How Royal Parking Services, a Vancouver based parking lot management company went from a paper & pen company to a technology-based mobile-driven company.
Wifi & Data
Royal Parking Services is a Vancouver based Parking Facilities Management company. Not only do they patrol parking lots around the BC lower mainland they also manage the properties such as keeping them clean, assisting with issues such as locked keys, providing parking support and guidance during events, cleanliness of the facilities, etc.
One of the key revenue sources for Royal Parking is through enforcement of parking lots, i.e, by way of collecting fees from vehicle owners that violate the rules of the parking lots they manage. At the time that Royal Parking engaged us, they were enforcing using a traditional pen and paper. Royal Parking’s officers would walk around the parking lot identify the violating vehicle, fill out a pre-printed form with the necessary violation information and leave the notice on the window of the violating vehicle.
In Vancouver it rains on an average of 165 days ~ 45% of the year. Parking lots in strip malls, suburban areas, small shopping complexes, banking and restaurant facilities are most often exposed to the elements and thus the paper and pen-based violation notices tend to pose some practical issues.
Hence Royal Parking wanted to address the potential loss in revenue-building a technology solution whereby;
Violation notices can be printed on waterproof paper
Save to the Cloud
Have the violation notices saved on the cloud
Have the violation notices be created on a mobile device
Easy To Read
Information on the notices is typed legibly that can be easily read by everyone (both customer and Back-office users)
No Steep Learning Curve
The technology, especially hardware did not have to cumbersome and to use something that parking enforcement officers were already familiar with and did not require a steep learning curve.
The following were design and solution considerations,
Source a Waterproof paper, Paper had to be thermal printer-friendly such that it can withstand the natural elements
Thermal Wireless Printer
Source a thermal wireless printer, preferably Bluetooth (low energy consumption device) that can print on Waterproof printer
Wifi & Data Access
Not every parking lot had access to a wifi or had strong data signals to allow for violation notices to be written to the cloud
Back Office Team Access
Once written to the cloud, how shall the back office admin who are not mobile but desktop/laptop driven office get access to the information and process it
And for confidentiality purposes, cannot describe the other challenges within the back office. Suffice to say there were, and those need to be addressed.
What Did Redlizard Design & Build
We designed a mobile app that can be easily deployed on any android device. Since the app was going to be used by a limited and controlled group of employees, it was easy to limit to one platform. For its ease of development, cost of devices, ease of deployment (such as did not have to go through major hoops at the app approval levels) we chose Android.
A mobile app that gave us the right amount of control to connect, manage and use a Thermal bluetooth printer that was lightweight for use outside. Redlizard Studioz also worked closely with Royal Parking to source the printer, source the paper and test the paper as well. Redlizard worked closely with the 3rd party suppliers such as printer manufacturer and paper manufacturer and paper printer to design and deliver one coherent solution.
How did we build it?
A native android mobile app was developed. As the native sdk gave ample access to control the printer, wifi, data and other peripherals that were needed. At the time that the solution was designed, PWA’s were just a concept and hence leveraging PWA was not an option. In light of today’s state of PWA, we would strongly consider building a PWA app for a similar solution as we think it provides greater flexibility, ease of use, scale and a quicker turn around time to developing the same solution.
- Native Android Device Data Store
- Custom API
- Native Android SDK
Native Android App
Connectivity between Bluetooth Printer and Mobile App
Online & Offline use of the mobile app
A PHP cloud based web backend that would interface between the mobile app in the field and the back office team
Some advanced functionality and capability on the backend application that we cannot disclose for confidentiality reasons.
Due to confidentiality clauses, we cannot divulge the architectural design. Suffice to say nothing overtly complicated was required for the solution and hence it was relatively easy to conceptualize and build.
- PHP Developers
- DB Developer
- Native Android Developers
- Software Testers
- UI/UX Designer
Royal Parking has been using the mobile app and printer for nearly 1/2 a decade now
Very little maintenance had to be done to the infrastructure.
Royal Parking has been enjoying smooth business operations and is considering enhancing its business use of technology that is in line with its business growth.
Ease of Use
There has been no significant development or changes required to either the native app or the back office web-based solution
Safe & Secure
The solution thus far has not been compromised
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Royal Parking, a Vancouver based parking lot management company wanted an upgrade to their website.