Skidata is known for its unique shaped gates and stunning equipment design. Although they have redesigned their ticket dispensers (to hold more tickets), the equipment still catches the eye. Their parking display area at their headquarters in Salzburg:
Skidata equipment is manufactured at sites around Europe with design, software, and marketing handled from headquarters in Grodin, a suburb of Salzburg:
The head of Skidata’s parking division is Robert Weiskoff. He is an unabashed supporter of his company and its position in the parking industry. “Automation is where we are going,” the said. “The future is fewer and fewer personnel in individual parking locations and more centralized cloud based control. Companies, not only manufacturers but also operators ignore this trend at their peril.”
The “other” product the company produces and where it gets its name, is ski lift ticket automation. I asked if everyone at Skidata had to ski. “Yes!” he said, then added that he hasn’t actually seen everyone ski. The then told of skiing a 5 km trail, one that started as a black diamond, four times in the same day. “I didn’t walk very well the next day.”
Here, PR manager Miriam Weiherer demonstrates a ski lift control that uses AVI tags a person keeps in their ski jacket to activate the turnstyle. She told me that she skied an average of 60 days in most winters. Wow!
I mentioned that many end users feel that parking equipment was a commodity, basically all the same, that is selected on price. Robert tended to agree and believes that the industry brings this on itself. “Trade shows tend to make this worse. We all have huge booths, lots of equipment, and who comes by? Last year at the IPI we had a second booth solely to promote cloud based computing and it was jammed with people. Our main booth was empty. I think attendees at these shows see large display and lots of equipment as more of the same. But, of course we will be there next time.”
Skidata — its name evokes thoughts of snow and lifts, but it presents itself well in parking and in ticketing. Marketing Head Sabine Holzl demonstrated the use of QR codes sent to smart phones to activate turnstyles and parking gates. “The future is paperless tickets. Not only with QR codes but also with Near Field Communications.”
Got to head back to the hotel, early train tomorrow to Bologna.