Still using vehicle stickers? It’s time to upgrade.
When you vend or control access to your facility, the historical standard has been vehicle stickers (decals) or hanging placards. These items are essentially vehicle identifiers. For instance, take a municipal transfer station for a City of 50,000 people. They have to design, print, and disseminate tens of thousands of vehicle stickers every year. Citizens then have to adhere these on their cars (hopefully not giving it to an unqualified out-of-town friend), and 100% of the time they enter the facility, municipal staff must visually inspect the sticker.
Obviously, this is an untenable and inefficient process. We know better than anyone, as over the last 20 years, our company has delivered a municipal POS (point of sale) system used to vend hundreds of thousands of these items, one at a time. We have presided over many meetings with municipal clients about the many issues within the sticker process. Sticker-based enforcement has a variety of thorns in the solution. They are not easy to read at any distance, or with any vehicle volume. They can be abused, handed off to friends, and we’ve seen fraudulent attempts at reprinting. As they essentially have cash value, they have been targets of thievery within municipalities, and I personally have seen people lose their jobs as stickers “go missing.” Citizens don’t always appreciate having to adhere a sticker to their car’s paint (I am one of those people). Every single year, a new pile of stickers must be designed and ordered at significant cost. And perhaps worst of all – your most expensive cost of doing business – the amount of labor hours in filling out and handing them across a counter, or mailing in an envelope, is enough to make any accountant grimace.
There is a better way. And we’re doing it. And boy, does it work well!!! After all – what IS a vehicle sticker for, anyway? Does it signify that JOHN DOE can drive any car into the facility? NO! It signifies that John Doe’s CAR can enter the facility! That being said – is there another vehicle identifier that your Town or company could leverage to eliminate ALL of the above concerns? Of course there is – and it’s already on your car. Everyone has one. Your license plate.
Most of us by this point have received a license plate invoice from a highway toll. If you live in an area that is particularly tech savvy, or concerned about security, you might even have seen a License Plate Recognition system (LPR) at a school, warehouse, country club, or police department. Most any organization that takes the time to do the cost analysis determines that an LPR system is a cost-effective alternative to any sticker-based system.
The only thing that outweighs the convenience of a suitable LPR system is the efficiency of it. People change cars? No problem as long as their plate moves over. Do you need to revoke access? No problem – enter the violation into the database and it will synchronize down to the local solution and within minutes, that vehicle will be marked as unregistered. Got a specific vehicle in mind that you need to make a note of, so that if it enters, all appropriate staff is notified? Do you need a report on vehicle traffic and frequency, so that you can better appropriate staffing or infrastructure improvements? No problem.
Keep in mind that the “live” database behind the LPR system is as or more important than the LPR system itself. It’s import to have live synchronicity between your LPR system and your database as permits are sold or revoked. They should be one and these same system, not two paired vendors. Bonsai Logic’s TownHall247 is one such blended solution.