Q&A with FRONTSTEPS CEO, Jamie Clymer
Homeowners Association and Condo Association board members weigh options and determine trade-offs daily. Some aspects of community living are simply non-negotiable, however.
One prime example? Association security. We receive a lot of questions about what is changing in security and what to look for in a security solution.
Enter Jamie Clymer, CEO of FRONTSTEPS, to bridge the gap on the latest trends in association security for a new era. Here is what we learned.
Q: What’s changing with association security demands and why is security becoming more complex?
A: “There are a couple reasons that come to mind. First, work from home has gone mainstream, and with it more flexible schedules. One study found that 87% of employers plan to offer more flexibility in when and where their employees work, even after the pandemic.1 This shift will alter traffic patterns in and out of neighborhoods in significant ways. As a result, the stakes have been raised for boards in guarded community associations to collect more detailed tracking for residents, guests, and vendors.
Second, millions more Americans are shopping from home. Year-over-year increases in parcel delivery are ‘staggering’,2 according to industry sources. Parcel volumes jumped 37% in 20203 and continue to climb as online shopping habits have soared. While convenient for homeowners, ‘porch pirate’ activity has surged and 40% of online shoppers reported losing a package to theft last year.4”
Q: With a shift to remote work, how else will associations be impacted?
A: “If remote work is here to stay, homeowners in expensive regions of the country may look to relocate. Data reported by CNBC5 suggests that millions of Americans will relocate if they can take their jobs with them. For community managers and board members, this so-called ‘migration’ may increase move-ins and move-outs, and the administrative steps that accompany them.”
Q: How should HOAs think of security differently in the year ahead?
A: “Great question. As we turn the page on 2021, it’s critical to realize that security is a significant part of the resident experience. Homeowners should have a simple way to manage their guest list, reserve amenities, and complete other security-related tasks. Ideally, those tasks should be accessible from the same portal or mobile app that they use for all other community needs – from paying assessments to submitting architectural requests.”
Q: What should associations look for in their security software provider?
A: “It’s most helpful to identify a technology solution provider that keeps your options open. Some security software only works with a small set of hardware manufacturers for devices such as badge readers and license plate recognition. These rigid designs can force boards into costly decisions – such as replacing their entire security system if one component no longer fits their needs. Choosing a provider with open designs can maintain your flexibility and preserve your budget.”
Q: You often talk about the value of a single resident directory. Does managing resident and guest data in one system help safeguard communities?
A: “You hit the nail on the head. Accurate, current, and complete data is your best defense against theft, unauthorized entry, and other security risks. Unfortunately, many software products do not ‘talk’ with on another, forcing community managers to enter resident information, guest lists, and other data into multiple systems. We all know how time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry can be. You run the risk of errors that can endanger your community.”
Community operations are more complex today than in years past. A strategic approach to security system design is vital for balancing homeowner convenience with the safety we all crave.
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