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Secure Parking uses Microsoft’s IoT and cloud technologies to transform customer experience and make Australia’s cities future-ready

Secure Parking is one of Australia’s largest parking companies, with over 500 car parks across the country. Recently, the company made the decision to develop a new bespoke parking technology solution that would enable the rapid digitisation of its sites and provide a more consistent and seamless customer experience.

By harnessing the power of Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technologies, Secure Parking wanted to replace legacy platforms with an approach that was more reliable, scalable and connected. It also wanted to reduce operational costs, while supporting future growth opportunities and innovation in the parking sector.

To help it succeed with a project of this size and complexity, Secure Parking chose to use Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for its core backend technology platform. Today, the solution – known as ‘Voyager’ – is a fully integrated car park management platform at the centre of Secure Parking’s business systems.

Voyager currently manages over 3,000 devices, including IoT edge controllers, car park entry and exit terminals, boom gates and roller doors. It’s built entirely using the Microsoft stack, with Microsoft’s IoT and edge technology product range feeding live insights to the platform’s backend. Data is stored in Azure and the solution uses Dynamics 365 Sales for the customer interface experience.

With Voyager, Secure Parking can effectively digitise its car parks, making parking a ticketless, cashless, seamless and connected experience for its users. The revolutionary new technology is also paving the way for the parking sector to play a vital role in supporting future smart city initiatives.

A consistent customer experience

Previously, the Secure Parking experience involved customers getting a printed ticket on entry and inserting it into a cash or card machine that processed the ticket on exit. This was clunky, time-consuming and, most importantly, failed to recognise the user as an individual.

“Historically, the use of various legacy car park equipment across our sites meant customers would receive an inconsistent experience,” explains Rick Chandra, Chief Information Officer at Secure Parking.

In contrast, Voyager gives customers a low-touch, personalised and consistent experience via a mobile app and website, providing a PIN number or QR code to drive in and out quickly. The result is intuitive, simple and hassle-free.

Digital platform engagement has also increased exponentially, with more customers connecting with Secure Parking sites near them to pre-book parking spots. With the mobile app, customers can instantly see where spots are available at any given time.

One of the core objectives of Voyager is to provide our customers with the ultimate parking experience. Customers are really enjoying the real-time, seamless connectivity that Voyager brings to them.

Improved scalability and insight

Increased engagement with customers is also giving Secure Parking the opportunity to understand their customers as individuals, gaining valuable insights into shifting customer preferences, behaviours and patterns.

“As an IoT device, Voyager can intelligently collect valuable data to support improvements in customer experience,” says Chandra. “Using Microsoft’s built-in AI capabilities, we are able to derive powerful insights and opportunities for future automation.”

Voyager’s asset management platform provides front-end capabilities for Secure Parking staff to manage rates, products, promotions and all transactional activities. At the same time, the solution gives Secure Parking access to intelligent insights by connecting over 3,000 devices through backend integration with an Azure IoT-powered hub. Staff can onboard and connect new IoT devices, update device twins and manage firmware through Voyager interfaces.

The solution is also built to scale rapidly. Secure Parking is already deploying Voyager in its car parks across Australia and plans to roll it out in New Zealand by the end of 2023.

Leading innovation across the industry

With Voyager as a strong business foundation, Secure Parking is now able to explore new business opportunities that require intelligent IoT-based technologies.

At the same time, Voyager offers environmental benefits by removing paper tickets, printers and validators, and supporting sustainable options for electric vehicle charging and smart city initiatives.

The platform has also been built to allow for rapid scaling of new use cases and solutions for the company’s own technology product, allowing it to innovate at pace.

“Our reliance on third-party vendor technology meant that we weren’t always able to understand how our customers interacted with our sites, and that we couldn’t rapidly pivot to meet their changing preferences,” explains Chandra.

Now, Secure Parking can apply its decades of experience and domain knowledge of parking and the customer journey to its own technology product to shape a new kind of customer experience. Innovation can take place in a matter of days, weeks or months, rather than years.

In short, Secure Parking is at the forefront of innovation in parking, with incredible potential for use cases that leverage Voyager’s capabilities.

Voyager’s success was not only from leading with Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework, but also from strategic partnerships that brought technical expertise in Microsoft technologies.

Secure Parking is on a journey of transformation. Voyager is the first step towards shifting how the industry understands the customer journey and will inform rapid innovation going forward.