Electronic Locks Emerge As Go-To Solution for Parking
By Brad Smith
Security has long been a high priority in parking system management. But the emergence of new security technologies supplements physical security with advanced data analytics and access control to boost operating efficiencies and, therefore, return on investment.
New technologies allow the implementation of a single-key system – one key that provides parking departments with carefully managed access to all parking meters (single-space and multi-space), plus the ability to track how collectors utilize their time, and monitor the collections at every meter.
It’s the advent of electronic locks that’s made these advancements possible. And while they are far from new to the marketplace, they’ve seen rising demand in a broad range of applications – including military, government, retail, hospitality and more – because of the technology’s combination of security, advanced access control and cost efficiency.
Electronic locks are especially effective for parking operations, because they provide controlled access, accountability and system management, without compromising physical security. In fact, today’s electronic locks offer attack-resistant designs and tamper-proof features to protect against forced entry.
With an electronic locking system, keys are programmed to open specific locks during a designated schedule, with an expiration time and date programmed to completely disable the key until it is audited or reprogrammed. Both the lock and key hold complete records of every opening or attempted opening of the unit.
Managers also are able to respond quickly to security threats, lost or stolen keys, or personnel changes without the added cost of re-keying.
One of the biggest threats to revenue for any parking facility is having the entire parking meter stolen. Thieves often target the meter housing – they cut them off, take them apart and make duplicate keys to fit the rest of the meters and loot the money inside.
This type of theft was a particular problem for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), where the meters were not individually keyed. If a meter was stolen and a key duplicated, all the meters and keys in the zone needed to be replaced. In addition, it could sometimes take several days before anyone at the facility noticed that the key had been duplicated. An electronic lock eliminates the ability to duplicate a key, making it the most secure system possible.
The LADOT opted for a Medeco Nexgen system, allowing the department to retrofit electronic locks into existing meters without any changes to the meter doors, creating huge value for the facility with limited hassle and great ease
With the functionality of electronic cylinders going far beyond mere physical security, cities now have the ability to tightly manage access to parking meter revenue, and significantly reduce loses.
Brad Smith, Director of Marketing for Medeco and Arrow, can be reached at BJSmith@assaabloyrss.com.
Article Abstract from December, 2013