The most important aspect of managing a building is keeping it, its residents, and their property safe. In days past, 'safety technology' consisted mostly of well-lit exits, the installation of panic bars and glow-in-the-dark stripping on exit doors.
Of course, in addition to getting residents out in case of emergencies, 'security technology' also means keeping potential troublemakers out. To accomplish this, many buildings were outfitted with cameras that captured grainy, time-lapse video recordings that managers hoped would deter unauthorized folks from coming into the building. Unfortunately, they didn’t really work. That's because fundamentally, cameras are just mechanical eyes. When it comes to security, their prime purpose is to record what happens in an environment for use later by the board, management, community security staff and possibly law enforcement if a problem is reported.
“Research shows that time-lapse videos did not deter criminals, but instead were only good in trying to solve crimes,” says Larry Dolin of American Security Systems in Long Island City, New York. “You could use closed circuit television to view around and into the premises, but a lot of people do not understand the criminal mentality. Criminals don't care if they are recorded.”
New Innovations – With Caveats
So how then does a community monitor its property and give residents peace of mind? Security technology has improved over the years to do just this. Gone are the grainy VCR recordings of yesterday. Today, instead, security technology is beginning to look more like science fiction. We aren’t traveling by flying cars, but getting in and out of buildings by using our faces or thumbprints instead of metal keys is definitely a reality.
Dolin remembers when the video intercom first came on the market. “Before then, the residents were letting people in by buzzer, but you couldn’t see them,” he says. “The video intercom was much better technology than what we had at the time. If there was a buzzer to let someone in, the intruder would just hit all of the buzzers until someone in some unit would let them in.”