Install a Smart Parking System in Your Apartment/Office Complex

Published May 10, 2020( 5 min read )

Parking lots in apartment complexes and offices are private parking lots. Only the inhabitants of that aprtment or office can park in that parking lot. Visitors are given special permissions for a short duration. Wifisecureaccess provides a very smart and cost effective parking management system for such parking lots. Only those whom the management allows can park in these parking lots. Management can give short term permissions for visitors. All these can be easily managed from the manager's office.

In this blog, we will learn how we can install WifiSecireAccess smart parking systems in private parking lots and how the smart devices can be installed at the entry and exit gates and how they can be configured. We will also learn how the management can add residents and visitors to the list of authorised users and how to remove them. Lets get started :

Things we need

  1. WifiSecure Access Smart device - One unit at every gate
  2. Connecting cables and screw drivers
WiFiSecureAccess smart device can be purchased from Amazon.

Fig 1: WiFi Secure Access Smart Device

Step 1

Install Smart device at every entry and exit gate of the parking lot. These devices do not have to be exposed to the motorists and, therefore, they can be installed at a convenient safe location near the gate where WiFi is available. The smart device has two outputs - the solid state switch P0 and a relay output connector. Depending on the specification of the boomgate controller, either of these can be connected to it. In most of the boom gates, there will be a manual push button to open it, and there will be two terminals to connect external manual push buttons. Connect the relay terminals COM and NO of the smart device to those push button terminals. If the boomgate controller has any other type of interface to open it by applying a 12VDC, you can connect P0 and VDD of the smart device to that, and connect 12V to VDD. Details of this solid state switch P0 are available in our documentation. It is assumed that the boomgate controller will close the boom gate automatically after opening.

Fig 2: Cabling External 12V loads to Smart device

Fig 2A: Cabling Relay of Smart Device to Boom Gate

Fig 2B: Cabling Relay of Smart Device to Boom Gate

Depending on what is conveniently available at this location, connect either 12V DC power or 240/110V AC power to the appropriate connectors of the device as marked in Fig 2 above. Make sure to put the power selector jumper on PJ1 jumper depending on whether you have connected 12V power or 240/110 AC power to the device. These steps are also explained in section 2.2 of the Access Control documentation.

Once the cabling is completed successfully, power on the device. Then, follow the steps given in Section 2 (installation) of the Access Control documentation to set its WiFi and to assign its ownership.

Do the above steps of installation for all the gates (entry as well as exit) of this parking lot. There should be one device at every entry gate and one device at every exit gate.

Step 2

Once the installation of the device at every gate is completed, we need to fix a QR code label or NFC Tag at every gate. Few QR code labels come with the device when you purchased these devices. Every device has its own unique QR code. You should not mix them up. If you need additional QR Code labels, you can print them. To print additional QR Code label, click on 'Show QRCode Label' under Device Admin in the sidebar menu in the Dashboard. Then select the device. It will show that device's QRCode label. Save that image to your computer and then print that to the size you like. With appropriate printer, you can print them on any type of paper or material or laminate them.

If you want to use NFC Tags, refer to sections 2.7 and 2.9 of the Access Control documentation.

Fix these QR Code labels or NFC Tags at every gate at a convenient location that can be accessed by the driver at the gate. If this location is outside and is exposed to rain, make sure to print QRCode on waterproof materials before installing. The drivers will be scanning this QRCode to open the boom gate or shutter door.

Step 3

The next step is to make a group and add all the allowed users to that group. These steps are explained in Section 4 'Allowing Multiple Users' of the same documentation. So, follow those steps given in section 4. Add all the allowed users to the group. Give a meaningful name to that group.

Step 4

Next, we have to configure all the devices at all the gates. Click on 'Configure Device' under Device Admin in the sidebar menu in Dashboard. You will be seeing a page similar to Fig 3.

Fig 3: Configure Device at the Gates of Private Parking Lot

Select the fields in this form as per the suggestions given in the figure. Give meaningful names to each device. For Device group, select the group that you created in Step 2 above.

Note: Make sure to add the word "Parking" either in the name of the device or its port label. For the device to operate properly to control a parking gate, it is necessary to have the word 'Parking' either in the name of the device or in the label of the port connected to the parking gate..

For 'Allow remote Control', there are two choices - Yes or No. Choose 'No' if you do not want those in the device group to activate this door from remote. If you set that to 'No', the only way they can activate this gate is by scanning the QR code or NFC Tag at the gate. If set to 'yes' they can open it from remote locations by pressing a button in their smart phone. The owner of this device (the manager of the complex) can open it from remote regardless of this setting. Also refer to sections 3.9 of the Access Control documentation regarding using NFC Tag for access control where remote control os not allowed.
For the 'Use Type' field, select 'ENTRY TYPE' for the devices which are installed at the entry gate and 'EXIT TYPE' for the devices installed at the exit gates.
In the timezone field, set your timezone.
If you see a field named 'Parking Lot' in this form, set it as None or '----'. This field is for paid public parking lots and, therefore, must be blank (None, or ----) for any private parking lots.
After selecting all the fields as explained above, press Submit. If every entry is correct, it will show a 'Success' message. if it reports any error, correct them and re-submit.

Step 5

You can also configure the devices such that these gates can be activated using Google Home Assistant or Amazon Alexa. To enable it and to add these to Google Home or Amazon alexa, read the steps given in section 3.10 and i3.11 of the Access Control documentation. Note: If you want to use Google Home assistant or Alexa only and no plans to use NFC tag or QR Code, you need not fix those NFC tag and QRC codes at the gates.

Step 6

If you have completed all the steps above successfully, the system is all set to go. To open the gates, there are a few options. If you have enabled Google assistant and if you have added these devices to google assistant as per step 4, you can open google assistant on your smart phone and say "Hey Google, open *name of the device*". (Similarly, for Alexa). On the other hand, if you want to scan the NFC tag or QRC code, Open the wiFisecureAccess app on your smart phone and press 'Scan QR Code' and scan the QR Code located at any gate. It may prompt you to login, if you are not logged in yet. If you are not yet registered with WiFiSecureaccess, press 'CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT' to register. If you are either the owner of this device, or an allowed user, the gate will open now. If you are using NFC Tag, press 'Scan NFC Tag' instead of 'Scan QRCode'.

You can also open these gates from remote using your smart phone. Open the app and press 'activate a Device'. Then press the name of this device at the gate. It will open the gate if you are the oener of the device or if 'Allow Remote Control' is set to 'Yes' in the configuration.

If you are the owner of this device, click on 'Device groups' under Device groups in the side bar of the dashboard. In a smartphone, the sidebar is collapsed. So, you need to click the menu bars at the top right to see it. You will see the device group that you created for this parking lot. You will also see the 'number occupied' in each group. This is the number of vehicles within this parking lot at any time. Note: This will be correct only if nobody pays around with these gates. For example, if you open the gate and close it without driving a vehicle through, it will assume that a vehicle has passed through the gate. You can correct this field occasionaly by editing it, if needed.

Fig 4: Occupncy in a Group

Now. click on 'Allowed Users' under Device Groups in side menubar in Dashboard.
Fig 5: Configuring Allowed Users of a Group

If you have created more than one device group, it may prompt you to select one. Then you will be presented with a list of all those whom you have addedd as allowed users of this group. Only the owner of the group/device can see this list. you can add anyone to this list, or you can remove any existing one, or you can put an expiry date of their authorisation in this page. To add anyone, enter the email address of the new user in the last empty row, and press Submit. If you want to add an expiry date to this new user, add it before submitting. So, if you are authorising a temporary visitor, this expiry field will help you athorise that person for a fixed duration of time only. To remove anyone from the list, check the delete box against him and press Submit.

The owner of these devices and parking lot can see the use records. To see the use records, click on 'Group Use records' under Device Groups in sidebar menu in dashboard. Select the group, if you are prompted. You will see a page similar to fig 6.
Fig 6: Group Use Records

The system keeps use records for 30 days only. If you want to keep records for longer time or for doing any analysis of this data, you can copy these records to your local computer as per the steps given in section 3.17 and 9 of the Access Control documentation.