E-commerce has dramatically altered traffic to gated communities. What was until recently only a trickle is now a steady stream - usually of people in branded uniforms carrying oversized backpacks on overused two-wheelers. At large gated communities with over 1000 homes, an average of 2,000 unique visitors make entry every day, the bulk of them being delivery executives.
The volume of this traffic is a concern and so is its type: whereas earlier, security personnel typically knew the small number of visitors (being largely made up of vendors/handymen from the neighborhood), today’s large number of visitors is ever-changing and, therefore, unfamiliar to those guarding the gate.
This creates a number of security challenges. In this article, we will look at the existing state of security at communities, the difficulties in validating eCommerce personnel, and what some communities are doing to ensure maximum safety for their residents.
What’s going on at the gate
Security measures at gated premises have always been conveniently lax - and often by design. In some residential complexes, there is only a register book that visitors need to make an entry into to gain access. Visitors may write whatever they please in here; so long as they are willing to pick up a pen and scribble in the register, they are let in.
In others, an attempt will be made to reach out to a resident via an intercom, but there is usually no answer and the visitor is let in anyway. In extreme cases, there is absolutely no one at the gate for long stretches of time; at such complexes, security personnel are assigned other menial tasks.
These approaches, though inadequate, were tolerated, as there were only a few outliers to keep an eye out for every day. This has changed completely in the eCommerce age, with hundreds of delivery executives and cab drivers seeking entry every day.
Not only is it not practical to validate each one of them through manual processes, it is almost impossible to know whether they have left the premises after completing the delivery. Aware of the ineffectiveness of such a security detail, even the most sincere guards end up simply going through the motions, making it easy for trespassers to find their way inside.
Why convenience is key to increasing safety
When visitors arrive at the gate, the security guard needs only to verify one piece of information: whether a resident has invited the person to the premises. Many gated communities do have intercoms installed, but residents typically don’t answer them, as it’s too much of an inconvenience. Moreover, when traffic builds, this process of calling each resident simply takes up too much of the guard’s time, leading to long queues.
To change this up, the requirement is a system that is convenient for residents to access at all times and speeds up interaction between the guard and residents. The technology to do so is now available via an app, and is quickly becoming popular among gated communities across the country.
It addresses the challenge posed by increased traffic at the gate by making it extremely easy for residents to validate the entry of their guests - even before they arrive at the gate. A couple of clicks and the guard is notified that a particular resident is expecting a food delivery or a cab; in case a friend shows up unexpectedly, the guard simply uses his device to place a request to the resident, who can accept or deny their entry.
Through such a system, residents can conveniently approve their visitors and guards can quickly verify any persons coming to the gate. The app also alerts guards when delivery personnel stay within the complex for longer than they need to be. This enables guards to actually perform their job and enhances security for the entire community.
As E-commerce continues to grow, the footfall to housing societies will only go up, increasing the vulnerability of the main gate. It is time that gated premises of all types evaluate technologies that enable them to ramp up security without inconveniencing residents inside.