By Rebecca Peterson, Group Product Manager, Access Controls and Community Services at LiftMaster
The pandemic has changed a lot of things—including how people shop online. Although e-commerce was a fast-growing industry before COVID-19, thanks to things like next-day delivery and larger fulfillment networks, the shelter-in-place restrictions have led to more time searching and buying online, contributing an additional $105 billion in U.S. online revenue in 2020. In fact, one study showed that around 62% of surveyed U.S. adults reported going to brick and mortar shops less because of the pandemic, while another 52% reported shopping more online.
Of course, once purchased, online orders, including food and groceries, must be delivered. For property managers, the influx of deliveries can create a big headache for security and storage logistics. Coupled with the new remote and hybrid work trends, there are likely more residents in the building at any one time, plus maintenance and other services coming and going through main entrances, mailrooms, shared community areas, and loading docks throughout the day. All of that can increase the potential of package theft or mismanagement.
Add to that the ongoing supply chain crisis, which some experts say can cause deliveries to take two to three times longer than usual, and the challenges feel never-ending. So, how can you manage the influx of deliveries while keeping security and safety top of mind?
The expectation of more incoming packages warrants the need for a new, smart way to manage deliveries and keep up with the demand. That’s where smart video intercom systems come in.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How smart video intercom systems meet resident needs and simplify deliveries
- How smart video intercom systems help community managers prepare for packages before they arrive
- How to better manage deliveries once they arrive
- How to educate residents on how to use a smart video intercom system
How Smart Video Intercom Systems Meet Resident Needs and Simplify Deliveries
The message is clear: To attract and keep good tenants, community owners and managers must find ways to add convenience and ease to the resident experience. This includes package delivery, which is key to a well-run building.
I’m quoting my colleague, Chris Stob, Sr. Partnership Sales Manager at LiftMaster, when I say: “Package mishandling is a problem that ought to motivate community managers and investment property owners to look into web-based apps and secure door entry systems.”
Smart access video intercoms provide a contactless way for residents and guests to enter a building, with cameras that allow property managers to facilitate secure entry and package monitoring, minimize potential delivery issues and ensure residents feel confident in their property management team.
How Smart Video Intercom Systems Help Community Managers Prepare for Packages Before They Arrive
Holiday gift buying ebbs and flows but online shopping is always in season. And as always, the best defense is a good offense. Considering the rise in online shopping, community managers should expect heavy package deliveries year-round—and prepare their properties accordingly.
Quoting Chris again: “With fewer staffers working onsite, it’s really hard to manage all of these incoming deliveries. If that isn’t sufficient reason to update to web-based secure access controls, the fact that out-of-date systems are nearing the end of their shelf life will make the decision for community managers.”
Through cloud-based solutions such as the myQ Community dashboard, building managers receive real-time notifications and remote diagnostics about entrance access events, which allows building managers to detect and address any issues immediately.
Technology that manages building access with real-time video capture gives community managers peace of mind knowing that their residents’ deliveries are being dropped off without issue. For a resident, knowing that building entry is secure and looked after helps them feel secure and looked after as well.
How to Better Manage Deliveries Once They Arrive
Once packages do arrive, there’s more to managing deliveries than organizing by tenant or unit number. Residents prioritize security and safety when it comes to their homes, and with sophisticated tech connectivity, managers can effectively and efficiently manage building entry, even if they are offsite. The potential for packages to fall through the cracks is sharply decreased when digital security solutions include features such as video entry logs that are stored in the cloud for 30 days.
For instance, managers leveraging smart access systems with cloud-based apps can monitor building access security from anywhere—their desk, another property or from home. The features in these systems, such as video intercoms, can notify residents of who is at the door right from their smartphone, where they can see that a delivery service has arrived to drop off a hot lunch order. That kind of precision and detail can be the difference in residents feeling confident in their property management company or not.
How to Educate Residents on How to Use a Smart Video Intercom System
Although safe and secure packages start with community managers, maintaining a culture of security ultimately requires effort from residents to ensure packages are delivered and picked up appropriately. Luckily, nearly everyone has a handy resource right in their pocket, their smart phone
Since the COVID pandemic, people are reluctant to touch anything, from hands to door handles—but they are never without their smartphones. The only problem: Not all residents know how to navigate a smart access system from their smart device. For community managers, that means educating residents on your building’s access control amenities must be a priority.
Talk to residents about how they can effectively use smart video intercoms and other access control features to monitor deliveries and guests, your building’s package pick-up policies and how to avoid common hiccups, such as mislabeled addresses, to avoid future delivery delays, discrepancies and ensuing drama. Encourage them to pick up packages as soon as they receive a delivery notification on their smartphone to reduce package pile up, making it easier to identify packages and lower the likelihood of package piracy.
As any community manager knows, the confidence and trust of residents is hard earned. By showing residents what a smart access controls system is doing behind-the-scenes to protect their building, they can feel emboldened to work with you to build a secure, package-friendly community.
While there may be challenges facing package management, the bottom line is that whenever a property manager approaches a problem with a proactive, resident-focused lens, creative, innovative, convenient solutions present themselves. Incorporating a smart access control system with smart video intercom capabilities gives community managers and residents the confidence and peace of mind of a secure, safe, protected space for everyone—and their packages.
Always in Demand Digital Amenities
In our kind-of-post-COVID world, people continue to work from home even as employers try to entice workers back to the office with special perks like free lunch. Residents remains focused on curating their home office space to reflect their own style, even if the office is a walk-in closet. High-end landscaping, state-of-the-art common areas (like gyms, lobby, laundry facilities, shared outdoor space), and upgraded security systems are more likely in the “must have” column than the “would be nice” column for potential residents.
Digital upgrades. The pandemic may have pushed old analog methods into the past for good, since we can research, purchase, reorder, open, communicate and do nearly everything else with the smartphones in our pockets. Having a system that is efficient, compatible, and secure with evolving personal technology is a signal to potential residents that their personal privacy and safety are a priority for your property.
Convenience is king. Residents want the flexibility of entry management smartphone apps and the convenience of controlling who enters their home, especially when they’re not at home. A survey from property management software company, Entrata, indicated that more than 3 in 4 residents would pay more for smart digital amenities like keyless entry, security cameras and smart thermostats. With that in mind, the smart thing for property owners and managers to do, is to offer residents the convenience and security of 21st-century smart entry contol tech.
For more than 50 years, LiftMaster® has created entry control solutions from garage door openers to award-winning smart video intercoms, powered by myQ. As a trusted entry management brand, LiftMaster controls multiple points of entry, from gates, entrances and elevators to package rooms, parking structures and more. LiftMaster smart video intercoms provide safety, security and convenience to nearly 500,000 multi-family residents, monitoring 20,000 entry points across North America.