Companies in South Africa are now renting out their parking spaces as more people work from home.

As South Africa and the world come to terms with hybrid work replacing the old model of full-time office workers, the spillovers have forced landlords and real estate investment firms to rethink how their properties are used, including thousands of unused parking lots.

A survey conducted by BusinessTech in early June shows that workers in South Africa are still heavily split about a full return to the office, with more than half of respondents still working from home or in a hybrid format.

South African startup Parket is looking to solve this problem by allowing companies to sell their empty parking spaces in areas where street parking has traditionally been difficult to find.

Founder and CTO Joshua Rafael said Parquet’s birth came one day when he watched drivers make their way up and down crowded streets, navigating rush hour traffic and paying exorbitant amounts to park on the street while the indoor parks were empty. are within walking distance of us. stood unused.

“I asked the question, ‘With so much supply and demand around, what can we do to bridge this gap and monetize assets for corporations and other organizations so that dormant assets can become a source of profit?’

“This platform allows landlords to allocate parking spaces and tenants to manage a large number of employees with a limited number of parking spaces in real time, providing seamless visitor access and the ability to receive reports from a convenient dashboard. The additional ability to sell vacant bays based on demand has proven extremely popular because of the profit it generates from a stagnant asset,” said Rafael.

How it works

The system works with a range of smart technologies, including license plate recognition features, a management tool that monitors and distributes in real time, and security features such as QR codes that give access to parking spaces.

While some systems manage access control and others manage a paperless hourly allocation of parking spaces or a vacancy market, Parket combines all these functions into a single interface via a mobile app, Rafael says.

He added that while the platform’s biggest selling point is without a doubt the seamless, real-time management of the entire parking ecosystem, license plate recognition is the star of the show.

“The performance of our IoT platform is the wow factor. After entering their license plate data into the app, all the skepticism disappears when they pull up to the parking lot and an arrow is immediately opened to them, and it blows people away.

He added that license plate recognition devices and software are important because most landowners or their tenants have countless headaches associated with lost access cards, new cars and tag or access card exchanges.

“Technology allows us to reduce all friction points and significantly improve the customer experience. The platform is much more efficient. Landlords allocate parking spaces, tenants allocate spaces from their own allocation, and then users manage their own access by entering their license plate details through the app.”

He added that if the business has a one-time or infrequent visitor, an access QR code can be sent via text message or instant messaging for easier access without having to download an app. Again, it’s all monitored and landlords can reconcile when it’s convenient, he said.

Read: Employees disperse upon return to office in South Africa