Most communities have guards to man their gates and deal with unwelcome guests. While some societies now have video surveillance and multiple checkpoints, these solutions are either expensive or labour intensive for regular use.
With increasing cases of theft, kidnapping and other unforeseen security breaches even in gated communities, CommonFloor Groups considers the age-old method of registering visitor information on paper obsolete. It recently launched mobile app Smart Guard as a solution for this pain point.
What is it?
Smart Guard helps apartments and residential communities digitally record and monitor visitors such as working staff, guests of residents and vendors. The app allows administrations of associations to login and create accounts for multiple guards. A security guard can mark the entry and exit for visitors through the app, which also works offline. Based on the details entered, the app sends out automatic SMS alerts to residents on guest arrival to ensure authorised entry.
Smart Guard has been designed to work on basic smartphones or tablets. Based on the data collected, weekly email reports are also sent to the admins of the associations. The app records whether the
security guard has taken approval from residents before letting in a visitor. This helps in keeping a systematic record and good security measures at the community and scrutinising any suspicious behaviour as well.
The team and the app’s other features
CommonFloor.com, the parent company behind CommonFloor Groups was launched in 2007 by Sumit Jain, Lalit Mangal and Vikas Malpani. The company has raised funding from Accel Partners, Tiger Global and Google Capital and is among the leading real estate platforms combining property search and apartment management and catering to consumers’ end-to-end residential requirements.
The development of the Smart Guard app was spearheaded by Vikas, Co-founder Commonfloor.com and Head, Commonfloor Groups. Including the members in the picture above the team includes, code ninja’s- Ashish Kumar and Manisha Sharan. Through the app, guards can record and collect upto 15 data points including photos of a visitors, classify them as staff, guests and vendors and record their entry/exit times. For the communities using CommonFloor Groups’ premium offerings, the app has advanced features such as self-check-in mode, smart authorisation, multi-gate and phone support. The smart check-in feature allows visitors to use the app with the supervision of the security guard. The app includes an in-built telephonic help and support system to assist guards in case they have queries in the onboarding process or later on.
The app can be integrated with a biometric system to ensure seamless integration between various security systems a community may have. It is free for download from the Google Play Store and can be used by any community in India that is already registered on CommonFloor.
Vikas considers Smart Guard an extension of their ‘smart community’ product portfolio that has automated solutions for managing communication, complaints, assets to automated invoice generation and accounting. He says,
“The app is a simple yet technologically efficient solution for ensuring security in a gated community. Our focus has always been on making communities smarter and we strive to provide them the technological automation to resolve their daily management hassles.”
What we liked
Smart Guard is a simple and easy-to-use app. The CommonFloor team gave YourStory a demo. The design is elegant and in terms of functionality, the app allows guards to select their gates, login details of people entering and exiting the building through that gate.
The app includes a ‘visitors log’ which provides information about all visitors- staff, guests and vendors, with details such as their check-in time and contact details. Nitin Ramrakhyani, Director of Products for CommonFloor Groups, confirmed that they are looking to make the authentication process more accurate. He says,“We are also working with a few partners to integrate Aadhaar-based verification into the app so that guards can perform instant verification of staff identity.”
What could be improved?
Though I had not tried out the app in a real-time environment, some of the possible ways to improve it could be to include native Indian languages such as Hindi or other regional languages, so that guards can better understand the workings of the app and also enter information correctly.
Depending on the size of the community and daily visitors, the numbers of SMSes sent can vary considerably, adding to the cost of operations. So, a ‘resident facing’ app to receive push notifications from guards, or in-app messaging solution (while guards have access to WiFi) may help streamline the process and maintain the balance.
CommonFloor Group’s Smart Guard serves it basic purpose of making the lives of both guards and residents easier, by decreasing reliance on intercom services and other obsolete tools that are time consuming and difficult to track. With all the records stored digitally in the form of reports, it is easier to trace problems and notice patterns. It will be interesting to see how the CommonFloor Group increases user adoption for the app in different communities and what other features or use cases it may include in the future.
Website: Smart Guard
What do you think about this app, do let us know in the comments below. Also do check out other apps under our App Fridays series.