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 use of their real estate – including thousands of unused parking bays.
A poll conducted by BusinessTech at the start of June shows that workers in South Africa are still heavily split on a full return to the office, with more than half of respondents still working from home or in a hybrid format.
South African startup Parket aims to address this issue by allowing companies to sell their empty parking bays in areas where on-street parking has traditionally been difficult to find.
Founder and chief technical officer Joshua Raphael said the genesis of the Parket 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?”
“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,” said Raphael.
How it works
The system works through a number of smart technologies including licence plate recognition features, a management tool which tracks and allocates in real-time, and security features such as QR codes which give access to the parking bays
While some systems manage access control and others manage the paperless hourly allocation of parking bays or a marketplace for vacant bays, Parket integrates all these functionalities into a single interface through a mobile app, Raphael said.
He added that while the biggest drawcard of the platform is no doubt this seamless, real-time management of the full parking ecosystem, the 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, and this amazes people.”
He added that the license plate recognition devices and software are important, because most landowners, or their tenants, have countless headaches having to deal with lost access cards, new cars and the sharing of access tags or cards.
“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.”
He added that 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. Again, this is all traceable and landlords can reconcile when convenient, he said.