The adoption of smart community system for a neighbourhood is fast becoming a trend in recent years as the system could easily ease management, achieve automation and enhance security, all simultaneously. The objectives are clear, and the motive is good, but the end results may vary. This is due to the fact that a neighbourhood is a non-profit entity in which the management of it is normally far more complicated than a business entity. Hence, the process of choosing a system also would be far more complex, and the process turnout could be far less efficient when compared to a business entity’s and could result in more regretful outcomes.
We have compiled a list of 10 common reasons that lead to the changing of a system in a neighbourhood. And, because of the complexity of a neighbourhood, instead of upgrading, surprisingly some may actually end up downgrading their system.
1. Change of Committee Members
JMB or MC is a regulated and most powerful body to run a neighbourhood. Committee members are elected yearly amongst the unit owners, and the change of new committee members often led to a change in a system, management company, and security company for whatever reasons furnished.
2. Appointment of New Management Company
When a new management company is appointed, more often than not, they would suggest the neighbourhood to adopt a new system that they are familiar with and in turn, they would gather support from the committee members to agree to the idea of switching to the system they proposed.
3. Holes in Data Security
Holes in data security has often been overlooked by neighbourhoods where they may take a relaxed approach on PDPA compliance without asking for a more stringent and costly ISO 27001 certification, third-party Penetration Test, or EU’s GDPR compliance that not easy to achieve. When a neighbourhood realizes that these basics have to be taken care of out of all the features, they would start to regret.
4. Vendor Promised an Apple, but an Orange was Delivered
A smart community is a complex system; quite often vendors overpromised features that they couldn’t deliver. As an example, a vendor could promise a cloud patrolling system with attendance feature to monitor the guards’ performance and enhance the security as part of the smart community system but instead they deliver a so-called cloud system that is actually a conventional one, or worse still, they did not deliver the promises at all.
5. Features Pending Delivery
Neighbourhoods may find some smart community systems that come along with a list of features available, but unfortunately, some of those features are not functioning as expected and some might not be even finalized and ready to use. For example, a visitor management feature that can’t read text from a driving license, or can’t automate barrier gate, or can’t leave a visitation remark, or can’t send a snapshot of car plate number or visitor photo to inform resident. Or worse, when they engage with a smart community system with a feature checklist that is short and shy.
6. Software only, without IoT Capabilities
Most of the smart community systems are developed by software experts without any knowledge of hardware integration. Hence, the system developed lacks IoT device capabilities. Whereas, it is a common knowledge that smart community without a full fledge of IoT hardware capabilities can no longer be categorized as a smart community system because the integration with IoT access control devices at the barrier gates, lobby doors, elevators, and the integration with smart home devices, surveillance system and etc. has becoming a de facto in the smart community system to bring better automation and security to a neighbourhood.
7. No Integration of Smart Community System with Accounting System
Naturally, a smart community system should have an accounting system component in it to benefit the whole neighbourhood. With this accounting system, unit owners can check their bills and balances, as well as pay up their maintenance fees easily. The system also must have the capacity to auto update the payment information and issue an official receipt automatically in real time. If a smart community system can’t seamlessly integrate an accounting system into it, the system is far from complete, and it feels like you are losing an arm.
8. Low System Engagement Rate
A neighbourhood unlike a business entity, its residents have the rights to not use the community App for plenty of founded or unfounded reasons like a privacy issue. When a neighbourhood finds low system engagement, the value of the subscription depletes significantly, which makes renewal irrelevant.
9. System Problem that takes Vendor Forever to Solve
When a system problem occurs in a neighbourhood and it is not tackled in time, and when the vendor is taking its own sweet time to solve, be it system errors or bugs, it could be quite a frustration to handle. Worse still, if the system deployed does not equip with a service level agreement to entitle a neighbourhood to claim from the vendor.
10. No smart system is an Island
The wholesomeness of a smart community stretches upwardly to integrate with a government-led smart city system, and O2O Apps and surrounding merchants and downwardly to integrate with the individual smart home system. The benefits? Plenty. For example, for an individual household that has a smart alarm system installed, if the system is integrated with a smart system at the guardhouse or a smart patrol system, when an emergency happens, help could be sent instantly.
Most of the above-mentioned reasons that led to the intention to change and actually changing a system are valid and healthy. Only the first and second point, if their reasons for change are disputable without solid supporting reasons like reason no 3 to 10, this might cause a downgrade of a system rather than an upgrade.
Upgrading of old software to a new one could mean forking out fresh thousands of dollars, and it is a vast commitment especially for neighbourhoods, a non-profit organization. Neighbourhood’s management needs to be more frugal when it comes to spending. Besides, smart community system normally involves all residents, management, or even outsiders like merchants and visitors and etc. Therefore, all parties would be affected, unless a smart community system proposed does not possess comprehensive features and it involves only a small group of people with small engagement rate. Hence, a proper budgeting and migration plan has to be well in place before taking on a bold action to change. Even so, when the reasons are valid, an upgrade is inevitable for a better and safer neighbourhood for all.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how our conversion plan makes everything easy for you. And the best part is, migration is easy like a walk in the park, cost of conversion is almost zero, and maintenance of new system’s subscription is less than what you already paid for in your current system.
Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 10 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.