Many garages and parking lots that are in the sole business of providing parking space for their customers are using smart parking solutions. Most of these systems have automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) cameras as their central operational element.
If you’re in the parking business but aren’t yet using such a system, it may be worth your while to explore the benefits you can enjoy, including but not limited to:
- Reduced labor costs
- More efficient handling of transient parkers thanks to not needing time-stamped tickets or other paper items
- Simplified handling of contract customers: no windshield or bumper stickers;
- your system will be invisible to users, except for paying their periodic charges
- Smoother flow in/out of your facility, resulting in reduced congestion from those waiting to enter
- And all pros of all the above improvements, such as lower costs, more revenue, and happier customers.
Aside from parking garages and lots, many other businesses can benefit from the same technology that powers parking systems, whether or not your customers are parking. We’ll tell you about a few enjoying these benefits and how their business operations were streamlined thanks to the tools of Adaptive Recognition, a developer and innovator of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology since 1991.
Grocery Store Smooths the Experience of Customers Picking up Pre-Orders
Since 2021, a grocery store in Oslo, Norway, of the chain StrongPoint has been providing automated pick-up points for retail grocery chains in Scandinavia.
Due to the convenience for customers of placing grocery orders online and picking them up at the store, this service has become increasingly popular. The COVID-related concern about human contact further accelerated the growth of the service. However, some stores began to face a major problem: customers’ cars waiting in long lines to pick up their orders. As a result, customers got frustrated, and congestion on the street became a nuisance for passing motorists and traffic control authorities.
To improve the flow of cars waiting to pick up orders and add even more convenience, StrongPoint initiated a new system asking customers to enter their mobile phone numbers when placing their orders. The store then sends a text message to the customer when their order is ready to pick up and asks them to enter their car’s license plate number. When they enter the store’s parking lot, an ANPR camera recognizes their vehicle, and their order is brought to the loading area.
The new system, using technology similar to a smart parking solution, has been a major win for all participants for a wide variety of reasons:
- Customers can pick up their orders much faster
- Since the camera records the cars in the order they arrive, the store’s staff always has the correct order ready to be loaded into the next car in line
- Human-to-human contact is minimized since the store employee loads the order into the customer’s car without the drivers and their passengers getting out. And since the customer already paid for the order online, no cash or credit card exchange is necessary
- Street and store lot congestion is reduced since cars enter and leave within two or three minutes instead of five to ten minutes.
The technology used for this arrangement is identical to that used in smart parking solutions. A great benefit of ANPR cameras is that, once they have read a plate number, the data can be used for any purpose where identifying vehicles is useful, proving how versatile this technology can be.
A Truly Touch-Free Car-Wash Experience in Finland
Many car-washes in the world advertise “touch-free” service, referring to the fact that nothing but soap and water touch your car. However, you still have to use cash or credit card in a machine and select the level of service you want, making the whole touch-free experience pointless.
At three Autopesupaikat.fi car-wash locations in Finland, you can have your car washed without even getting out of the driver’s seat, handling a credit card or cash, or lowering a window. Instead, you go to the website, select the service you want, and pay for it from your home or smartphone. A key detail is that you also enter your license plate number.
When you arrive at the car-wash location, an ANPR camera recognizes your car, and you sit in comfort while your car is washed, dried, waxed, or whatever you ordered. Then you drive away in your clean car.
Once again, the technology used here is the same as in a smart parking solution. What’s different is the application, namely what’s done with the plate number when the camera has read it.
Wellington Landfill Operator Automates Operation With ANPR Cameras
When a customer enters the Southern Landfill and Recycle Center in Wellington, New Zealand, to deposit a trunk full or a truck full of trash, an ANPR camera reads their license plate. It opens a computerized record linked to that plate number, just as a smart parking solution would when a car enters a parking garage. Then the vehicle drives over a scale, and weight is recorded and added to the plate-linked data.
After unloading their waste, the customer’s vehicle passes another camera and a scale that records their unloaded weight, adding the new data to their previously established record. The difference between the entry and exit weights generates a charge. The driver can pay upon exiting the site. If they’re a regular user, they may have established a credit card- or bank account-linked automatic payment arrangement, and the charge is deducted from that account.
Focus Digital Security Solutions built this efficient system for Wellington City Council, which operates the landfill. The cameras of Adaptive Recognition used there are similar to those implemented in smart parking solutions. The difference is linking the license plate data to the scales and charge-by-weight calculator.
Adaptive Recognition supplies the ANPR cameras used in all the applications we’ve discussed. They’ve been developing and improving plate-recognition technology since 1991. Smart parking solutions enabled by these cameras are great examples of their capability, but the potential applications go far beyond parking systems. The only limit to how you might use it to improve and streamline your business is your imagination.
Visit the website of Adaptive Recognition to learn more about how their technology works and discuss your unique ideas and needs.