By Brett Weinberg / Published June 2022
Florida is expected to gain over 1.2 million homeowners within the next 20 years, and with two-thirds of the current population already living in some type of community association, there has never been a better time to move your community’s security system into the cloud. However, many people often hear the term “cloud” and wonder what it is and if it can benefit their community. To put it simply, the cloud can be defined as running software through the internet rather than downloading it on a computer. This software can receive continuous updates with new features and security measures that ensure a future-proof system. When utilized correctly, communities can be confident they will have a security system that evolves over time as the cloud brings added security at budget-friendly costs.
With HOAs receiving hundreds of visitors every day, it can be near impossible to get an accurate log of who comes in and out of the community without a proper security system. It’s very likely living in Florida you have experienced some type of security system. Whether it is driving up to a gated community or walking up to an intercom at the entrance of a condominium building, the main purpose of a security system is to track the movement of people throughout a property while deploying different methods for the guests and the residents to access the property and its common areas. Your community can be deploying some of these methods, but an investment in analog over cloud will not be sustainable over time. Both gated communities and condominium buildings have much to gain by leveraging the cloud to remove outdated analog equipment.
Gated communities can often find it challenging to track the hundreds of guests they potentially receive in a single day. Relying on analog systems can make an already tough job tougher. For example, it is very common for a property to use a telephone entry unit (TEU) to allow guest access into the property, but a TEU that still runs off a phone line provides unreliability with minimal security. Analog phone lines use old technology that doesn’t interact with smartphones well, evident in a common issue that occurs when receiving a call and granting access. If a resident received a call from an expected visitor at the gate, they would press nine on their phone keypad, and the visitor gate would open. However, smartphones such as the iPhone are known not to work, leaving a guest stranded at the gate with a steadily increasing line. Additionally, these phone lines can be expensive to maintain, especially when the rainy season arrives, as the phone lines that are underground can fill with water, forcing the association to pay for costly repairs. Cloud TEUs leverage cellular technology and future-proof software to enhance the resident experience while efficiently providing access for guests. Some telephone entry units can even allow a resident to see who is at the gate when receiving a call. This call is then logged off site in the cloud, preventing vandalism or acts of nature from jeopardizing valuable information. An investment like this in the cloud allows gated communities to process guests more efficiently day to day while protecting the most important asset in the community—the residents.
When looking at resident access control through a gate, communities should look to pair a cloud access system that can easily be managed from anywhere with some type of secure vehicular access control. This can include RFID stickers, which are placed on a car’s windshield or headlamp. These stickers are then read by an RFID reader placed at the resident entrance gate. Another technology often utilized is bar-code stickers placed on a car’s side window. These barcode stickers cannot be easily transferred as once they are placed on a car, they would rip in half if someone were to try to remove it and transfer it to another vehicle. These technologies offer communities reliable, secure, and affordable hands-free vehicle identification.
Condominium buildings can face their own set of challenges as they have an increase in common areas. These common areas, such as gyms and pools, should be easily accessible to residents and their approved guests but not accessible for one-time visitors such as delivery workers and vendors. Access control systems are an effective and common solution already being deployed in many condominium communities, but legacy systems are easily defeated and often provide more harm than good. For example, legacy systems often require a single computer to have the information of the system, including residents’ credentials’ numbers and valuable access logs. This leaves communities in a vulnerable situation hoping nothing happens to the computer. Cloud systems store all the information off site in a secure environment that guarantees all your sensitive information is protected. Additionally, cloud systems can allow condominium buildings to utilize the most secure access credential there is: one’s mobile device. Cloud systems leverage advanced reader technology such as Bluetooth readers to sense a resident’s device. This is much more secure than a key fob or card as it cannot be copied or transferred to someone else. This decreases the chance of security risks while removing the need to continuously buy and manage expensive key fobs or cards—a win-win for all communities.
Florida is set to receive a steady increase of homeowners over the next 20 years, and communities should leverage cloud technology now to protect their property and its residents. As discussed above, analog systems that were once state of the art are now antiquated and provide little to no security. The switch from analog to cloud can be a seamless transition if implemented correctly with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable company. These systems can leave communities confident they have a security system that can evolve over time while providing reliability when you need it most.
AT&I Security Systems
AT&I Security Systems is an industry leader in providing security solutions to HOAs all across Florida. AT&I focuses on future-proof systems that are entirely cloud based. These solutions include access control, CCTV, visitor management software, license plate recognition, gate entry systems, and many more. With over seven local offices in Florida, AT&I is well positioned to meet all of your security needs when called upon. For more information, visit www.ATISecuritySystems.com.