Touchless Building Entry, Video Intercoms and Security Cameras in the Covid Era

Property Management Security Solutions in the Covid Era

Commercial Property Managers, including Certified Apartment Managers (CAM), Certified Property Managers (CPM), Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Association Management Specialists (AMS) and highly determined property managers are answering the call when it comes to providing the safety measures necessary to keep their tenants, visitors, contractors and employees safe during these challenging times.

Some of the challenges Property Managers, Landlords, Real Estate Managers are facing to keep within government guidelines for reopening amenities and buildings during the Covid crisis, include social distancing protocols, mask wearing requirements, and limited space usage, to name a few. But let’s face it residents want to get back to their amenities. Tenants want their gym and pool spaces back. They want to use their outdoor areas, and indoor office spaces. They want things back to normal!


Well the good news is today’s building security systems can help property managers of Multi-Family Units, Senior Living communities, Retail Properties and Hospitality properties get to the new normal. Many property managers and facilities managers have already been implementing the building camera security systems, keyless elevator access control, and other building automation technologies that are going to help them meet the new Covid guidelines. Why are some facilities and properties managers ahead of the curve when it comes to automating and securing their building? Well these are the developers, property managers, real estate owners , and architects that have embraced PropTech.

PropTech, Covid, Access Control Systems, Video Intercoms, and Security Camera Systems

The PropTech movement is a cutting-edge approach to real estate where technology optimizes the way people manage a property, rent, buy, and sell it. Technological innovation, the cloud, and Information Technology are revolutionizing the property management industry. PropTech impacts the construction side of the business and commercial rental side of the business. When you think about PropTech think of companies like Opendoor, Matterport, Ubitquity, and Smart Service Connect. These companies are leading the Smart Building revolution. The Internet of Things, 5G, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet Protocol are the foundations of today’s smart building solutions. Even AirBnB, and Zillow are part of the PropTech movement and disrupting the real estate and property management industry.

When you think of PropTech it’s not just the big portals like Zillow, it’s Property Management Software, Cloud Based Access Control Systems, Cloud Based IP Cameras, Video Intercom Door Entrances, Smart WiFi Locks, Keyless Entry, and Touchless Elevator access control are all part of the PropTech building automation movement. The thing these technologies share is they were built using the shared communications platform of the Internet Protocol or IP. When you hear the term IP being used, it refers to a communications protocol that is used to transfer data. If multiple different systems are built using IP as its communications protocol, they can share data. For example; let’s say the property management software you use to manage maintenance projects, track work orders, and cumulative spending could let you know when a certain area needed to be cleaned because of a lot of tenant traffic. Well if the property management system is sharing data with the access control door entry system that could be possible. Because the access control system knows exactly how many people enter a controlled area. Or let’s say the property management system was notified that a leak happened in the basement boiler room that needed attention. Well, with water leakage sensors collecting telemetry and forwarding it to an alerting system that communicates via IP and shares data via an API with your property management system this is possible.

Some property management companies, developers, and investors may already have an existing portfolio of properties that are using older technologies and it would be difficult to fully convert to PropTech solutions for security camera systems, access control door entry systems, and video intercom systems. That’s ok, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Inventory the building security systems you have in place. They may have features that aren’t being utilized. Make sure the current features are updated. Foremost, make sure your people are trained, and maximizing the use of the existing systems.

Investing in additional smart building security technologies, like cloud-based access control systems, cloud-based camera systems , and video intercom systems may make sense. But, don’t get overwhelmed with all the bells and whistles. These newer cloud-based camera and access control technologies are very dazzling; however, you may already have technologies in place that meet your building security needs.

Get an Assessment of your Property Security Systems by IT Risk Managers LLC

It makes sense to have a third-party expert security company evaluate your existing security camera systems, keyless entry systems, and intercom systems. IT Risk Managers LLC offers a 12-point audit of all your building security systems. First, our audit assesses your existing security systems. Is the software up to date, and able to communicate with the systems it’s connected with? We’ve had situations where a facility manager wanted to replace an entire camera system because it wasn’t working. Well, after evaluating the existing security camera system we found the main network video recorder (NVR) needed a software update. Once, the update for the NVR was installed the cameras became operational again. This holds true for the building access control systems also. Building access control solutions in the Chicago sites we assess have many moving parts. There is the Access Control Software. This is the software that controls the entire system. It is essentially the brains of the entire system, and it sits on a computer. If that computer is not up to date or becomes infected with a computer virus it could wreak havoc on your door entry systems. These systems should be evaluated regularly to make sure they are up to date with the proper security patches and software updates. Access Control panels and controllers are the connection points for card readers, electric lock hardware, and serve as the hub for the main system. These door controllers and panels also require maintenance and evaluation to make sure they have the latest firmware and are up to date. These are some of the technical assessments required to keep your building security systems operational. There is also the risk assessment piece of a security camera and access control audit. With today’s Covid Pandemic, and other social unrest issues, properly working security systems are a must have for all Chicago commercial property managers. Are the security systems, access control systems, security camera systems accomplishing their missions? Security systems are deployed to mitigate different risks. Property Managers may ask themselves what is the risk that they want to eliminate and what technology will accomplish that goal? For instance; installing security cameras in a parking lot may achieve some risk mitigation, but a fence, and parking lot gate may achieve better results. A building security systems assessment by IT Risk Managers LLC will look at the risks, assess the needs, and come up with the proper security solutions.

In many ways PropTech and risk mitigation from today’s Covid Pandemic and Social Unrest go hand in hand. Let’s delve into some of today’s leading building security technologies and how they can help property managers adhere to today’s new guidelines and distancing requirements. And when the requirements and guidelines change or are modified you will have the proper systems in place to be flexible and adapt as necessary.


5 Reasons you need an Assessment of your Properties’ Current Security Systems

  1. Current Systems may meet needs- The current systems you have may have features that are not enabled and with some minor upgrades may be able to meet your current security needs and requirements.
  2. Security Systems not proactively managed- Many times after the door access control systems, security camera systems, and intercom systems are installed they are not proactively managed. Important updates and software patches are not installed limit the effectiveness of the systems.
  3. Training- Many features of your current systems may not be used by your staff because they are not properly trained how to use the systems.
  4. Client and Tenant Satisfaction- Having an independent 3rd party determine the effectiveness of your current systems will help you understand the changes and updates that are needed to provide safety and satisfaction to your current tenants, renters, and leasers.
  5. Cost Considerations- A properly done security system assessment will help you determine the budget and dollars needed to get your systems to a state of effectiveness and improved working order.

PropTech, Covid Safety and Video Intercom Systems

The right Video Intercom system is a security technology that will enable property managers to focus on the well-being and safety of their tenants, contractors and employees. We recommend a cloud-based Video Intercom system like Butterfly Video Intercoms, 2N, Paxton, Doorbird and Aiphone to name a few. IT Risk Managers LLC is one Butterfly Video Intercom’s top Chicago installers. IT Risk Managers has implemented Butterfly Intercom’s in multi-tenant buildings, including apartment hi-rises, condo developments, and other commercial properties. The aforementioned video Intercom solutions are based on IP or the Internet protocol. As discussed, earlier IP enabled solutions are the foundation for PropTech adherence. Sometimes referred to as Smart IP intercoms these video intercom solutions can communicate and share data with other security systems like IP based video surveillance, IP based access control and keyless door entry solutions. Picture a person coming to the entrance of your apartment building. Imagine if you could quickly see that person on your smart phone, and permit or deny their entrance all via a smart phone application. Well this is what a smart video intercom system does. The entrance intercom system has an IP Based camera built in. A directory and listing of tenants are stored in a cloud-based data server. The person enters your name or apartment number, you are alerted via your smart phone, a live video of the person is transmitted to you via your smart phone, you press a button on your phone and the door opens allowing your guest, contractor, or delivery person entrance. There is even an ability for you to text a code to your guest giving them a virtual key to get into your building. The Butterfly MX smart phone application or mobile app allows residents to let themselves into the building without using a key. By using Bluetooth wireless technology, the NFC protocol, SIP, and IP the Butterfly MX intercom can give you and your tenant’s a touch free entrance too your building.

Butterfly’s video intercom solution also works in conjunction with several package delivery control solutions. The Butterfly MX system manages package room entries. Amazon delivery drivers are given a unique security pin for a keyless entrance into the building and package room. The smart video intercom takes a time and date stamped picture of every person entering the building and package room for security purposes. After the package is delivered residents are notified via smart phone app, text or email. Residents enter their code at the package room and pick up their package all recorded and time stamped. Butterfly is also integrating with various home automation solutions, like Alexa. You can tell Alexa to open the door and with Butterfly’s video intercom Alexa integration your front door will be opened.

If you really think about technology enhancing the property management space, the Butterfly MX video Intercom systems is leading the way. With a smart video intercom system, you reduce the manpower required for several traditional human roles. Butterfly can act as your virtual doorman, seeing and letting the right people into your facility. Butterfly MX can also manage your package room eliminating hours of time your current staff takes to manage package deliveries. Butterfly MX video intercoms also integrate with Security Access Control solutions, and property management systems. When updates are made, they can be shared across all your building and management software platforms.

That’s not to rule out other video intercom solutions. When IT Risk Managers LLC is assessing the video intercom needs for Chicago Property Managers and the office buildings, hi-rises, and apartment buildings, they manage we usually look at 3 or 4 solutions and depending on the building’s custom requirements we make sure you pick the right system for your needs.


5 Ways to Use Video Intercoms Systems to meet and maintain Covid Opening Guidelines

  1. 1. Virtual Door Person- Limit interaction and need of person opening doors and signing people in with a properly deployed Video Intercom System.
  2. 2.Provide Self-Guided Building Tours- Have a self-guided button on video intercom system. Pushing the button enables a protocol to be followed to allow entrance and instructions on self-touring the building rental.
  3. 3. Digital Signage and Messages- Put a splash screen on your video intercom display screen to provide information and instructions to enter buildings and facilities safely during lockdowns.
  4. 4. Remotely Manage Entrances- Give property access, add/remove tenants, and review entry logs anywhere you have an Internet connection. Allowing for social distancing and hands-free management of entrance systems.
  5. 5. No Touch Virtual Keyless Entry- Provide guests, delivery people, and contractors touchless entry by using smart phone virtual keys. All that is required is a smart phone QCR code credential presented to the video intercom camera for entry

Covid Keyless Entry, Touchless Entry and Access Control Security for your building’s doors

The main components in today’s electronic access control systems include the Readers, the Access Control Units and Credentials. In a keyless door entry system authorized people use credentials, like a key fob, key card, or thumb print which is presented to the reader. The reader sends the information to the Access Control Unit which makes the access control decision to release the electrified door locking hardware, opening the door and letting the person in.

Typical credentials include RFID key cards and Fobs. RFID cards use radio frequencies to communicate to the reader. Proximity cards, smart cards, and swipe cards are all types of RFID cards. There are other alternatives to RFID cards which include PIN codes, Biometrics, and mobile credentials. Pin codes are just that your tenant is given a pin that they enter onto a keypad and are given access. Biometrics use identifying info from your fingerprints, facial features or even your eye retina to give you entry. Finally, mobile credentials let you use your smartphone to unlock door entries.

Entry locks are electrified and allow automated unlocking of the secured entrance. Secured entrances may include doors, parking gates, elevator floors, turnstiles, anywhere that access needs to be controlled. Door sensors, electric strikes, electromagnetic locks, are integrated with your electronic access control system, and the secured entrances are opened electronically upon presentation of the correct credentials.

The Access Control units also referred to as controllers combined with the Access Control Software are the brains and decision makers in a keyless door entry solution. The controller communicates to the readers, and the software. The software controls and manages the database where user information is kept, like credentials, schedules, entry enablement. This data is synchronized with the controllers to allow proper and secured entries into your facility.

Each one of these credential solutions has its benefits and challenges. When you use an expert security company like IT Risk Managers LLC, they can assess your buildings entrance and security needs and explain to you which access control credential technology makes the most sense for your application and building’s needs.

Many different industries have the need for secure building entrance technologies. Commercial Real Estate and office buildings need reliable, and easy to manage access to their facilities for their tenants. Retail stores need reliable access and security systems to give entrance to employees, contractors and suppliers. Multi-tenant housing, like apartment buildings, and condominium developments can give their tenants state of the art keyless entry with electronic access control. Shared use and common spaces like gyms, garages, mailrooms, and shared office space can be managed and controlled with keyless entry systems. Schools, and Churches can also benefit from the security of a properly deployed access control system.


Here are 5 ways to use Access Control, and Keyless Entry to adhere to Covid Safety Guidelines

  1. Hands Free capabilities to unlock doors: Today’s access control systems allow you to unlock a door from a smart phone.
  2. No Touch Door Opening: Automatic door openers can be integrated with an access control system where the door will open without touching it.
  3. Track and Manage Entrances to Common areas: Through the access control software, entries to common areas can be managed, limited occupancy and tracking occupancy triggers can be enabled to help property managers manage the space.
  4. Remote Management and Maintenance: Today’s cloud-based access control and IP based keyless entry systems can be managed and maintained remotely. No need to be on-site to program and update credentials. Software updating and patching can be done remotely. Entrances can be remotely unlocked or locked down. Mobile credentialing and guest passes can be provided from an off-site property manager.
  5. Hands Free Package Delivery: With the proper delivery room system, deliveries can now be hands free. Entrance can be enabled to the delivery person hands free and package tracking and management can now be a touch free process.

Video Surveillance and the Covid Era

Today’s security camera systems and video surveillance systems are based on network and IP based technologies. IP based technology means that IP based camera and surveillance system vendors can use technologies like the Internet and the cloud to provide greater functionality and features for your security camera solutions. World-wide remote viewing of your security systems via smart phone is now the norm not the exception thanks to IP based and cloud-based security camera solutions. You could be in Europe, get an alert that someone needs entrance to your Chicago facility, you can go onto your smart phone see the entrance requestor, validate their identity and allow them access to the facility all via you smart phone, thanks to IP and the Cloud!. Security Camera technologies like Video Analytics use big data and artificial intelligence to empower your video surveillance system capabilities. Video analytics is software that looks for particular actions in the IP camera stream and view and when that action occurs it triggers notifications and alerts based on the action you would like to take when that event in the IP camera view takes place. Let’s say for instance; you want to know when motion is detected in an area during a time, well with a motion detection video analytic an alert notification can be sent notifying you of any motion during those times. Or let’s say you would like to know how many people come into a retail store during a certain time. A video analytic would get you that data in a way that you can use for analyzing trends or spotting anomalies. There are also video analytics for facial recognition, license plate reading, motion detection and line crossing. More video analytics are being developed every day for numerous safeties, security and business applications.

5 Ways to use Security Cameras and Video Surveillance to meet Covid Safety Guidelines

  1. 1. Video Monitoring and Video Content Analytics – There are numerous applications of security camera system technologies for the use of meeting, maintaining and managing Covid business opening guidelines. You may want to know if people coming into your premises have the proper face covering, you’ll know with the right video surveillance platform.
  2. 2. People Counting Video Analytic- Let’ say you have a common area where you would like to limit the number of people that can be there at one time. With a people counting video analytic you could be alerted anytime a certain amount of people congregate in one area for too long.
  3. 3. Door Entry Analytic –< The proper security camera system can be integrated with your access control system to allow people entry based on the system recognizing their face through facial recognition video analytic. The security camera system can also take a still photo with time stamp of anyone entering the access-controlled door for safety review.
  4. 4. License Plate Recognition- Gates can be opened in controlled parking lot areas based on the system recognizing the license plate. This limits touches from a key card and security guard managing the gate controller.
  5. 5. Thermal Imaging Cameras- There is a lot of hype behind this technology, but rest assured it’s coming. You will be able to determine the person’s base temperature based on their thermal image from a camera view.
  6. 6. Audio Notifications- Many IP based cameras have built in record and broadcast technologies. Let’s say you are a food processing company and employees, and contractors need to social distance from processing areas. Via a Video Analytic the IP camera will know if a line has been crossed and a recorded message can be played asking the person to move back or distance themselves from the processing area.

Next Steps Consider an assessment of your Building Security Systems…

Getting the right security systems in place is important in today’s era of social unrest and Covid pandemic re-opening guidelines. Who knows what the next regulation or compliance requirement will be? You need to take the necessary steps to keep your business open and protect your assets, resources, and people. The good news is it does not have to happen overnight. You can start putting the pieces in place now that make economic sense and will get you the most return on your investment. Look at the PropTech movement and you will find many of the PropTech security system technologies will also help you meet Covid safety and compliance guidelines. It all starts with the proper assessment. An assessment from a licensed security contractor is necessary. IT Risk Managers LLC has the experts that can help you. We have a deep understanding of IP based security, intercom systems and camera systems technologies. The thing about today’s leading security systems is that they are IP based, which means you need Information Technology experts to implement it and maintain it. Make sure the security company you choose for your access control systems, video intercom systems, and security camera systems have the properly trained technicians that understand IP and network technology.

To schedule an Assessment of your current Security systems or for more information contact Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370 or email!