Customer Experience across the different residential and commercial communities in the UAE are becoming a critical indicator not only for the preference and selection of places to live and work, but also for the impact on the positive results of efficiency, sustainability, and at the same time adhering to the values of SMART LIVING.
There is a proliferation of companies and services delivering value from the application of digital technology, and more and more Community Management (CM)-Facilities Management (FM) service providers are starting to make use of data and insights for a continuous improvement of operations and customer experiences. As in many other areas and topics to discuss related to the facts of UAE living, the pace of digitalization and eagerness for innovation on the business environment is not aligned to the realities of a society that sees a lot of opportunities and potential but lives and practices very differently to the announced. A typical case of missed opportunism or how Perception differs from Reality.
One of the reasons for this misalignment is of course the needs on adaptation from those coming from different and less technically advanced living-cultures, though it is not the main factor on the equation for the problem. Paradoxically, the element of Security is!
UAE has been acknowledged as being one of the safest places in the planet in terms of low criminality indicators. When we look at buildings, campuses, communities, and other residential areas, the secure feeling that we get from living in a such a safe country makes us not to worry about threats or security measures as we should. This has been a large factor in the slow and negligible adoption of digital technology and preventive measures when it comes to the scenario of campus security.
Offlate, the awareness on digital and cyber-security for Smart buildings and businessrelated digital threats has been increasing. But when it comes to the physical day-to-day measures being adopted or implemented, there is a feeling among occupants/ residents that these measures are unnecessary and uncalled for especially when it pertains to controlling certain aspects of the visitors and residents’ inward and outward movement. This is certainly not sustainable in ever changing dynamic nature of our smart and truly global cities. When thinking on crime and internal security, not happening does not mean it can’t happen.
A basic example in this regard is the case of Swanky and Modern Buildings coming up across the Emirates where even basic levels of Lobby Reception process is not followed. The glitz and glitter of the infrastructure pale in comparison to the abysmal and low level of hygiene when it comes to Internal security and visitor management. When the best of Technology and Digital tools are available at one’s perusal, how it is possible that more than 75% of the buildings in the UAE are using pen and paper reception log-books to collect personal data? It is quite shocking.
We can only conclude that the responsibility and accountability matrix on these critical aspects is still unclear and residents need to perennially wait for a policy or compliance process to be set for all to realize what we are missing here. This is always deemed as a FUTURE ACTION waiting to Happen or a case of the community being REACTIVE when something Untoward transpires. This again raises the question of ‘Is Lobby Security and Visitor Management an aspect to be addressed if and only a CRIME or a MISHAP takes place???
Presenting the case for a SMART LOBBY DIGITAL GUEST BOOK
A Smart Lobby digital guest book is the best solution to make the process of visitor check-in from old paper to an organized digital framework. It enhances the safety and security of your building facility while ensuring regulatory digital data compliance. Visitors check-in details are stored in a secure online portal ready to access real-time data analytics. The result is clear and the burden of administration is also Minimal. The community has complete access to internal visitor watch-list and reports and can also choose to retain visitor’s data in a highly secured cloud-based or on-premise storage application. It also delivers better visitor experience and opens the opportunity for monetization and services for the Smart community.
Switching over to the SMART LOBBY application helps communities scale the next big step in the digitalization of facilities management which is made simple and effective at the same time. We can find similar examples like above when analyzing the gap between technology adoption at buildings and Smart usage of those. CCTV recognition tools, real-time positioning of personnel, and other advancements in digital solutions are ready to be implemented once the regulatory and policies push for digitalization as a business benefit and more importantly create a serviced community with truly smart living. It is quite common to see people leaving back-packs or bags behind banners or doors in the lobby/ reception area and this as a practice should raise an alarm for suspicious behavior in our communities.
But why it is not there already?
The General assumption is pointing to the business case, to see who is paying the bill, who takes responsibility on the operations, ownership, and does it make any business sense? Now, for the CM-FM companies, this can be a value-added service that can be offered to the owners, but the owners don’t want additional costs for something that they perceive as “it is not necessary” in this Country. Most tend to look at the costs, and identify the gap between a simple and efficient tool filling the purpose vis-a-vis the available solutions and propositions in the market, where sophistication, integration of services, hardware and software, and adopting the digitalization option as very complex and expensive.
Some companies in the UAE are working on cases where Smart living solutions can make better sense when the design is not only customer centric but also captures the best practices of the local society. This is truly the case with Spotnik Technologies, a digital transformation and consulting company which came into existence in Dubai during 2018, that today presents a solution within its portfolio for FM with a clear differential solution addressing the lobby log book problem.
The Spotnik digital lobby log book solves the problem by offering a model where the accessibility to the service is a key factor, where the solution is modelled on the business basis its scalability, and presenting to the community a framework where the standardization of the process, the capture and management of the data, and the tools for receptions and users are all combined to create an all-win formula.
A characteristic of this solution is a clear reflection of Spotnik’s ambition, to extend the code given to the users, visitors, and residents in the city, permitting quick access to those buildings and communities using the tool that enables a simple and secure check-in data process. The solution helps solving the more expensive case of scanning ID documentation big time and makes the dynamics of lobby and reception security management much easier. Spotnik is also in talks with entities for a potential policy and standardization of the process. Spotnik Technologies also provides innovative solutions for Community management introducing accurate by the meter indoor tracking in realtime for staffing and contractors, without the need of hardware implementations such beacons or tags.
In a country where leadership on digital transformation and innovation are key pillars of the sustainable development of the local economy, small businesses are coming with great ideas, and the ecosystem should be open for those game changers and progressive leaders at the government institutions to participate and put in practice digital standards in community management, so that the people and the businesses around them are fully aligned on the possibilities that it offers. The message should no longer about the digital potential available and instead should focus on the current adoption process and its effect in enhancing the security within the environment.
(The Author Mark Ranches, is from the Business Development Team of Spotnik)