Chennai

Apartment apps try to keep pace with the pandemic

Banking on technology to keep apartments safe. Photos: S Mahinsha

Banking on technology to keep apartments safe. Photos: S Mahinsha   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

The next time you visit a friend’s apartment, the odds are high that you will have a brush with facial-recognition technology.

Another of the possibilities: A message in your inbox informing you that your domestic help’s home is smack in the middle of a containment zone.

In both of these hypothetical scenarios, an apartment management app would have played a role.

Users of MyGate, ApnaComplex and Adda would now be familiar with a feature in the app that requires security guards to put visitors through thermal screening and feed the data into the app for residents to get real-time updates. Some of them even report whether or not the person is wearing a mask.

“Most apartments have security personnel checking visitors’ body temperature, but we don’t get real time notification. What I liked about the feature is that it creates more trust about the process by updating the resident,” says Sreenivas C.H., secretary, Raga Amrita Apartments in Medavakkam.

The 56-flat apartment complex signed up for MyGate last month appreciating the necessity of adopting certain measures to keep the community safe in the current situation.

Sreenivas points out that the fact that a resident tested positive recently led them to be technologically enabled in the battle against the novel Coronavirus.

Quarantine updates

Most of these apps come with a feature that enables a house to be declared as ‘home quarantine’. Management committee members can decide on the details that can be revealed to members in the society.

MyGate has the option of entering the address of the maid or driver into the app for it to run a daily check on whether or not their place of residence is in a containment zone.

Adda’s ‘Gate Broadcast’ allows the management committee to send messages to every resident regarding the arrivals of group orders like vegetables and fruits and groceries.

NoBrokerHood has a touchless face-recognition feature for a visitor at the gate to be given receives permission to enter the community. This feature captures the face of the visitor, which could be the daily help or any service providers, in three images. After the individual has been added, every time they enter the premises, they will just have to face the guard’s mobile phone camera for a millisecond, says a communication from the company. Once the scan is done and the image matches with the those in the records, the entry is automatically approved.

In a communication, Akhil Gupta, co-founder, NoBroker, said that they noticed that the entries and attendance for domestic help, and service staff, were done through two methods – Passcodes and Fingerprint scans (biometric). When you use the passcode method to monitor entry, there is a possibility that others can gain entry by proxy. They could use someone else’s passcode and enter your building. To fix this issue, fingerprint scanning was introduced.”

A great many tech-based features have been introduced specifically to fight the virus, and for them to be adopted by a society, there has to be buy-in from the management committee.

How popular are these apps? Saieeji R., joint secretary, Metrozone Owners’ Association says apartment management apps come with great features but it is up to the residents to make optimum use of them. Many a time, only after an issue crops up due they wake up to a feature.

“We have 2400 flats in the society and tech tools play a key role in disseminating information to residents,” says Saieeji. The gated community has residents using Telegram, tower group and Adda, in that order.

Saieeji adds: “Some monitor all three platforms, and many, just one of them; however, for the MC, it’s important to relay on all and encourage people to get the outmost out of them all.”

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 12:24:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/apartment-apps-try-to-keep-pace-with-the-pandemic/article32305637.ece

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