Manual and auto-read on-line systems pave the way for added revenue for installing companies. New co

In the security industry, there is an undeniable amount of crossover taking place with regard to technology. The key word to describe this crossover is integration. Today, more installing companies are acknowledging the fact that offering customers a “total package” is a competitive niche, especially for independent, local companies.

The parking industry, for example, has become an untapped market for companies that specialize in access control. Parking control companies are doing the opposite ¾ integrating their technology with CCTV.

What should you consider before engaging in this type of market? The most critical thing is to do your homework. There are different types of systems that you need to familiarize yourself with, such as manual systems vs. auto-read systems. Also, choosing a vendor that is innovative and well-established is critical to success.

User-Friendly Software Sparks Client Interest

The computer age has definitely transformed the parking control industry. As more systems become software based, more clients are becoming computer literate.

“Nowadays, Windows™-based software is the type of system that everyone wants,” says Dan Floyd, president and owner of Signature Control Systems Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. “There’s a desire to create these packages in an open architectural format, so that other types of software packages can be integrated.”

For example, some accounts receivable packages available on the market today integrate with a parking facility management system, enabling end users to do monthly card-holder billing.

Typical Parking System Is Computerized

A typical parking garage installation consists of a computerized, on-line system that is available in two basic types: manual time and date and auto-read.

The first type is a time and date manual system. Vincent P. Cloutier, president of Wescor Parking Controls Inc. in Auburn, Mass., says this manual system is more commonly found in older construction.

He says, “If you’re a transient parker, you would enter the facility, take a ticket upon entering, and at the exit lane, surrender the ticket to the attendant. The attendant would look at the ticket and imprinted on it would be a time and date.”

If it’s the same day that the ticket is issued, the attendant doesn’t have to do anything. However, if it’s more than a day, the attendant enters the date into a fee computer that calculates the total, and then the cashier collects the amount from the patron.

“In new construction, it’s a rarity to see a manual time and date system – although some people still [utilize it] for whatever reason,” says Cloutier. “Maybe it’s a garage that does not have a very high transient rate.”

New Construction Moves to Auto-Read

Today, new construction has adopted another type of technology called, auto-read systems. Auto-read systems operate in the same vein as manual systems. Again, a vehicle enters the parking facility and takes a ticket from the dispenser. There are two types of auto-read units, bar-code and magnetic-stripe.

“As far as our company in the next five years, we will continue to grow and become more technical in nature,” says Floyd. “I believe if these cities in downtown areas continue to develop, you’ll see more parking facilities rather than surface lots, because I think there’s been a desire to stop taking up so much green space.”

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