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Many believe that tracking access control is restricted to people only. On the contrary, access control also entails tracking packages and automobiles as well. Plaza South Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., knows this. The complex’s security began searching in early 2004 for a “gatekeeper” system to manage security for its high-rise condominium complex.
Prior to the deployment, the visitor log at Plaza South was kept in an “entirely hand-written” fashion. Due to increased visitor volume, as well as a growing number of contractors and visitors entering the facility for unit renovations, there was a desire among both residents and management to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of how visitors were managed, and to do so in a way that maintains the premium image of the complex.
While Plaza South only has two entrances, those entrances are extremely busy – more than 20,000 visitors entered the facility in 2008 alone. According to Sue Blalock, a representative of Plaza South, “We’re a large facility and we get lots of visitors. The president of the association was seeking to upgrade the way in which we handled visitors, and to improve both our security and our image.”
After a trial period, the facility chose an EasyLobby access control system, which was deployed in three locations on site – at the front desk, the receiving area and in the main office for administrative and reporting purposes.
BEYOND VISITOR MANAGEMENTPlaza South makes extensive use of the new system, and has even discovered ways to leverage the capabilities of the system, using it for a number of applications beyond managing visitors.
According to Blalock, package management is a “major issue in such a large facility.” When a package arrives at the front desk, it is recorded using signature capture, then labeled for delivery to the proper unit and recipient. By using it to track and label packages, the loss of packages between the front desk of the building and the final recipient has been dramatically reduced.
Another ingenious way of using the system beyond visitor management is to keep track of visitor’s vehicles. When there is a parking issue, such as an improperly parked car, the owner needs to be quickly located. Previously, performing this task using the old “pencil and paper” method was always extremely time-consuming, and frequently unsuccessful. Using the new system, the security staff is able to quickly and easily find the car’s owner.
In addition, Plaza South utilizes an asset management feature to manage security tags and keys, which are frequently provided to contractors and other frequent visitors for the tower they are working in or visiting. The staff is able to keep track of which visitor has which tag or key.
MAXIMIZING THE INVESTMENTOne of the key reasons that this system has been successful at Plaza South is that it provides an ideal balance of power and flexibility, yet at the same time is very easy to use. “During the first few weeks of using EasyLobby, we continued to run our ‘by hand’ guest books in parallel,” said Blalock. “Our reason for doing this was that our security personnel were generally not adept with technology and we wanted to avoid errors.
However, since it was so easy to customize and tailor it specifically for our needs, we found that we could move to a fully-automated solution very quickly.”
While Plaza South isn’t planning to physically expand the facility, the staff is looking forward to finding new ways to leverage their access control investment. “Because this system has been so easy to work with, we are sure we’ll continue to find many other ways to put it to use for our complex and our tenants."
SIDEBAR: PLAZA SOUTH CONDOMINIUMS
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Goal: To manage visitors, packages and parking in a multi-tenant residential property.
Number Residential Units: 336
Visitors/Year: More than 20,000
Packages/Year: More than 5,000