Carol J. Ott in Building Operations on November 20, 2018
As the work continues to pile up on co-op and condo boards and their property managers, many are turning to the burgeoning array of tech offerings to lighten the load, from package delivery to building access to work orders and beyond. Here are two new tech offerings that could make life easier for any co-op or condo board.
Carson – “People don’t want to live in buildings that can’t reliably accept packages,” says Guy Blachman, who founded Carson last year. Having created, run, and then sold his two previous digital companies – MyBuilding (a portal for condo high-rises) and ActiveBuilding (a portal for rental buildings) – Blachman had a deep understanding of property management software. He teamed up with Jerry Kestenbaum, the founder of Buildinglink, and created a virtual solution that combines front-door access control, a virtual doorman, and the ability to communicate among the property manager, staff, and residents.
What differentiates Carson from others, though, is access control and package delivery – done through an app, email, or text. With the Carson app, residents can remotely open the front door, their apartment door, and even the door to the roof. Additionally, a building can install a Carson Panel next to the existing intercom. It has a call button that, when pressed by a visitor or courier, sends a live video feed to a 24/7 central call station. There the request will be verified and the relevant resident notified.
Adam Vigh, a board member at a 27-unit condo in Long Island City, Queens, recently switched to Carson from a different virtual front-door service. “We were unhappy with the service we were using,” Vigh says, “so we shopped around and found that Carson was about half the price. Plus, it comes with more modern amenities.”
One of the problems the condo board members were facing was that their building had a front door and another door to a package room. With their previous vendor, the courier had to ring the front door, wait for entry, and then ring again for entry to the package room.
“It was a two-step process,” Vigh says. “They just wanted to drop the packages and then get out, and it was a constant struggle to get them to actually go to the package room instead of dropping the packages in the lobby.” Carson was able to program the call buttons so that the package room door automatically opened 30 seconds after the front door. “We have a lot fewer packages that are left in the lobby,” says Vigh.
InCheck – Where Carson has conquered door access, InCheck has tackled work orders and resident requests, with the aim of triaging requests before they escalate into compliance issues. Tied into SiteCompli, an online solution used by many property management companies, InCheck is designed to be a place to organize and store items that require action. If your management company already uses SiteCompli, your building can implement InCheck at no extra charge (if you’re in New York City), or it can license its own stand-alone version for a monthly fee.
One of the unique features of InCheck is its vendor insurance and contract database. Keeping track of vendor insurance is extremely important if you are going to protect your housing corporation from lawsuits. InCheck’s database lets you see, at a glance, the name of the vendor, the insurance policy number, the insurance company, policy type, expiration, and the names of the insured.
Residents who want to submit work orders can do that either through a dedicated web portal or by making a phone call. InCheck doesn’t have an app for residents, but its website is mobile-compatible.
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