a while based on the expectations of both end-users (parkers) and operators, and 2020 has only accelerated that change.
Flexibility across the value chain is vital for operators to prepare for the surge in demand post-pandemic: understanding when customers want to park and how to serve up the best parking experience. Companies need to address this in their business models and to seize on the opportunity and move to gain key advantages amidst turmoil in the market. Strong partners and flexibility are the keys to success!