Legacy telephone intercom door entry systems will soon be more expensive to support as telecom companies are phasing out support of the copper wire Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).
If POTS lines require maintenance, telecom companies can decline to service POTS lines and suggest alternatives such as a 4G/5G cellular network or fiber optic cable. The FCC is driving this transition to bring the benefits of internet service to all Americans.
Many factors make fiber optics a better long-term solution than POTS. The big reason is bandwidth. Fiber optic cables can easily handle the demands of today’s high-speed networks, along with the capacity to handle much more. Data sent via fiber optic cable also travels a greater distance with less signal interference than on a telephone line.
The Problem with Telephone Intercom Door Entry Systems
Yet many multi-family communities and single-building owners still rely on traditional telephone entry systems where information lives on localized hardware. Managers must walk or drive to the unit to update resident information. This is a manual, time-consuming and inefficient process for managing resident access.
The inability to easily update resident data also makes it more difficult for owners and managers to satisfy basic security needs as they struggle to keep up with entry and exits of permanent or part-time residents, renters, visitors, guests, deliveries and service providers.
Multi-family communities who are serious about preparing their property for the digital age should get in front of the inevitable transition to fiber optic. The gradual replacement of legacy POTS lines is an unprecedented opportunity to enhance the value of your units with the digital amenities that residents, especially G-Zer’s, value when they look for a place to call home.
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Top 3 Trends Driving Replacement of Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)
The transition from POTS to fiber optics/IP-based communication has been on the horizon for some time. Now that it’s almost here, let’s look at what’s driving the change.
Trend #1: Industry Innovation
Over the years, we have seen major shifts in the telecom industry, from rotary dial to touchtone phones and the introduction of the first cellular phone. But one of the biggest advancements was Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which made it possible to send not only voice but also data through the internet. That brings us to our next trend.
Trend #2: The Internet
The internet influenced the telecom industry, moving it away from hardware dependency to a more software-based philosophy, which has ultimately changed the landscape. Developers and manufacturers have found cost-effective ways to incorporate the Internet of things (IoT) technology into everything from refrigerators to coffee makers, thermostats, and smart video intercom door entry, including Voice over Internet Phones (VOIP).
The hidden value of the internet of things is that it enables two-way communication. The ability to send data—a message, for example—paired with the ability to relay data back is essential. The internet of things enables analog machines, products, and devices with this intelligence—it makes them “smart.” And smart refers to internet connectivity.
Trend #3: The Smartphone and Apps
The first iPhone was released in 2007. That was the unofficial start of connecting people with the computer in their pockets. Think of the smartphone as a platform for a portable, connected digital ecosystem. It’s a place where software applications can live and be used for entertainment, such as watching your favorite YouTube channel, or practical things like managing your email, calendar, fitness routine, or seeing who’s at the front door before you let them in.
The smartphone has also changed human behavior. Smartphones supply the hardware that we use for—well, almost everything. You may forget your key, but your smartphone? Never. Think about Gen Z. They are the first generation to have grown up with smartphones. They are email averse. Their preference for texting likely influenced business team chat services like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and others. Younger demographics embrace technology wholeheartedly, and they expect digital amenities in the places they choose to live. Fast internet, cable, smart thermostats, keyless entry, and the ability to issue a virtual key for guests or service people are must-haves for communities that want to attract younger renters.
The Challenges of Using Legacy Technology for Community Access Management
Community access management is a complex, time-consuming job. Regardless of the property type, there are multiple points of access to control and an ever-changing database of resident information to manage.
The problem with legacy technologies is that they are analog rather than digital. Analog technology is discrete because the software programs or hardware stand alone and do not easily connect with one another. Meanwhile, smart access control technology lives in the cloud, where software and devices can share information because both “live” on a connected cloud platform, such as the myQ Community platform.
3 Reasons Why Multi-Family Communities Should Replace POTS with a Smart Access Video Intercom
Increased efficiency of property access management with automation of manual processes, such as working with a real-time dashboard of resident data instead of updating a spreadsheet. Property owners and managers can also share information between their property management software and access control software. This saves time by ending the double entry of resident data and reducing the likelihood of errors.
Enhanced resident satisfaction with smartphone door entry apps that allow tenants to create virtual keys for guests and service people even while away from home. In fact, a recent survey from property management technology company Entrata revealed that most residents are willing to increase their monthly rent payments to have more smart technology in their multi-family communities.
Improved operational efficiency with work-from-anywhere, internet-connected applications; 24/7 video surveillance with access to logs; and modern amenities, such as virtual guest passes and keyless entry.
What to Look for When Searching for a Smart Video Intercom Door Entry System
The cloud and connectivity of the Internet of things have created the smart access control market and introduced a host of new products. Property owners and community managers will be well served to partner with best-in-class access solution providers—providers who offer robust and scalable systems with seamless integration capabilities. Here are some things to consider when looking for a trusted partner.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is typically the most important factor to take into consideration when updating your telephone phone intercom to a smart video intercom A reliable cloud-based access control system should come with an intuitive interface for residents, as well as easy programming capabilities that allow managers to add or update data from anywhere. Your smart video intercom system should automatically install software updates that eliminate the management of multiple software licenses and the confusion of running different versions of the software. Updates happen seamlessly without requiring any action on the part of the management staff.
It’s important to select a smart video intercom door entry system that aligns with your community’s needs. The system should be scalable and flexible to allow users to specify the level of control they need now with the ability to add features like access control solutions for elevators, parking structures, gates, and garages later. The access control system should also come with robust diagnostics that can be customized to issue alerts and notifications that are relevant to the community’s needs.
Smart access video intercoms also provide digital amenities that streamline a manager’s workflow and fulfill resident expectations for a smartphone app that enables voice-controlled entry, the ability to issue virtual keys to guests and service people from anywhere, and the sense of security that comes from the ability to see who’s at the door before granting access.
Now is the time to consider how your community will transition from a telephone door entry system toward web-based software and smart video intercoms to deliver the digital amenities both managers and residents value.