How NoBrokerHood is streamlining community management

With first-of-their-kind solutions like biometric entrances, IoT-powered entry points, and secure society-related transactions, NoBrokerHood is making community living simple, secure, and seamless

How NoBrokerHood is streamlining community management

Friday August 18, 2023,

14 min Read

India’s housing needs have increasingly moved towards community living amid rapid urbanisation. This can be attributed to several factors, including a greater need for security, the desire for more amenities and services, a growing preference for a sense of community, and the need for access to facilities like clubhouses, swimming pools, parks, and gyms, which add to a wholesome lifestyle. This rise in gated communities across the country has also boosted the need for community management platforms that offer a range of benefits to residents, including convenience, efficiency, and improved security and social interactions. 

The need for a community management platform

A community management platform is a software solution that helps residents of a housing society or community manage day-to-day activities more efficiently and effectively. The platform offers a host of features, including bill payment, maintenance requests, visitor management, security alerts, and social interaction tools.

Community management platforms provide a centralised platform for residents to communicate and coordinate with each other and with the management committee of their housing society, saving time and effort to focus on other important tasks.

One of the main reasons for the rise of community management platforms in India is the increasing number of people living in housing societies and communities. This growth can be attributed to factors such as the rise in nuclear families and the increased demand for enhanced security.

With more people living in close proximity, there is a greater need for efficient management and coordination of community living. According to India’s biggest proptech platform, NoBroker’s annual real estate report, over 60% people today prefer gated communities.

India’s leading digital platform for all real estate needs

NoBroker was founded in 2014 by IIT-IIM alumni Akhil Gupta, Amit Kumar Agarwal and Saurabh Garg with the aim of eliminating brokerage from rent/buy/sell transactions. The platform connected tenants and landlords, and buyers and sellers directly, allowing them to negotiate price and rental terms and finalise deals with complete transparency and autonomy and with zero brokerage.

Over the years the platform evolved to offer a range of value-added services such as maintenance and repair, rent payment, and community management, home cleaning and painting, packers and movers, regal agreements, home loans, complete property management services, etc. to help tenants and landlords manage their properties efficiently. Today, NoBroker is a one-stop shop for all property-related needs: renting, buying, selling, home services, and community living.

NoBrokerHood: a comprehensive offering for community needs

In 2018, NoBroker launched NoBrokerHood, a comprehensive digital solution to address the gap for community living. The platform, a smart visitor and residential community management system, makes life more convenient and secure for residents of housing societies and townships.

NoBrokerHood acquired Society Connect in February 2020 to integrate the financial module with its services and make society living easy and hassle-free.

The need for NoBrokerHood arose from the fact that gated communities and their governing bodies needed a solution to streamline and make experiences for residents seamless. The older methods of book keeping and maintaining registers were becoming obsolete and draining in larger gated communities.

From tracking monthly maintenance fees and all property-related services, NoBrokerHood offered a solution to service each individual need of a gated community and streamlining basic functionalities, leaving little room for any human errors.

“In India societies are usually managed by Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs), who keep track of not only payments, but defaulters, staff salaries, apartment upkeep and general security, among many other such responsibilities. We wanted to address this gap through our digital platform,” said Akhil Gupta, Co-founder and CPTO of NoBroker. 

NoBrokerHood, the leader in community and amenities management solutions 

Amenities play a pivotal role in distinguishing gated communities, providing residents with an upscale living experience. However, managing these amenities is equally critical for RWAs, as mismanagement can lead to conflicts among society members. The complexity of amenities management arises from various factors, such as multiple facilities ranging from swimming pools and party halls to indoor and outdoor sports options, each requiring slots, bookings, cancellations, payments, and subscriptions. To address this challenge, NoBrokerHood has developed a robust and detailed Amenities Management System, allowing societies to configure facilities, set usage rules, and establish charges.

With NoBrokerHood’s resident app, residents can effortlessly choose and book amenities with just a few clicks, instantly making payments for paid amenities. Moreover, societies can effectively manage classes like dance, karate, and Zumba within these amenities, enabling residents to subscribe for classes. The system also handles instructor attendance, ensuring smooth class operations. To alleviate crowding issues at amenities, NoBrokerHood has implemented advanced pinless access control devices, leveraging IoT technology. Authorised individuals can enter amenities by flashing their mobile devices on these pinless devices, enhancing transparency and convenience for residents, almost akin to a high-end club membership experience.

Furthermore, the deployment of biometric entry devices at gates has lightened the burden on security guards and enhanced entry security compared to easily shared passcodes. Self-check-in biometric devices have reduced entry time by 20 seconds per maid or staff visit, collectively saving precious minutes during peak morning and evening hours, resulting in reduced queues at society gates.

NoBrokerHood is now India’s most popular community management platform as it provides a convenient, secure, transparent, efficient community forum so that residents of housing societies can manage their daily activities.

Be it a society with only 20 apartments to a large gated community, any residential complex can integrate the app to make community management secure and seamless. The platform’s robust onboarding procedure takes into account all needs of a specific society and also handholds residents and service providers on using the app seamlessly.

Keeping communities safe during the pandemic

As India entered the first lockdown and there was much uncertainty on procuring daily essentials, NoBrokerHood launched a grocery store overnight and was quick to partner with Bigbasket and ITC, to help society residents by optimising deliveries. 

It also launched an array of features to help residents mitigate the risk of COVID-19, including touchless entry using facial recognition and integrating Aarogya Setu to track visitors coming from containment zones and to ensure that they did not bring in any risk of infection. A health tracker feature offering hyperlocal details about containment zones near the society and if a visitor was coming from one was the first of its kind. The app also rolled out campaigns for COVID testing for societies integrated with the platform and a door-to-door vaccination programme. 

Tech-powered solutions to enhance security

NoBrokerHood was the first community management app in the country to offer a biometric entry system, thereby monitoring any entry or exit activities in a community. To avoid duplication of entry pass codes, a common occurrence where entry codes have the danger of being used by multiple service providers without the knowledge of an apartment resident, NoBrokerHood introduced a system of biometrics, where entries and exits mandated fingerprint scanning, a fool proof method that completely eliminated the possibility of proxy entries.

During the pandemic, to eliminate the problem of touch, NoBrokerHood introduced another first for any community management app in the country – the touchless entry system with facial recognition, for the convenience of residents in societies. The technology entailed facial scans of a person entering the facility from three different angles to ensure high accuracy through a process that took less than 30 seconds. To maintain security, the information was encrypted so that it could not be recreated.

Unified platform and verified providers

Through the NoBrokerHood platform, all designated staff members in a society, including housekeeping, house help, security staff and home service providers, are verified through an online KYC process that eliminates any document forging. For service providers working in the community, the app offers a facility that can help society management to authenticate documents of each member through an online verification tool that maps and identifies a person’s government documents rigorously. The app is also a one-stop platform for home-related services: from packers and movers to home cleaning/renovation. It offers verified and safe services for all residents.

NoBrokerHood takes stringent measures to onboard vendors on its platform, to make sure that service providers interacting with residents bring best quality and safe engagement. To keep the quality of service premium, the acceptance rate of service provider partners on the platform is 7-8%, meaning out of every 100 vendors who apply to become partners, only few are handpicked on the basis of their quality of service, before they are allowed to become service providers for NoBrokerHood. It also provides a digital marketplace for residents to buy/sell products they may be looking to give away or upgrade from. This provides a verified option for safe transactions. 

Block-wise gates and IoT-driven boom barriers

In large-scale societies, with multiple entries for delivery executives, house helps, and other service providers, it becomes impossible to track the time of arrival at a particular resident’s apartment. To solve this, NoBrokerHood developed a block-wise digitally managed entry system, where the app notifies residents as and when their service provider moves across various checkpoints like main gate or through other blocks, so they can track when the person will arrive at their home. 

The NoBrokerHood app also covered the entry of residents to various amenities in the community, through its pin-less entry mechanism. Now, a resident can use the app to indicate where they need access to; the app then directly opens the entry gate, depending on availability of slots for that amenity.

Boom barriers that are integrated with the app also help save time for residents by automatically operating a gate during entry. These devices, which are integrated with FastTag stickers verified on the app, enable seamless entry and exit for residents. This mechanism also ensures that residents only enter their assigned parking blocks, eliminating any chances of conflict resulting from incorrect parking by residents. 

No loss of deliveries

As more and more residents shift to digital shopping, apartment complexes receive a host of deliveries on a daily basis. Through the NoBrokerHood app, residents can either get their goods delivered at the doorstep, or, if they are away, they can ask for deliveries at their gate. To make sure that there is no theft or misplacement of items delivered at the gate, the staff accepting the delivery can take a photograph and upload it on the app for reference. The resident can collect the item by using an OTP.

Financial transactions and booking amenities

Earlier, to manage transactions, communities would have to put up physical notices on common boards, and residents had to pay the amounts accordingly. This often resulted in delayed/defaulted payments or even loss of revenue when these payments were made in cash, or payments made through cheques were misplaced. Added to this, gated communities needed to collect overall expenses from residents, which were calculated through complex formulas. Based on individual society rules, the cost and use of amenities also varied.

To make this process error-free and seamless, the NoBrokerHood app offered communities the option of setting customised calculations through a robust ERP invoice. This helped to raise detailed and exact invoices that could be paid by residents through the in-app payment facility. 

Added to this, NoBrokerHood also facilitates booking of community amenities, and solving the problem of duplicate bookings. The app can navigate a bouquet of amenity booking rules for residents, where no two residents can end up booking the same slot on the same day, or where no two residents from the same family end up booking adjoining slots. This ensures that residents are never in conflict over amenities booking and everyone gets a fair chance to use them. 

Generating revenue streams for communities

Most communities have different forms of training services, conducted by professionals and residents from within the complex, where they engage with people in the community, to impart training for activities like sports, culinary skills, wellness etc., through the existing amenities within the community. The NoBrokerHood amenities management service on the app enables a community to charge a fee to such service providers who engage with residents and use the facilities to teach art forms like dance, theatre or various sports activities like swimming, tennis, badminton. The app is designed such that when residents pay the fees, a pre-decided percentage is automatically deducted and directed towards the society management. 

The app also helps societies to make money through brand engagement opportunities. NoBrokerHood facilitates brands to showcase their products in a big gated community for a small fee, which is then passed on to the society. These earning opportunities help communities to save costs and build a corpus that can be utilised as per their need. 

Data security is at core of NoBrokerHood

In 2022, NoBrokerHood earned the coveted PCI DSS Level 1 Certification and became the first platform that was e-invoicing compliant as per government mandate. It further strengthened its ERP offering as the first real estate society app to be certified as a secure platform for payments. This helped NoBrokerHood, which has its own payment ecosystem. to reinforce its position and prove to users the strong commitment it has towards data protection.

Today, over 1.2 Cr residents and 40 lakh households have on-boarded NoBrokerHood. Aside from the confidence of having their payments processed with the most secure and advanced payment system and minimal payment failures, residents also enjoy a seamless experience with instant settlement of transactions to society accounts at no extra cost. It also allows transactions for free via UPI at 50% less charges for non-UPI transactions as compared to other apps.

Google Trust in NoBrokerHood

Continuing its focus on building a secured platform for society residents, in March 2023, NoBroker raised $5 million from technology giant Google to build unique solutions with a focus on growing NoBrokerHood. The partnership is a means to further the app’s commitment towards building cutting-edge, unique and secure solutions and services to simplify the lives of residents of NoBrokerHood communities. The fund will also be utilised to grow and reach 1 lakh societies in the next few years, according to Akhil Gupta. This is Google’s first investment into any Indian proptech company and part of their $10 million Google for India Digitisation Fund, to help accelerate India’s digital economy.

As the first feature of this partnership, NoBrokerHood rolled out an Android watch app in collaboration with Google in June 2023, to further ease the life of residents in the community. The watch app allows residents to approve and track entries of guests, house helps, deliveries and others without the need of the phone. It also allows residents to enter secured amenities with a push of a button on the app which opens the gate for them automatically without entering any passcode. The advantage of this feature lies in the case where residents now don’t always carry their phones while working out at the gym, swimming, running, driving, or playing sports as many times they choose to not carry their phones around. They can now download the NoBrokerHood app on their smartwatch devices and easily carry out visitor management tasks, reject and approve entries. The pinless entry feature on the phone is now extended on the watch app, to remove the hassle of carrying a phone at all times, particularly when heading out for physical activities without compromising on security. The process is much simpler for residents with the integration of wearable OS technology as residents can now approve or reject visitors via their smartwatches from anywhere and access amenities without having to remember their passcodes, which was earlier a requisite to access amenities or recreational zones in the community.

In conclusion, NoBrokerHood’s comprehensive approach to amenities management has brought about transparency, convenience, and enhanced living experiences for residents, transforming gated communities into thriving, harmonious spaces.