App Based Security Systems – Avoiding the BlindSpots

As a part of ADDA GateKeeper team, we find it a great honour to be entrusted with the Security Gate Automation of Residential Communities – to be of service in protecting Families and Homes.

ADDA GateKeeper - App Based Secuirty System
ADDA GateKeeper – App Based Security System

While doing so, we have made these 3 principles the pillar of the ADDA GateKeeper Solution:

  1. Simple – Simple so every User can use the Solution effectively.
  2. Secure – Secure so we never lose sight of the ultimate purpose and know how to mix the Hi-Tech and Low-Tech towards it.
  3. Responsible – Responsible so we know to protect the not so obvious.

While building the ADDA GateKeeper based on these principles, below are the App based Security system BlindSpots we unearthed.

BlindSpot 1: Stopping the Interactive Call from Gate to the Flat/Resident

While we are automating many security processes, “over-automation” can actually REDUCE Security of a Residential Complex.

Below is one such automation that ADDA GateKeeper has avoided.

In the ADDA GateKeeper solution, Visitor Data is entered in the Tablet, and Notification goes to all relevant people and there’s a lot of intelligence built in here that causes Delight to Residents.

However, the decision point of “Whether the Visitor should be allowed inside or not?” is NOT automated.

This aspect is taken care of in the good old low-tech way: Guard must call the Flat, of course helped by Technology.

a) Call the Intercom of the Flat (Security Guard can see the Intercom Number right in front of him on the tablet)

b) If Intercom is busy or faulty, Guard calls the “@Home Number” of the Flat right from the Tablet. This is a practical feature available on the ADDA app, where Resident of each Flat can update the Mobile Number of the person who is usually at home. This can be a Senior Parent, Nanny, CareTaker, etc.

An INTERACTIVE call with the person IN THE FLAT is important to decide whether a Visitor should be allowed in.

This very important checkpoint cannot be left to be done on an App, which will be only in the hand of the “App-Savvy” Residents.

Below are some of the reasons for it.

  1. Senior Citizens / Non-English Speakers / Nannies: Picture this situation – A home with office-going husband wife, and a senior Parent who is usually at home. The parent does not use any app, is not English savvy either. While the husband or wife may approve a Visitor from their App, it is the senior citizen who must be in a position to receive a visitor when they are alone at home. When there is a CALL from the gate, the Senior Citizen can in their “own language” verify the Visitor. They are prepared to open the front door ensuring they are alert and secure. If they are not in a situation to receive the visitor, they can coordinate with the guard to accompany the Visitor / leave parcel at gate etc.
  2. Children: When a Child picks up the CALL from the gate, the Guards are trained to ask for grown-ups. If no grown-up is present and a Delivery Boy has to get to home, Guards are trained to accompany the Delivery Boy

Incidentally, Senior Citizens and Children are most often the target of Crimes / Harassments in Residential Communities. We cannot create a solution that completely ignores them.

Unfortunately, it is the App-Savvy English-conversant younger residents, whose voices get heard the most on Online Forums. These residents favour the non-interactive app-to-app verification process due to its convenience. This makes the MCs believe that all residents want the app-to-app visitor verification process.

These reasons have us believe that if the INTERACTIVE call from the Gate to the Flat was to be eliminated, it will actually reduce the Security which already existed. Because soon the resident/owner would get into a habit of approving visitors without knowing their real purpose of the visit!

With ADDA GateKeeper, Residents who are App-Savvy pre-enter their Expected Visitors. This eliminates the need for the call. So the number of cases where the Call must be made comes down by itself.

BlindSpot 2: Pre-Populating Visitors Data from a Common DatabaseAny cloud-based system has to be responsible – towards the privacy of people whose data is stored on it.

Visitor Data is private to the Visitors themselves and the Visit Data (who visited whom and when) is private to Visitor and the Host.

The above data should be available only to the particular Residential Complex, solely for ITA – Incident Investigation, Trend Observation, and Anomaly Detection.

Some Customers ask us to maintain a “Common Database” of Visitors which is built with the Visitors’ Entry across all Apartment Complexes’ that use the ADDA GateKeeper Solution. We do not support such functionalities as we believe that they result in significant Data Privacy Breach.

The purpose is to pre-populate this data in the Tab so the Guard’s work becomes easier.

This means: The Guard must type in the Phone Number of a Visitor in his tab if this Visitor has visited any other Apartment Complex that uses ADDA GateKeeper, the Visitor’s data should show up automatically. The Visitor’s Name, Vehicle Detail, Picture, Company.

a) Customers assume this will be done only for Delivery Boys, Service Agents (e.g., beauticians, carpenters, mechanics), Property Agents etc.

It is assumed that such commercial agents need not be asked for their consent for their data to be made available to all apartment complexes.

We don’t believe in this selective breach of Data Privacy.

We are committed to the Data Privacy of ALL VISITORS and to the right of the Visitor to provide his personal data knowingly to every Apartment Complex that he visits.

b) The data populating this “Common Database” is NOT coming from the Companies that employ the Delivery Boys etc.

It is being populated by the Security Guard of the first Apartment Complex with this Solution where the Delivery Boy visited.

This essentially means we don’t trust our own Security Guard to capture the right data but trust someone else’s Security Guard.

c) The Identifier in this Common Database is a Phone Number.

The same phone number can be used by various people especially if it is an official number. In the case of any incident, the person who would be arrested might not be the person who would have committed the crime.

Who verifies if the pre-populated data is correct. If the Guard is to verify, then his work did not get easier.

If the Guard is not verifying, then often WRONG Visitor data is getting captured!

d) Who ensures that the data thus being stored in the Common Database and shared with everyone is actually that of Commercial Agents like Delivery boys?

The same Security Guard of the first Apartment Complex?

e) Who ensures that a Security Guard with this Solution in his tab won’t simply enter the Phone Number of a person and misuse the data he sees?

It is for these reasons that such Common Database is not used by GateKeeper.

So, will ADDA GateKeeper never provide such common database? Sure it will – once/if Aadhar database, which uses biometric as an identifier and not a phone number, becomes legally available for such use. Also, with complete knowledge and consent of the Visitor for such common usage.

Until then we keep chiseling away at the Visitor Data entry process so that it takes the least time for the Guard. And we make the Expected Visitor Entry to be done by Residents very attractive.

The proof that this works is the LARGEST apartment complex with 1500 VISITORS PER DAY using GateKeeper smoothly for the last 10+ months!

Check out the ADDA GateKeeper Deployment pictures for some of the largest Gated Apartment Communities across India.

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