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‘Future of parking’ is here

South African startup Parket has launched an end-to-end IoT-based smart parking system that’s no-touch, cashless, and ticketless

As South Africa and the world comes to terms with hybrid working replacing the old model of full-time office-based employees, the knock-on effects have forced landlords and property investment companies to reimagine the efficient use of the commercial real estate, not least the expensive and administration-intensive management of parking bays. Now, South African technology platform Parket says it has built a seamless bridge between supply and the ever-increasing but fluid – and often temporary – demand for parking bays.

“Technology, used to solve a real problem, to connect suppliers with buyers, can fundamentally shift how things are done,” says founder and CTO Joshua Raphael.

Raphael says the genesis of the Parket platform occurred one day while watching drivers make their way up and down packed streets, negotiating peak hour traffic and paying exorbitant fees for street-side parking while, a stone’s throw away, empty indoor parkades stood unused. “I asked the question: ‘If there is so much demand and supply right next to it, what can we do to bridge this divide and monetise assets for corporates and other organisations so that dormant assets can become a source of profit?”

Parket has built this bridge, offering a product that reduces capital expenditure, while providing a fully digital and contactless interface for users of parking bays. Developed in South Africa, Parket is underpinned by license plate recognition, user QR code access technology, and smart management software, all housed in a mobile app.

Raphael says parking is currently a labour and paper-intensive exercise, not to mention expensive when considering the cost, security and maintenance of current parking management machines.

“There are spreadsheets, paper-based systems, and very expensive machines,” he says. “This platform allows landlords to allocate bays, and tenants to manage many employees with a limited number of parking bays in real-time while enabling seamless visitor access and the ability to pull up reports from a user-friendly dashboard. The added ability to sell vacant bays on a demand-led basis has proven exceptionally popular because of the profit it generates from an otherwise stagnant asset.”

While some systems manage access control and others manage the paperless hourly allocation of parking bays or a marketplace for vacant bays, Parket seamlessly integrates all these functionalities into a single interface, which is manageable with the Parket mobile app, while being 100% POPI complaint.

Raphael says that license-plate recognition is the star of the show: “The efficiency of our IoT platform is the wow factor. After entering their number plate details into the app, all scepticism disappears when they pull up to a parkade and the boom immediately opens for them. It is similar in that sense to rivals like Admyt, but extends beyond the specific malls that have integrated such solutions.

Says Raphael: “Technology allows us to reduce all the friction points and improve the customer experience immensely. The platform is exponentially more efficient. Landlords allocate parking bays, tenants allocate bays from their own allocation and then users manage their own access through inputting their license plate data using the app.”

If a business has a one-time or infrequent visitor, the QR access code can be sent via text or instant messaging for ease of access without the need to download the app. This is all traceable and landlords can reconcile when convenient.
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