It might be counterintuitive to state that there is a fallacy to dashboards as we offer a parking intelligence tool; however, let me supply some context and history, and I promise this will make sense.
First, some context on what dashboards are. They are essential tools that help organizations gain insight from their data. Therefore, they represent a single source of trust, provide real-time monitoring, and improve decision-making. However, they’re not infallible. Before I explain why this makes sense, I’ll provide a bit of history on dashboards.
A glimpse into the past
Back in my college days in the mid-90s, my classmates were working on presenting statistical data in an easy-to-consume format for non-data-oriented individuals, aka business presentation. Excel was the go-to tool then and still is for many organizations. We could easily and quickly prepare a “dashboard” of the relevant information by inputting our data points in Excel.
For those of you who can remember, that was a watershed moment for presentations as you could visualize reams of information in a relatively simple format, especially if you are a visual learner.
Fast forward 10 years, and dashboards had morphed from an Excel sheet that someone had to build, monitor, and maintain. They became formalized applications that pulled data from multiple sources to present the information without requiring constant manual entry or intervention. You now had access to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which, in theory, could allow you to make informed decisions about your business, finances, or operations.
The core issue is that you generally had static data. What I mean by that is that you might have had 1 or 2 metrics in a KPI that showed information visually, which allowed you NOT to have to pull up a report. Examples of this are Revenue Vs. Expenses, Occupancy by time, tow in a given zone, revenue by zone, etc. Useful information for sure, and better than nothing, but still static information of past performance.
Today things are a bit different. Everyone has dashboards, and everyone states that theirs are the solution to all your woes and will supply a level of information only seen in sci-fi movies. The reality is a bit more mundane but still ground-shaking.
Modern tools allow In-Parking Sight not just to build a “dashboard” of many key metrics. Still, it empowers us to fuse that data from multiple streams into a Parking Intelligence Dashboard that helps supply correlation between seemingly disparate pieces of information into a cohesive view of the overall operations.
Additionally, this allows us to create predictive models based on user inputs to help visualize potential changes to future operations or financials.
Many variables are involved in managing parking resources, and traditionally, dashboards simply display these. Our goal is to go further by showing the interplay between variables so that organizations can better model scenarios and predict outcomes.
For example, If I look at a residential zone and notice that I am issuing multiple citations and tows in that zone, should I increase signage or work to educate the consumer better?
If I analyze a heat map of a zone over time and notice that my highest occupancy is at a given time, should I send enforcement officers to ensure parking is being paid? This, by far, is not a complete list but just some examples of what SHOULD be done to understand trends and actions in your operations better.
The trend now is not to just provide information in operational reports but to provide insights that help the user correlate and extract a deeper understanding of their data sets. So, are dashboards dead? No, they serve a purpose and are extremely useful. However, we need to be able to separate a “dashboard” from “parking intelligence” and true insights into how you can improve the overall quality of your clients’ parking experience.
We invite you to explore our next blog in this series: How Data-Driven Decisions Revolutionize parking.