At many residential communities, there are numerous keys, cards and fobs that are used to access the gate/garage, the buildings, the amenities and the individual residential units. Modern technology leverages the smart devices that are used by residents and managers to gain entry to any portal (buildings, amenities, and units). An authorized user (resident, management or visitor) may have an Access Control App that is linked to their smart phone. As the resident approaches a wall mounted reader near the door, they swipe the phone and the reader will allow entry.
To easily access the gates and garage doors, a keyless/handsfree entry system using vehicle credentials and long-range readers can be deployed. An authorized user (resident & management) will have a vehicle credential adhesive attached to the inside of the windshield. As the authorized vehicle slowly approaches the gate or garage, the long-range reader will identify the vehicle credential and open the gate or garage door. This approach removes the need to expose the driver to the elements by having to roll down a window or get out of the vehicle to use a key or pin. In addition to being more comfortable, the keyless/handsfree entry system can save time entering and exiting the property and increase parking convenience as unauthorized vehicles can no longer get into the property (more on this below).
Securing the community
By removing the keys, cards and fobs and deploying a keyless entry system enhances security by ensuring only current residents and management have access to the property. A key, card or fob has no personal attachment to a resident and allows them to give or loan them to friends to access the property. However, residents are less likely to give their personal smart phone to a friend to use to access the property. Another layer of security is with the vehicle credentials, as they are a one-time attachment use, meaning if they are removed from the windshield, the antenna inside the credential is destroyed rending it un-sharable.
Supporting the daily operations of the community
Traditional access control systems typically have separate databases that needed time to be manually updated and managed. Instead, a hosted system can receive a spreadsheet from the property with the resident’s information and auto-populate the information into the Keyless Entry System. Because the system can be updated with a spreadsheet, the management can upload a current database to change residents access each month for move-outs and late-payers access to amenities. Another benefit of the hosted keyless entry system is the real time management of the doors, gates and garage doors. Should a door need to be held open for inclement weather or a party, management can quickly access the door remotely through their management app on their mobile device. Additionally, should a door be vandalized, maintenance and management can receive real time notifications to increase response and repairs. \Finally, the keyless entry system eliminates payroll hours being spent on an onsite server, logistics of the physical keys, cards and fobs and has a similar or lower TCO when compared to traditional access control systems.
Traditional access control systems have an onsite pc or server with the systems software and database. Backup plans are often ignored and too many times database files and event logs are lost due to hard drive failures or other PC related issues causing downtime and frustration for management and residents. A hosted solution eliminates the need for onsite pc hardware and allows multiple management users to login to the platform for management of the system for functions such as credential programming, searching event logs, activating or holding open doors etc. Each user has their own login, so an event audit is available to see who made what change. The database, system settings, event logs and other key components are always backed up.
Custom reports can be created to allow for easy operation or searching of information of things like vehicle information, activity of a user, how many times the door was propped open etc. Door props can even be an active alert and can be setup as a notification via email or text message to management to take immediate action on.
By Bill Plunkett
Bill has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and concentration in Homeland security from George Mason University and over 12 years of experience specializing in Video Surveillance, Access Control and Gate systems. He is the Business Developer for AutoGate Electric (AGE), a service company that specializes in automating gate and entry systems for residential communities since 2004.