As South Africa and the world come to terms with hybrid work replacing the old model of full-time office workers, the knock-on effects have forced landlords and real estate investment companies to reconsider the use of their properties – including thousands of unused parking spaces.
A survey conducted by BusinessTech in early June shows that workers in South Africa are still heavy Splits towards a full return to the office, with more than half of those surveyed still working from home or in a hybrid format.
South African start-up Parket aims to tackle this problem by allowing companies to sell their empty parking bays in areas where street parking has traditionally been hard to find.
Founder and Chief Technical Officer Joshua Raphael said the creation of the Parket happened one day while watching motorists zipping up and down crowded streets, navigating rush-hour traffic and paying exorbitant fees for curb parking while only a stone’s throw away empty parking garages stood unused.
“I asked the question, ‘If there’s so much demand and supply right next to it, what can we do to bridge that gap and monetize assets for businesses and other organizations so that dormant assets can become a source of profit?”
“This platform allows landlords to allocate parking spaces and tenants to manage many employees with a limited number of parking spaces in real time, while providing seamless visitor access and the ability to pull reports from an easy-to-use dashboard. The additional opportunity to sell empty bays on demand has proven extremely popular due to the profit it generates from an otherwise stagnant asset,” said Raphael.
How it works
The system works with a range of intelligent technologies, including number plate recognition functions, a management tool that tracks and assigns in real time, and security features such as QR codes that allow access to parking bays
While some systems manage access control and others manage paperless hourly parking slot assignments or a marketplace for vacant spaces, Parket integrates all of these functionalities into a single interface via a mobile app, Raphael said.
He added that while the platform’s biggest draw is undoubtedly this seamless, real-time management of the entire parking ecosystem, license plate recognition is the star of the show.
“The efficiency of our IoT platform is the ‘wow factor’. After entering their license plate information into the app, all skepticism vanishes when they pull up at a parking garage and the boom immediately opens for them, baffling people.
He added that the number plate recognition devices and software are important as most homeowners or their tenants have countless headaches when dealing with lost access cards, new cars and sharing access tokens or cards.
“Technology allows us to reduce all points of friction and improve the customer experience immensely. The platform is exponentially more efficient. Landlords allocate parking spaces, tenants allocate parking spaces from their own allotment and users then manage their access themselves by entering their license plate data via the app.”
He added that if a business has a one-time or infrequent visitor, the QR access code can be sent via SMS or instant messaging for easier access without the need to download the app. Again, this is all understandable and landlords can reconcile if necessary, he said.
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