Should Scheidt and Bachmann Software be able to run Skidata TDs and POFs

And Vice Versa. In other words, is it a good thing for the parking industry to have a common interface between equipment supplied by different companies. That way, if Designa or Zeag came up with some hot new software you could switch to it without replacing costly hardware.

What is being proposed is that gates, dispensers, pay on foot machines and other peripherals are just that, peripherals, much like displays, keyboards, disk drives, and printers are on the systems you have sitting on your desk.

Since the basic operating system is the same companies can provide software that does exactly what you want it to do.  Do you focus on graphics, then purchase Quark or Photoshop by Adobe.  Data base your thing — how about Filemaker or Oracle. Should parking systems be the same?

Consider the small company that struggles with building gates, dispensers, and money collecting machines, but provides dynamite software that blows everything on the market away. What about companies that build state of the art gates or beautiful P and D equipment but haven’t found the right software. Is software and hardware manufacture mutually exclusive?

Then there is my buddy in China who makes high quality gates, dispensers, and POF machines but isn’t in the software business. Can he enter this market and if he does, how will it affect existing ‘full spectrum’ manufacturers.

You know the names of companies that provide primarily software. They are household words. You also know the names of companies that provide both hardware and software. And you know that those software companies are running their systems on the back of the ‘hardware/software” suppliers.

I see the next decade, or maybe less, as a ‘shakeout’ period for the parking industry. Something is going to happen. If a number of manufacturers begin to develop top of the line, state of the art gates, dispensers, and POF equipment my guess is that a number of companies you see every day will “shakeout.”

Is this industry too small to support high end ‘peripheral’ manufacturers? What with job shops who do extremely high end work and cad designs that can be provided in a ‘direct to mill’ manufacturing process, I wonder.

Once the peripherals start to hit the street, and the costs drop. Watch out. Change will definitely be in the wind.



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5 Responses to Should Scheidt and Bachmann Software be able to run Skidata TDs and POFs

  1. CJD says:

    I think that would be fantastic. It would foster better products. Now when you buy one system you are most likely stuck, no matter had bad the customer service is. If I could threaten replacing the software( and the fees and maintenance contract that goes with it) vendors may actually listen.

  2. Manny Rasores de Toro says:

    This is a topic I have as an industry expert investigated on many occasions always came to the same conclusion; it is far more complex than it appears to make it work reliably, we are not dealing here with consumer white goods and effectively the industry is far to small to drive the standardisation and openness that would be required.

    In effect what this is asking is for all the major equipment suppliers to share with others their intellectual property or design in order to allow products they can not control affect their product performance. In my view such an approach would not benefit the equipment buyers and would end up in total disaster.

    Can you imagine companies involved in hardware and software like Sony, Apple and many others household names allowing the performance of their products been affected by any non licence products? no i don’t think so!

  3. jvh says:

    Manny — Sony, Apple, and many other household names do this every day. I have a Brother Printer, a Logitech keyboard, a Western Digital Hard Drive, a Viewsonic Display, a Motorola Modem, and internet streaming from Verizon all attached to my Dell Laptop running Microsoft Windows and a hundred other programs.
    Magnetic Automation Gates seem to work with every parking system. Many different displays operate with most systems. Card readers with a “weigand” interface seem to work well. And most printers can run on most revenue control systems. There are a number of software accounting programs that interface with a number of revenue control systems.

    It seems it gets down to high cost POF and Ticket dispensers where we have major interface issues. As Charlie said above, customers are placed in a potentially ‘locked in’ position and have nowhere to go except spend millions on a complete new system.

  4. Manny Rasores de Toro says:

    John – to my knowledge all the equipment manufacturers I have been involved although in principle have the same devices, gates, ticket dispensers / readers and automatic and cashier payment machines, only the gates because of its relatively basic input / output operation are easily adapted to be used with different products. Most manufacturers also use standard devices wit their equipment such as servers, PCs, monitors, network devices, printers etc.

    When it comes to their own proprietary intelligent devices with internal software, such as the ticket machines and payment machines, these have evolved over the last 20 or more years with different operating systems, different features, different processes and without following any common standards. Therefore what we have in the market is a mismatch pot of software and features unique to each manufacturer. For all of these devices to be totally interconnected, it will require either the development of a complete standard that is capable of incorporating all the special features and methods used by each manufacturer on the way their products communicate with each other and their central system or even better a totally new standard without the complication of the legacy systems. As mentioned, this would be an enormous and expensive task for all the manufacturers and as don’t believe they have much to gain on this major investment, i don’t believe it will happen.

    With reference to the comment on high cost POF and Ticket dispensers, this is a separate issue altogether, as I believe the problem here is that maybe the USA parking market its seen by many manufacturers as a “well off market were margins are excellent” and hence this is reflected on the equipment cost there. If you look at the UK market as an example, i am confident the competition here is much fierce and what is been charged is considerably lower than in the USA.

  5. Clancy says:

    Back in my day (1986-1996), best of breed PARC device system integration was the holy grail, something I was actively looking for. My motives were to achieve a competitive edge on behalf of my employer, an Operator with hundreds of locations, and thence indirectly, on behalf of our customers. There were a few, typically those without mature software systems in the marketplace, with an incentive to publish their low level RS232 communication protocols, where they existed. These integration techniques were not for the faint of heart; some that were willing to spend the $ turned their efforts into an exit strategy, we had one notable success, but most stayed on the workbench. We were typically left to use existing relay contacts as inputs to robust data acquisition devices, such a PLC’s, and then to connect to those open devices.

    There has always been the potential for a technical solution, an open protocol layer that could be defined & implemented, or “borrowed” from a larger industry, that all manufacturers could publish support for, as an additional layer on top of proprietary communications, even at the device level. Missing is the financial driver, the “why” as to why any major manufacturers would give up on their product differentiation opportunities of a proprietary software layer. The parking industry could theoretically drive this, if they recognized any value in it, by requiring a defined open protocol standard in major bid specifications. But is the lack of a focused point of product support worth best of breed integration? What most end users really want is a stable & reliable PARC platform, most easily supported by a single manufacturer and a single point of service.

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