By Matthew Knoff, VP. Service & Fulfillment, Position Imaging
Many of today’s multi-family dwellings are mixed-use complexes that include retail and office locations in the same building. Residents living in these buildings have grown accustomed to smart building operational processes that are automated and responsive to tenant needs and weather conditions. They now rely on a combination of technologies that automate living conditions via IoT sensors that feed information into databases to track trends and adjust to calculated weather changes.
These smart buildings have created an elevated level of expectations for all property owners and managers to be aware of. Residents now have a checklist of automated amenities that they judge their dwellings on when seeking residency or determining whether or not to renew leases. Property owners who are notoriously slow to adopt new property technologies are put on notice to improve their tenant experiences by enhancing their offerings, or else lose tenants to other properties.
These smart technologies have transformed living into a contactless lifestyle where lights and climate controls are adjusted from anywhere without the need to physically touch keypads. This convenience is not reserved for the residents; it also extends to property owners by reducing time-consuming tasks typically performed by staff members.
The COVID-19 pandemic has extended residents’ preference for “everything contactless” to online ordering, to an extent that there is now an avalanche of packages sent to residential lobby areas. According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index (DEI), consumers spent $70.2 billion in April 2020 and $82.5 billion in May 2020—which is 7% higher than the $142.5 billion spent online during the November and December 2019 holiday shopping season just a few months earlier. For property management, keeping track of and securing all these packages can quickly amount to a nightmare for the staff—whose job is typically not to assume responsibility for courier drop-offs to residents.
The sheer number of these items being dropped off is causing property owners to question, Who’s responsible for these packages if they get lost:
- Property management?
Oftentimes, couriers don’t take the time to properly notify a staff member that they are dropping off a package, and this greatly increases the risk of theft. The theft issue is exacerbated because many couriers in nearly every city employ gig workers who do not necessarily hold the same high standards as their employer when dropping off packages (i.e. they tend to leave them anywhere). In fact, Amazon Flex Drivers, who are independent contractors, deliver packages and groceries for Amazon and Whole Foods in more than 50 U.S. cities.
Fortunately, there are package management systems on the market that enhance residents’ contactless lifestyle while also alleviating property managers of the responsibility for managing all those items.
These Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer vision-based package management systems allow couriers to scan in a package, assign it to a resident, and simply place it anywhere on a package-room smart shelf where computer vision will monitor it until the correct resident retrieves it. To retrieve, residents instantly receive a notification via text or email that a package has arrived for them. The notifications also contain a QR code, which residents flash to enter the package room to pick up their item. It’s an extremely convenient, contactless experience.
Oftentimes the installation of new technology comes with the need for acquiring a new skill set for staff members. Since maintenance personnel are typically the individuals who deal with new systems, they are also often reluctant to embrace them. Fortunately, these package management systems are not complex and there is no need for advanced training or new skill sets to be acquired in order to operate. They can install in about a day and are currently in use by many of the country’s well-known multi-tenant properties such as The Dime in Brooklyn, NY.
If landlords expect to keep high-quality tenants, they need to take more responsibility for protecting package deliveries—the volume of packages will not be diminishing anytime soon. Why not embrace residents’ preference for a contactless lifestyle and give them the peace of mind that all their online orders are safely protected and waiting for retrieval?
Matthew Knoff is Vice President of Service & Fulfillment at Position Imaging, and oversees the company’s daily operations including customer service and support. He leads the development and maintenance of Position Imaging’s integrated operations platform which includes Client Relationship Management, Client Success,Technical Support, Customer Service, Fulfillment, Inventory Management, Installation and Servicing of new and current products. Prior to Position Imaging, Matthew was co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for ButterflyMX, the world’s first smart phone video intercom. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University.