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Data at the Multifamily Door

Historically the decisions needed when selecting the locks at the different multifamily doors came down to the following:

  1. Is it a common or resident door?
  2. What "look and feel" do we want?
  3. Does it need to be electrified, or can it stay mechanical with a key?  
  4. and Cost?

Safety and security were table stakes. It was (is still?) all about Security, Durability, and Finish.

Sure those still matter, but the game has changed. For instance, the user experience has expanded and is now from, as Stratis IoT trademarked, the sidewalk to sofa? Or, what data is needed and collected? How is it being used, and can it add value? The industry never worried about either of those prior, but some would argue, it is all we worry about now.

The blending of safety and convenience in security has been a hot topic for some time now. Still, with the need and desire for new use cases like unattended delivery, unattended showing, coworking, short-term stays, and now health, the conversation has to expand. Once we understand the use cases, we need to move to a software-first, and even more specifically, a data-centric discussion versus being mechanically focused.

Let us dig a bit deeper into the data at the door discussion.

Many of these new use cases have introduced unique data collection needs unthought-of, what, 6-12 months ago?

Take, for instance, the tenant door. With all of the use cases described earlier, we need to know how to track the tenant door's usage without tracking the user. Sounds simple and straightforward, but unfortunately, it is not that easy. We also need to do it with transparency and full disclosure. Again, sounds simple and straightforward, but it is not. Why? For several reasons, but to start:

  • Most systems cannot do it, especially legacy ones.
  • Cyber and privacy are typically cornered up into one part of the org and not embedded throughout the entire entity. The lack of pervasiveness results in cyber and security coming to the party late.

If you are not doing it already, somebody will do it to you. Take, for instance, the NYC Council, who recently introduced a bill that stated it "would require owners of multiple dwellings that utilize keyless entry systems, including but not limited to key fobs, biometric identifiers and electronic technologies, to provide tenants with a data retention and privacy policy. This bill would establish restrictions on the collection and use of data collected from such systems and from tenants' usage of utilities and internet services, including requiring consent from tenants to use such information, restricting the sharing of such information with third parties, and requiring that any data collected be destroyed within a given time. This bill would establish a civil penalty of up to $6,000 for each violation."  

The good news about this is that it will force the thought process needed to use data from and at the door, and it will be an opportunity for some. The bad news is, most are starting to think about this too late, and worse, their systems are inadequate for the simplest of new uses cases like reporting and transparency.

Maybe this will drive the change we need to be more software-centric and human-centric as an industry - it is still about safety. It just happens to be digital safety.