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Future of Living podcast recap: Future of access control in multifamily

Over the last decade, access control has progressed from card access at perimeter openings to a convenient solution for interior doors. From commercial buildings to K-12 schools, we’ve even seen this in multifamily properties, where the needs of commercial and residential blend to create a truly unique market for access control. The next natural progression is from brass keys and plastic cards to our smartphones.


Robert Gaulden, director of Allegion multifamily channel strategy, joined the Future of Living Podcast to discuss mobile credentials and the future of access control in multifamily. Here’s a glimpse at their discussion, and you can listen to the entire episode

"Everyone’s solving a different portion of the pie. And I think if we can pull that all together, then you can create that seamless access."

-Robert Gaulden, director of Allegion multifamily channel strategy

The multifamily experience: Mobile credentials and strategic integrations

We live on our phones these days. It’s understandable…we can do almost anything and in a more convenient way. Why pull out your day planner if you can add a meeting to your phone’s calendar, which will remind you 15 minutes before? Smart phones are already starting to replace our wallets with various payment applications. Day planners, MP3 players and CDs, alarm clocks and more have been replaced by mobile devices. Next they will replace our keyrings.

Mobile credentials fit nicely into smart apartments and smart buildings, which have grown in popularity in recent years. In reality, they are capable of much more than a standard credential. The way the mobile device interacts with various integrations makes it a powerful tool. It allows users to gain access to buildings seamlessly while property managers can efficiently dispense virtual visitor management credentials. These can be used for a temporary visitor like a delivery person or a vetted service like a dog walker. Beyond that, mobile credentials can produce more data about how you’re running your facilities.


“I’m a big believer of building ecosystems of technology partnerships,” Gaulden said in the podcast. “Everyone’s solving a different portion of the pie. And I think if we can pull that all together, then you can create that seamless access.”


Multifamily properties need a perimeter access control system with perimeter locks as well as locks for resident unit entries. Beyond that, properties need to consider the entire journey from that perimeter opening to the residence unit—and how that journey differs for a resident, staff and guest. This could involve multiple doors, an elevator, stairs and common spaces. Then of course, all of this needs to meet building code requirements


Once properties start pulling in different partners to create a better, holistic experience, then we will really see where the industry can go, according to Gaulden. To get the experiences that the property and residents really want, it’s going to take an ecosystem.


Today, Gaulden says we’re seeing two different buckets in the multifamily market. On one side there is the group that are testing the basics, simply moving from mechanical to electronic deadbolts. Then there are properties using technology for an experience. It’s a more complex integration pathway, but it will achieve the experiences both properties and residents desire. Overtime, as the first group becomes more comfortable with the technology, the hope is that they will move up the food chain and become one of the advanced adopters.


Closing advice


Robert closed the podcast with advice to property managers. He said when it comes to investment, the first step is often moving from mechanical to electronic. The benefits are clear: key management, rekeying, greater security and risk mitigation. Plus there are ROI benefits.


The next thing is to develop a credential strategy. After that’s in place, the next thing to consider are partners and technology that can enhance your access control experience across the property. Then finally, look at what new experiences and services you can offer residents to stand out. How can you provide more through the technologies you’ve integrated?


This is a brief recap of the conversation. Check out all of Robert’s advice in the Future of Living Podcast: The Future of Access Control. Or learn more about Allegion’s multifamily solutions.