Q1. What technology does 2020 Data Lab provide?
A1: We’ve looked at the limitations of ANPR and come up with ANPR+ to provide car park management solutions which ANPR cannot cover such as providing customer only parking, preventing infringement parking and providing car park data.
Q2. How does your ANPR+ technology differ to the current ANPR car park management solution?
A2: With ANPR, the driver of a car only has to adhere to the time duration limit of a car park. Legacy ANPR technology CANNOT detect if they are a customer and enter a store. ANPR+ not only registers the car number plate and the entry / exit times but it also takes this further by recording video feeds to check if the car passengers visit the store.
Q3. Can you give me an example?
A3: Imagine a scenario where a driver parks their car in a car park owned by “Store 1” but then walks off-site to shop at “Store 2” before returning to their car and driving off. As long as the driver doesn’t overstay the time limit of the car park then current technology cannot help “Store 1” keep their car park spaces free for “Store 1”-only customers, much less prevent the competitions’ customers from parking in their spaces! With ANPR+, we can identify non-customer usage of car parks.
Q4. How can you prove that the customer has not shopped within the store?
A4: The ANPR+ system includes a video of the motorist from the time when they park and leave their car until they go directly off-site without visiting the store. It also shows the same in reverse when the car leaves i.e. ANPR+ shows that the motorist has come from off-site directly before they get back into their car.
Q5. But what happens if they walk off-site for example, to get some money from a cash machine before visiting the store?
A5: That’s precisely why our system checks where the motorist goes when they park their car AND also where they have come from before re-entering the car and leave the car park. By checking for both directions we know if the motorist is a genuine customer.
Q6. That’s good. As long as the motorist shops at the store at some point they are deemed a customer but using your scenario from before, would “Store 1” be happy if their customers first shopped at “Store 2” before entering their store?
A6: That would depend on the store’s policy. We can provide the technology so that the store owners can decide if they consider any time off-site is a problem for them. On most sites, we would recommend that as long as the motorist has entered the store then no ticket be issued since we do not follow them after they have left the car park and cannot know what their reason would be for being off-site.
Q7. What if someone goes into the store but doesn’t make a purchase. If they don’t have a receipt wouldn’t they be deemed a non-customer?
A7: Lots of people browse before making a purchase at a later date. That’s why we have created our technology to consider a customer as somebody who simply enters and leaves a store.
Q8. So, I no longer need to purchase a ticket from a machine and then get the cost of it reimbursed by a cashier inside the store?
A8: That’s right. No more inconvenience of needing loose change to purchase a ticket or fumbling around your pockets for a lost ticket!
Q9. Ok. I get it but what would happen if a car has more than one passenger whereby one person goes into the store but another passenger goes off-site?
A9: As long as one of the passengers goes to the store then that’s fine. Our system follows both passengers and will still detect a passenger getting out of the car and directly entering the store (or vice-versa). This would satisfy customer-only parking rules and so a ticket would not need to be issued.
Q10. What happens if you lose the video feed of a person or a car behind a large vehicle or object? How are they then picked up and tracked again?
A10: That depends on how large the vehicle is as well as how busy the car park is. It is possible that we could lose some people or cars some of the time if our cameras are blocked. We will have multiple cameras in different parts of the car park so this will only happen rarely.
Q11. But wouldn’t that potentially highlight a non-customer scenario in error?
A11: If there is ever any uncertainty about the full evidence required to highlight a non-customer then the quality control checks we have in place will determine that no infringement has occurred.
Q12. What if a vehicle breaks down in the car park and the driver doesn’t enter the store?
A12: Regardless of any system, we would always encourage the driver of a broken-down car to notify the store management of their predicament. As long as the driver goes into the store they wouldn’t be classed as a non-customer.
Q13. What if a car returns to the same car park several times a day? I’ve heard stories where only the first entry and last exit are considered when calculating the duration of time spent at the car park
A13: Unlike legacy ANPR, we have video footage so that we can not only track the car coming in and out of the car park but we can also demonstrate where it was parked at all times in between.
Q14. In that case, the driver of a car can re-visit a car park as many times as they want without being penalised?
A14: Not quite. As long as they go to the store each time they visit, either on arrival or before departure, then they will be considered as a customer. The system is designed to manage car parks for customers and eliminate visitors who shop at the store one time but then expect to be able to use the car park multiple times during the day as a non-customer.
Q15. You mentioned earlier that ANPR+ can also prevent infringement parking. How does that work?
A15: With our patent pending technology, we are able to detect if a vehicle parks in a place outside of a parking bay. For example, if a vehicle parks on a hatched area or on a double yellow line, we will be able to identify this.
Q16. What about if a vehicle parks on a parent and toddler bay but doesn’t have any children with them?
A16: Parent and toddler car park spaces are designed to be used only by genuine customers who carry their small children with them so as to make their customer experience easier. Our technology is able to identify visitors who wrongly park in these reserved spaces.
Q17. With the identification of infringements and non-customer parking, do you consider your technology to be more of a revenue stream than a management information tool?
A17: We provide the technology so that car parks can be used fairly and correctly by genuine customers. We partner with Car Park Operators to implement any penalty scheme the site owners may choose. However, at 2020 Data Lab we are more concerned about the data and range of management information we can provide.
Q18. So, it’s all about the data for you?
A18: That’s right. We believe ANPR+ to be a management information tool. It is a tool for the site owners as well as the operators to manage their sites because they will now have a better idea of what is happening and when.
Q19. Hence the name 2020 Data Lab?
A19: That’s exactly it. We have invested heavily in Research and Development so that we can provide a significant tool for operators to manage sites that previously were not accessible because of the limitations of basic ANPR and costly foot patrol solutions. Part of the management may well be an additional revenue stream but the objective is to provide data for better management of the car parks.
Q20. Can you give me some examples of data that you can provide with your technology?
A20: Just a few examples of data we can provide includes data such as the identification of which store visitors first enter in large multiple store car park sites; which stores are directly linked (“from where to where” analysis); parking heat maps, profiles of repeat visitors and the determination of the optimum maximum duration length.
Q21. What is the set-up / maintenance cost if this were the case and how would the statistics be reported
A21: Setup and maintenance costs will be determined following an initial site survey and will feature in our site report. Statistics are delivered automatically usually twice monthly.
Q22. Would this work on all car parking sizes?
A22: Every site is different and is subject to a unique survey by our experienced team. It will work well on the vast majority of car parks but possibly may not be suited to others e.g. where there are multiple entry / exit points. We will always advise when we think ANPR+ is not commercially viable.
Q23. Is ANPR+ designed just for retail parks?
A23: No. ANPR+ works equally well on industrial parks, business parks and petrol forecourts. Historically, lack of technology has meant these difficult sites could not be managed without manual foot patrols. With ANPR+, we can now provide automatic car parking management solutions for all of these types of sites.