Victor Hill, CAPP, Account Manager
T2’s Parking Perspectives series draws from the experiences of T2ers that have previously worked in parking departments at universities, municipalities, and operators, including many who are former T2 customers. From this experience comes a level of expertise that understands parking and mobility from a holistic perspective, helping us provide better service and solutions to our customers.
I was a spousal hire.
That’s the short version of how I got into parking more than eight years ago. The less self-deprecating one is that my wife and I joined University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She’s a human resources professional and I got hired for the new parking manager position after the police chief and I hit it off. I worked in the fire service and forest service for 10 years, so he agreed to show me the ropes of the parking industry. I immersed myself in it and, especially, its technologies.
License plate recognition (LPR) changed everything about our operation, and I’ve tried to carry the lessons I learned into conversations with our customers. Prior to my departure, I absorbed everything I could learn about occupancy counting systems and options for curb management with the goal of staying on top of the latest technologies and their potential implications.
But technology only goes so far without strong policies and support from leadership. In the eight years I’ve been in parking, I’ve seen countless examples of organizations that embrace technology, only to see it poorly implemented or unsupported. A new meter is only good if it’s installed and configured properly. LPR only improves an operation if policies are updated and end users are educated.
Here are three takeaways from my first year at T2 Systems on how to successfully implement new parking technology:
Getting buy-in from leadership for new projects is easier said than done. Moving from hangtags to a plate-based permitting model sounds like a no-brainer, and it mostly was where I came from, but it’s an eye-opener to see varying degrees of resistance to that change. The initial cost of entry into LPR isn’t even the primary hang-up I’ve observed. Long-term policy implications, behavior changes for backing in or pulling through spaces, and the option of vanity plates have dominated the conversations I’ve had about LPR.
LPR is only one example, though, and my solution for buy-in is pretty direct:
- Compile best practices and research to help make your case.
- Illustrate efficiency and revenue gains with examples that relate to your operation.
- Challenge us to help you make your case, and ask your Account Manager for suggestions about policy adjustments that can ease the burden of end user buy-in.
- Use Communities to pick your colleagues’ brains, too.
A lack of planning can inhibit an operation and produce an almost domino-like effect of challenges, especially where technology is concerned. What’s your vision for the next three to five years and how does it tie into your organization’s strategic plan? If you’re pursuing contactless payment solutions, what are you doing with your existing hardware? The pandemic prompted a critical look at this new reality, and it’s just as important to plan for the future implications and question whether these seemingly good ideas will, potentially, exclude some end users.
One of the reasons I love working at T2 is the collective desire we have to see our customers succeed. Walk us through your vision so we can provide the right solutions that set you up for continued, future success. If your goal is to get rid of hangtags, let’s figure out the right way to make it happen because your obstacles may be different than the ones I faced.
I love how easy it is to upgrade our hardware. In my experience with T2 Pay Stations, swapping modems, card readers, or controllers only takes a few minutes. More importantly, it keeps them relevant.
Viability for the long term is vital. Throughout my career, I’ve seen numerous examples of organizations that got sold on solutions that didn’t have a path for upgrades or enhancements. T2’s solutions work together for the long-term and with our partner integrators. I know this because I’ve seen them in practice, and that viability informed my decision to be here.
Consider your expectations for your hardware and software. What’s the frequency of updates? What costs can you expect to maintain your solutions? These questions are two of the many reasons we constantly update and share our roadmap and invite you to Connect every year.
Technology evolves. Research it to set your organization up for success. Reach out to us about your goals and needs, and we’ll help you find the right solutions.
We’re better together.
Victor is T2’s Account Manager for the east region. He is an unabashed LPR evangelist and enjoys sharing best-practice ideas based on his experiences. Victor is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has too many hobbies and is finally getting around to a long list of woodworking projects.