MHN Asks … About Technology and Security

Experts share insights into the latest smart systems used for ensuring property security.

What smart tools/systems do you consider to be the most effective in ensuring tenant security?

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Pei Pei C. Mirabella, regional vice president, Bozzuto Management Co.

Mirabella Pei Pei

❝The tools we find most effective at 465 North Park (in Chicago) and our various other properties are related to a new smart technology helping prevent fraudulent applications—which are becoming ever more prevalent in our business—smart security programs, and keyless entry. We are using an ID verification software to improve leasing safety, intercept fraudulent applicants and provide our managers with real-time activity at their communities.

Additionally, another smart technology that has been valuable is the ability to search quickly through camera footage using motion detection searches. This smart function allows us to quickly react to any damage or security threat. This footage is also complemented well with our keyless entry systems that allow us to monitor access and use both the residential and common areas doors as an alternative to a traditional key. 

The bottom line is that these new technologies will allow our company to improve our assets’ financial performance and uphold our commitment to providing a sanctuary for our residents.❞

Jim Richards, vice president, Draper and Kramer Inc.

James Richards

❝Draper and Kramer takes a multi-faceted approach to security at the multifamily buildings we own and manage. One of the most important and effective components is an integrated security platform for remote access. This entails a key fob access system wherein residents present their card or fob at the entry point and access is granted. Another key element is an analytic video system that helps us monitor who is in or on a property.

Additionally, we are always evaluating promising new security tools to see what might enhance our current efforts and be a good fit for our properties. For example, right now, we are looking at systems of the future that will utilize biometrics with cloud-based solutions to ensure that the correct person is entering a building.❞

Diana Pittro, executive vice president, RMK Management Corp.

Diana Pittro

❝Today’s renters tap their smart phones to do everything from buying groceries to planning a trip, and are drawn to properties with technology amenities that make their lives easier and more secure. Staying ahead of the technology curve as we design and modernize properties is critical to meeting the high expectations of the savvy smart-tech user.

To deliver seamless management of day-to-day activities and enhance security, we activate technology solutions such as LATCH for keyless and remote entry, as well as Luxer One for package deliveries, which is a top concern for renters who rely heavily on online shopping.

At Viridian on Sheridan, a luxury mid-rise in Chicago, we took it a step further and offered an in-home Amazon Echo in every unit. From requesting dinner reservations to operating light fixtures to programming an entertainment device, all can be done with a voice command so your phone doesn’t have to be in your hand.❞

Dana Caudell, senior vice president, The Bainbridge Cos.

Dana Caudell

❝We are still in the due diligence process and looking closely at companies like IOTAS because smart home technologies are of growing interest for our residents. Smart apartment security functionalities such as motion sensors, lighting controls, and smart locks are all features we are considering. However, one of the main challenges is finding a hub to house all of the different technologies so residents can control each one.

Secondarily, it is important we have a true understanding of future capabilities of the tech we install. We don’t want something that will be obsolete when a property starts leasing. That is why it is important for us to continue to seek out the best way to integrate and install smart technology in our new developments and value-add assets.❞

Mark Smukler, co-founder & CEO, Bixby

Mark Smukler

❝It’s always important to keep your home safe and secure and that becomes all the more important when dealing with a multifamily property that provides a home for a large set of occupants. From keyless access systems to smart intercoms to internet-enabled security cameras, there are a lot of different products and product types to consider.

Our clients generally think about which smart security product to adopt from two perspectives: benefit to the tenant and benefit to the management. While tenants may be somewhat ambivalent to the presence of a security camera, any solution to reduce the number of keys in their pocket is a welcome addition to the property. Some of our favorite providers for smart locks include Kisi, Brivo, and Salto, as well as more traditional lock providers like Schlage.

Despite providing more control of access and an audit trail of entry activity, smart locks may not necessarily be the most effective tools for combating theft and vandalism. Smart intercoms and virtual doorman products such as ButterflyMX, MVI and Virtual Doorman are all products that many of Bixby’s clients use to add a new level of security for the property, especially for non-doorman buildings.❞

You’ll find more on this topic in the November 2018 issue of MHN.