Guest post by Edward Moon, Growth Marketer, Spacer Technologies  

Like many aspects of our lives in these uncertain times, the future of commercial parking is up in the air. Before COVID-19, it could be hard to find parking in a commercial lot or business district, especially in urban centers. But with remote and hybrid workforces taking over, commercial properties built for the necessity of commuter parking now find themselves with unused spaces to fill.  

Thankfully, the same advanced technology that makes working from home so easy can also turn the sudden availability of parking spots into a windfall for commercial properties. Property managers can maximize their competitive advantage in parking spaces and differentiate themselves by charging a premium for high-tech services that leverage the newest innovations. 

You Can Feel It, It’s Electric 

Electric vehicles (EVs) are among the key innovations that will change how we drive, including how we park. Commercial parking structures are uniquely situated to offer comprehensive EV services to customers, either as part of a prix-fixe package or à la carte as individual services. EV charging stations especially are a must for parking structures that expect to do business with EV drivers.  

Government subsidies are becoming more and more commonly available for businesses looking to install EV chargers on their property, making these stations a very affordable option. EV drivers will always prefer a parking location that lets them charge while they’re parked.  

Share the Road 

Of course automobiles aren’t the only EVs on the road. Bikes, scooters, and other electricity-powered personal transportation devices all need places to park and charge. One spot for a car can fit a handful of smaller vehicles, making this a space-saving choice that will also be popular with younger commuters and those who don’t travel quite as far to work.  

Vehicle-sharing services also require pick-up and drop-off stations with available charging. Commercial structures can profit from both regular use of their small-vehicle charging stations and from vehicle-sharing services using their space. Dedicating a section of a parking lot to rideshare services of all types can be a lucrative way to leverage extra spaces. 

App-o-matic Parking 

Chargers aren’t the only technology that commercial property managers can use to enhance their parking services. Parking apps can guide drivers to available spots quickly, cutting down on vehicles wandering and clogging up a parking area. When partnered with participating properties, these apps can help drivers reserve spots ahead of time to create a seamless experience.  

Add self-driving or autonomous vehicles (AVs) to the mix and suddenly things get very futuristic indeed. Automated valet parking becomes available, letting drivers exit their cars at the structure entrance while their car’s navigation partners with parking apps to automatically find the right spot. Parking structures will be able to charge a premium for such services. 

Safe and Sound 

Comprehensive digital surveillance can vastly increase the security within a commercial parking property. Enclosed parking lots are already considered more secure than outdoor spaces, and new technology can improve this reputation further. Security programs could link on-site cameras with the rear-view and navigation cameras on new cars to scan for suspicious activity, ring alarms, and contact authorities and vehicle owners.  

Once alerted, these systems could signal endangered vehicles to lock down and refuse to start until the threat is cleared, or even dispatch on-site automated security vehicles to block in a car being broken into or stolen.  

The Human Touch 

Commercial parking structures looking to go the extra mile can offer on-site vehicle maintenance services. Many parking structures have space for a car wash and detailing station and even a few maintenance stations with lifts to raise cars up for repairs. Property owners can hire their own maintenance and detailing staff or subcontract to local professionals who can save on leasing their own garage.  

All Tomorrow’s Parking 

Advances in connectivity, smart infrastructure, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are reshaping all the spaces we move through — parking spaces very much included. Commercial property managers can create a fully automated parking experience where a commuter drops their car off at the building and have it drive itself up for a wash and a tune-up, then to its app-designated parking space and get fully charged before the driver finishes work. Partnerships with local employers can be very lucrative for property owners previously stuck with unused spaces. When imagination meets innovation, every empty spot is a chance to profit. 

Edward Moon is a Growth Marketer at Spacer Technologies a technology company that enables  property owners and managers to discover new revenue sources through innovative solutions that leverage unused parking spaces. Spacer Technologies operates as and in North America