Parking Permit Management Software
The benefits of moving your parking permit management software to the cloud
In a previous article, we talked about parking permit systems and highlighted what they do, who uses them, and why they are used. In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of using parking permit management software via Software as a Service (SaaS).
Globally, parking permits are used to authorise vehicle access to managed locations. Traditionally, large car park operators have used parking permit software to ease the burden on their staff when managing permit applications, approvals, and enforcement.
Moving into the cloud
In recent years, many parking management businesses have moved their traditional software systems to web-hosted applications. These web applications run on virtual computers, typically referred to as ‘the cloud’.
What is the cloud?
You will almost certainly have seen or heard ‘the cloud’ mentioned in the media, and you probably understand that this phrase refers to the internet, but you may still be wondering, what exactly is the cloud?
The term ‘the cloud’ describes a virtual version of traditional computer hardware that, in the past, was hosted in data centres as groups of networked servers. While data centres still exist, now they are used to provide ‘virtual infrastructure’ services. So, the next question you may ask is, what on earth is virtual infrastructure?
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What is virtual infrastructure?
Physical servers, computer devices, networks, and other connected computing equipment are commonly referred to as infrastructure. As we just mentioned, large-scale traditional infrastructure is managed from data centres that are connected to the internet.
Amazon was one of the first companies to develop a software system that could ‘virtualise’ real-world physical computing infrastructure. The success of Amazon drove the development of their virtual infrastructure as it needed servers that could cope with the scale of demand on its e-commerce systems, especially at busy times like Black Friday sales. After Amazon developed their in-house virtual infrastructure, it realised it could offer it to other businesses as a service. This was one of the first offerings of Software as a Service (SaaS).
Many large technology companies followed Amazon’s lead and developed similar cloud infrastructure SaaS services. These services are designed to run software systems at low cost with built-in security and the ability to scale when user demand increases. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are now three of the most popular cloud technology service providers. Their virtual infrastructure runs millions of websites and web applications, all served over the internet.
Why do I need cloud infrastructure for parking management?
Businesses that used to run their permit management systems on their in-house server have seen the benefits of migrating their software to cloud-based services. They no longer need to maintain physical hardware, apply software updates, or employ on-site IT staff.
Modern parking permit software can be delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Web-based permit management solutions offer the resilience of not being reliant on on-site servers. SaaS systems use automatic error-handling functions that can instantly move current system users to a whole new server if the one they’re using fails for some reason. Similarly, if your parking permit software server begins to get overloaded from large volumes of users, the SaaS system can instantly create another ‘virtual’ server and direct your users to that server, this is referred to as ‘scaling’ or ‘scalability’.
Legacy parking permit technology
Technology companies that serve different industries have developed systems that run on virtual infrastructure, providing SaaS solutions that solve all sorts of business problems.
However, in the parking technology sector, not all providers of permit management software offer solutions designed to run in the cloud. Many providers offer the same, slightly modified, permit management software that used to run on-site, serving it to customers from a virtual server instead of a physical server.
These offerings are shortcuts taken by permit software providers so that they can offer a ‘cloud’ service. However, because the software hasn’t actually changed that much, it can still have the same limitations, such as:
- limited scalability due to its legacy design
- relying on the virtual service’s security to protect against built-in legacy security issues
- inflexible configuration, connectivity or integration ability
- only having support for specific hardware devices like cameras and barriers.
Cloud-first SaaS parking permit systems
Many organisations need the scalability, security, and flexibility features that SaaS solutions offer, and it makes sense for private parking companies to choose highly configurable cloud-based parking permit systems.
National and regional Government procurement organisations specify purchasing requirements that local authorities and Government departments must follow. These requirements often stipulate that the purchasing organisation uses a ‘cloud-first’ selection process, requiring them to select cloud solutions over on-site physical software solutions.
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The future of parking permit management software
Everything changes, all of the time, and the parking industry is no different.
In recent years, the industry has seen huge growth in the use of ANPR enforcement, cashless parking, mobile enforcement, and many other innovative parking management solutions. Leading parking technology providers continuously improve their systems to solve the problems their clients face. Cloud parking management technology has revolutionised parking operators’ ability to rapidly implement parking permit management on newly acquired sites. There is no need to install servers and software as a new system can be created in hours rather than days or weeks.
Cloud parking permit management systems don’t have to require the customer to use specific hardware, such as a specific type of ANPR camera or automatic barrier. Flexible cloud parking management systems can integrate with all sorts of smart city systems, helping to ensure traffic flow, providing forecasting analytics data, and helping with law enforcement to mention just a few benefits.
IoT (the Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are already being used to further develop parking permit software systems. As smart cities grow, we will see parking management systems integrated into the myriad of other smart systems providing many benefits to our communities.
How Zatpermit helps
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Read our case studies to see how car park management services solutions can help you
With over 25 years experience establishing and managing car parks, Britannia Parking is one of the most respected operators in the UK with a client base that includes Waitrose, The John Lewis Partnership, Liverpool Victoria, Savills and Greene King.
HX Car Park Management
HX Car Park Management Limited is the UK’s one-stop parking management company who operate nationwide and are based in West Yorkshire.
Napier Parking have used technology provided by ZatPark to streamline its customer service with convenient payment and appeals options available via online web portals
NCPS core strength is to provide bespoke solutions incorporating best in breed IT systems.
North East Lincolnshire
North East Lincolnshire Council is a local authority serving 160,000 people. The Parking Service at NELC is delivered through a regeneration partnership with EQUANS Services Limited.