Name: Rick ChandraTitle: Chief information officerCompany: Secure Parking (Australia)Commenced role: July 2021Reporting line: CEOMember of the executive team: YesTechnology Function: 40 staff, 6 direct reports
When Secure Parking chief information officer Rick Chandra joined the company in 2021, he was tasked to lead the delivery of a complex technology and design solution. For Rick, the program involved developing a world first, fully integrated parking system for Secure Parking, a subsidiary of Park24 Group.
Design first approach
Secure Parking chose to challenge the status quo by taking the truly unique approach of moving away from traditional third-party equipment used by other operators, to design and build its own bespoke, fully integrated car park management system called Voyager.
Chandra said, “the challenge was definitely there, the solution included software development, UX, backend operations, financial reconciliation, data analytics and reporting, as well as the complete manufacture of new industry leading hardware”. The result is a new product line, called Voyager, which will be rolled out at Secure Parking’s sites across Australia and New Zealand.
“The design challenge included providing enhanced user experience and accessibility of the parking system,” said Chandra. The solution allows for easy installation, maintenance, scalability, and customisation, while withstanding the elements from harsh environments and temperature extremes.
“Voyager is an Australia-first invention and is transforming the global parking industry – all created, designed, developed and manufactured in Australia by Secure Parking, using local IT industry talent,” Chandra added.
The Voyager solution consists of three key elements:
A number of B2C digital platforms were created from the ground up including a mobile app, website, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in-vehicle systems. Then, an entire ERP system was built from ground up – including a CRM, financial platform, remote carpark management system, booking platform and an entire data lake. Finally, a new carpark entry hardware system was invented which digitises all Secure Parking carparks using IoT technology and enables the company to engage with customers in near real time.
The standard entry reader that provides entry to parking sites, was also completely redeveloped, moving away from the standard ticketing solution. It offers multiple forms of interaction and feedback for customers – from a large touch screen to contactless QR scanners for online bookings, NFC readers for permanent parkers and payment modules for casual users.
Sensors and audio-visual components are integrated seamlessly, including cameras for interaction with customers, and collision detection within the reader pillar to alert the maintenance team.Modular hardware system
The modular system of Voyager’s hardware allows for easy installation with new and existing car parks, and quick and efficient repair through toolless access and plug-and-play components.By investing in design and encouraging industrial design, software, UX and service design to be developed holistically, Chandra says the team was able to create a bespoke solution, optimised for all our stakeholders and for every stage of its life cycle.
“We have shown that it’s possible for an Australian IT team to invent new hardware and software products that can be taken to the world market,” said Chandra. “Through a strategic focus on manufacturability, repairability and future proofing, the Voyager system can be enhanced technically to meet the needs of customers in the future.”
The Voyager platform has now been rolled out in Australia and used by thousands of customers daily. It has led to higher customer engagement, increased company revenue, lower operating costs and a superior customer experience which is a real game changer for the parking industry.”
Creating a culture of innovation
Workplace culture was also a focal point and crucial to for the ongoing innovation of the Voyager product line. “In developing the Voyager product, it was essential that the business focus on developing the right IT culture, to not only manage the delivery of the program, but to also ensure there is an ongoing culture of innovation within our business to support Voyager,” said Chandra. “We have a great team in place, and the IT function continues to grow by developing and mentoring our people, as well as attracting the right external talent to help drive an agile culture across our business.”
Louis van Wyk