It’s been a very busy quarter, particularly in terms of industry events, the biggest of which, Parkex, took place in early June and we were delighted to exhibit there again.
The BPA’s flagship conference and exhibition was back after a two-year hiatus and the Zatpark team was there in force with 28 members of the team in bright orange T-shirts over the full three days. With great attendance from our industry peers, clients, and suppliers, it was fantastic to see the industry out in force and to enjoy so many informal chats and chance meetings. For the first time at Parkex the fantastic team behind the Women in Parking initiative held a session and reception which was well attended, thought-provoking and an enjoyable culmination of the second day. This is an initiative we wholeheartedly support and we welcome the debate it is raising with the industry.
I was also very happy to participate as a panellist to discuss the Code of Practice, which as you’ll probably appreciate was a challenging session as the future of the Code is even more unclear following its temporary withdrawal by Government pending review of the levels of private parking charges and additional fees. We have followed progress closely and will continue to do that and play our part in helping the industry to reach a resolution. We are of the opinion that the increased transparency and standardisation of the rules the Code provided are a good move for the industry, with increasing use of technology to provide clarity to motorists of enforcement practices and processes. We are continuing to work internally on scoping likely solutions and services in line with the code and its likely evolutions allowing Zatpark clients to work toward complying as soon as required. The code is not going away, we have merely had an extension to the homework deadline.
The fun yet tiring week of Parkex was closely followed by Landor Links’ Enforcement Summit. We shared some insights from our recent experience of working with North East Lincolnshire council, presenting about the requirement for local authorities to have strong partners and strong communities and on how to take a ‘digital first’ approach to streamlining systems and processes when it comes to environmental and parking enforcement, I took the opportunity to talk about data and in particular data science and how it will become increasingly important as front and back end services are integrated and configured for better reporting and more effective results.
For many clients Zatpark is the central hub of their data world, integrating the different technologies and tools they use. As volumes of data increase the ability to extract knowledge and information from across those structured and unstructured sources becomes increasingly important and necessary to maintain competitive advantage. One of the biggest sources of data we manage for clients is ANPR movements and images. Each month we process over 50 million vehicle movements, utilising Google cloud infrastructure to deliver those movements securely and quickly to the client account.
The Private parking community is a driver for innovation within the industry, whilst it has not to date been hampered by legislation in relation to the use of ANPR technology, it has traditionally put less importance on transparency of its enforcement activities than required by public bodies. With the code of practice in mind and the general need to better communicate to all stakeholders, we are helping clients to better make use of the insights and understanding that Zatpark unlocks from across their data sets and how this can be utilised to both shape enforcement activities, to communicate the need for enforcement and also counter erroneous appeals processes.
As technology evolves we are working with partners to deliver expanded capabilities through ANPR such as bay monitoring and blue badge control providing robust and reliable enforcement even with a reduced head count. As we move towards greater usage of and convergence of parking and vehicle recharging we will see the use of technology tools to streamline customer experiences, simplifying the user journey and monitor inappropriate usage of marked bays. As legislation centralises allowing the public sector wider access to these tools the parking sector as a whole will be better able to provide balanced and transparent enforcement and improved and simplified experiences to motorists
Here at Zatpark, there has been plenty of good news over the past few months including the achievement of finalist placements in both the UK-wide Women in Tech Employer Awards and the SPARKies Awards – a regional scheme recognising excellence in the tech sector. It is gratifying to receive this recognition and it gives the entire Zatpark team credit for the hard work they do every day.
The parking industry is vibrant and evolving quickly – whilst there are, as ever, many unknowns, we are part of an exciting industry and we’re looking forward to another busy quarter.