Technology in Parking – A Security Challenge
By Cynthia Lang, CAPP, MPA
Data analytics, enforcement, occupancy, turnover rate, way finding, and parking management share a need for technology. The answers to parking’s most basic questions retrieved by using tools capable of producing data points at the push of a button or creating dashboards displaying current parking operation situational awareness is supported by technology.
There are options for everything from cloud-based systems to in-ground sensors and gateless entrances, yet our current parking office uses none of these options. When asked, the discussion returns to one point – security. The concerns include: how will the system connect? Will it require access to the internal network? Who maintains the software? Where will the software reside, on the organization’s network or the vendor’s network? How is the data secured? Those of you reading this are probably thinking there are hundreds of solutions on the market capable of delivering this service. The number of systems on the market has never been the issue. The issue is convincing the organization the system will protect customer data, and if allowed to connect to the internal network, will not compromise or open the network to breaches.
Until management can be convinced, the parking team will continue to conduct weekly physical counts to gather data for occupancy. Current staffing does not support the ability to ascertain turnover rates, which would assist in answering the question: how many customers can park before the lots are full? The best data available is historical data combined with assumptions to provide management with the parking analysis required. An upgrade will occur when management and security’s questions are answered and their security concerns are lessened.