Parking is a huge issue for most commuters. If you live in any of the busy cities in the world, finding a parking space can be a nightmare.
As the number of cars increases, finding a parking place for every car will get even more challenging.
While there are several strategies that companies adopt to deal with the parking issue, most of them do not have a technology layer.
With the emergence of parking management SaaS tools, we are seeing a change in this. Businesses are gradually opening up to the possibility of managing parking spaces with the help of advanced tools.
Today we will introduce you to the idea of SaaS tools for parking management. Almost all such tools are developed for enterprises, and hence, are not for retail users. If you are at the helm of parking responsibilities or are interested in learning how technology can help it, SaaS tools are an interesting area to explore.
How SaaS software can help employees park more efficiently
Before we begin the discussion of SaaS tools for parking, we need to understand what efficient parking means. We also need to recognize all the challenges that come in the way of efficient parking. Once we identify the gaps, we can better understand how SaaS tools can address them.
Challenges of parking space
While there are several challenges involved with parking and parking spaces, the core of it is due to two reasons:
a) More cars
Today there are approximately 1.3 billion cars in the world.
But the distribution of cars is highly skewed. In a third-world country, only the upper/affluent class of society has the privilege of owning motor vehicles, especially cars. In a first-world country like the United States, even those going through poverty have cars.
The culture of industrialized nations makes it imperative to have a car. While 1.3 billion cars roughly translate to 1 car every six or seven persons, the actual distribution of cars is much more uneven.
Even within prosperous countries, there is a huge disparity in the number of cars. There are way more cars in urban areas compared to rural areas. It is simply due to the fact that way more people live in urban areas than in rural towns and villages.
a) Shrinking parking spaces
The problem with parking spaces is twofold. First, you need adequate space. Second, the adequate space must be in close proximity to an establishment, be it an office or a shopping mall.
A glance at real estate prices over the years, especially in city centers, would reveal how expensive physical space has become. In turn, it has become a problem for both parking space providers and car owners. As a result, the cost of parking has increased significantly over the last several years.
As you can see, the problem with parking spaces is very basic. It’s simply over demand and under supply of parking space. While the problem is simple, the solutions to it are not. That’s where SaaS comes in.
What is SaaS?
In case you are not familiar with the term, SaaS stands for software as a service. Any software that helps you get work done is a SaaS.
In that sense, everything from Adobe Photoshop to MS Office is a SaaS solution. But in the general vocabulary, we use the word SaaS to talk about those tools that take an existing problem and offer a solution to it using technology.
SaaS for parking
Can you use technology in parking? Yes, and we have been doing it for a long time. For example, maintaining an Excel sheet with parking positions is a common practice in many companies. It is the most rudimentary form of using technology to solve a parking challenge.
Modern SaaS tools have come a long way from spreadsheets. They are more than capable of managing the entire parking ecosystem of a parking lot with minimum human intervention. It is not just an idea that sounds great. There are several SaaS tools for parking that are widely adopted by businesses and enterprises.
In the following section, we will go through the ways in which SaaS can address the parking crisis.
How can SaaS make parking easier?
First, we must take into account that SaaS tools do not factor in human negligence. If someone has parked a car poorly, SaaS tools may not be able to address that. But that’s more of an exception in today’s world. Especially in corporate environments, it is taken for granted that everyone accessing the parking space is responsible and aware of laws and norms.
SaaS brings a technological layer to the parking challenge. As a result, it accomplished two things.
Since all the processes would be taken care of by the software and ancillary hardware, the necessity of human monitoring decreases with SaaS tools.
Many of the regular tasks like keeping a record or monitoring who is entering and leaving can now be done digitally. Automation is the general direction that all modern technology strives for. SaaS tools for parking have an element of automation by definition.
a) Dynamic management
The problem with humans is that they cannot be in two places at the same time.
Cameras and lenses can be at more than two places and you would get the input in real-time. Since SaaS tools rely heavily on cameras, heat sensors, and motion sensors, they can monitor multiple physical spaces at once.
Translating this to the manual level means using more than one personnel for parking space management. Even then, the efficiency would not be anywhere close to that of cameras and sensors.
These are the two fundamental principles that help SaaS companies develop parking solutions. The best SaaS parking tools presently available make the most of automation and dynamic management.
Let’s take an example to better understand the software and its functions.
Suppose your office follows a first-come, first-serve rule for parking management. However, an employee of yours is an expecting mother and she does not have the option of using public transport. With the help of a SaaS parking solution, you can assign a pass to her vehicle’s number and reserve a spot for her. All of this is done without the physical reserved signs or employees monitoring who’s driving.
This is only a simple scenario that SaaS parking tools can solve. As we’ll discuss now, SaaS parking solutions are capable of much more than that.
Features of SaaS parking software
Companies or offices of any size can benefit from using SaaS parking tools. Here’s how.
a) Integrated data
SaaS parking software gives you access to everything you need to know about your parking space and the cars in it in one place. You can think of it as a much more advanced spreadsheet that gives you details of each car, how long they have been in the parking lot, when they entered, when they left, and so on.
Having access to all your data in the same place is a great thing from a managerial perspective. It gives you the ability to make key decisions in stressful situations.
b) Conflict resolution
Parking can be a reason for conflict very often. In a corporate environment, conflict is something you should try to avoid at all times. It can severely damage the office culture and lead to petty issues taking a much bigger shape.
With parking management tools, you can resolve any conflict before it even happens. Even when you come across a situation of conflict, the consolidated database will make it much easier to make a quick decision.
c) Remote monitoring
Remote monitoring may not feel relevant now, but it was a very relevant feature during the Covid-19 lockdowns. The ability to remotely manage a parking space was unthinkable even a few years ago. Today it is 100% possible to manage a parking space from a different location.
d) Traditional parking solutions
The conventional solutions to the parking issue mostly revolve around policies for parking. Some of the most common policies are first come first serve, assigning dedicated spaces, a mixture of both, parking credit, and paid parking. You can learn more about these techniques here.
The problem with these traditional parking policies is that none of them are full-proof. For example, assigning dedicated spaces makes it unfair for employees who are not high up on the ladder. In the first-come, first-serve policy, employees who live afar or have family obligations are not treated justifiably. No matter which policy you adopt, there will always be some gaps.
SaaS tools for parking make it possible to address all these gaps at once. If you are still sticking to conventional parking policies for employees, it’s time to make a switch.
Various features and functionalities of SaaS parking tools are still under development, and anything we discuss now can become much better in the coming years.
If you are looking for a tech-based answer to all the parking challenges of your company, SaaS parking software might be the answer.
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Content Manager with a Fortune 1 retail giant. She is passionate about writing and helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She loves to read, travel, and experiment with different cuisines in her free time. You can follow her on LinkedIn.