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Access Control: More Than Just a Safety Solution


Historically, designing security systems for a building was fairly straightforward: give residents easy access and keep out unauthorized visitors. This could be accomplished with something as simple as common areas keys or fobs. But as times have evolved, security has become too complicated for our old trusty set of keys. The security of door handles, keypads, or intercom systems has changed how we think about granting residents access to a building. The need to bring the outside world into our living spaces has increased the sophistication of the way we grant access permission.

Building security used to mean keeping unwanted people out of a building. Now, it has expanded to mean both warding off intrusion and protecting residents from unnecessary hazards or risks. So while it may not be feasible to make every part of our built world entirely remotely controlled, it is possible to easily eliminate the need for almost all in-person interactions by implementing technology to provide a more seamless version of access control. We can also use technology to do things like retrofit communal doors in high traffic places such as apartment building entry points or amenity doors.

For this reason, access control has been on the top of most building managers’ minds because it requires the same surfaces to be touched repeatedly by an endless flow of people. Access control also typically requires interpersonal interactions, especially for guests, deliveries, vendor services, etc. Streamlining access control to help eliminate unnecessary risks is achievable in a number of ways. New, cloud-based software like SmartRent’s Alloy Access solves a number of operational challenges, like package delivery, on-demand services and self-guided tour access. Converting to this kind of system is rather inexpensive and is an immediate way to keep residents safer.

Making doors and locks smart enough to grant seamless access control has a lot of other important benefits as well. Many people that are currently spending more time at home are relying on deliveries for their daily needs. This means an exponential increase in the number of people coming in and out of a property. Granting access for things like delivery drivers and dog walkers can be a full time job in large complexes. A lot of time can be saved by adopting smart software that can help manage the entire process. This time can be spent doing the things that really make a building feel like a home like attending to the residents.

Similarly, if a smart access control system is cloud-based, facility managers have the ability to do their jobs remotely—something that comes in handy all the time, not just during shelter-in-place orders. Trusted vendors can be granted access remotely, allowing the building and its residents to go about their daily business with fewer interruptions and unnecessary interactions, which is something especially important right now.  

Controlling vendor access is an important part of making a building secure, but it is true now more than ever. Being able to control access to the building can not only help mitigate exposure, but it also frees up time for sales agents because they no longer need to assist visitors or waste time organizing vendor keys and adding resident credentials.

Apartment communities have always had resident safety top of mind, but now the definition of safety is changing as we are more aware of risks that could be harder to detect. The new definition brings with it a whole new set of challenges that will demand more from our buildings’ systems. Upgrading antiquated technology is no longer just a luxury. Providing buildings and their teams with updated technology allows them to focus on the things that are most important which is key to resident safety. Implementing technology like smart access control helps to streamline the way buildings run and thus the way residents live—ideally without unnecessary risks and interruptions. Time has been and always will be the most valuable human commodity, so technology that can help us make the most of our time while at the same time respecting others’ is something that should not be overlooked: it’s a necessity.

Propmodo is a global multimedia effort to explore how emerging technologies affect our built environment.

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