Ted Low, Senior Vice President, Growth and Business Development
State-of-the-art technology is transforming the traditional models of Security and Access Control in commercial office buildings today. The global pandemic has catapulted innovation, resulting in the development of platforms consisting of touchless solutions throughout buildings, occupancy control in amenity spaces, density management, data analytics, and Visitor Management Systems (VMS). It’s hard to believe, but the way many buildings are set up to register and check-in visitors is still old and antiquated, requiring in-person interaction with officers at security check-in points and a lot of touch points required to complete the check-in. This process not only presents potential health risks to those involved, but it can be cumbersome, causing backups at the security desk or kiosks and elevators, especially in high traffic office building environments.
Given the current situation where people are reluctant to return to the office, Advanced Visitor Management Systems (VMS) are one of many new technology solutions in high demand. One company, Maryland-based Datawatch Systems, Inc., has embarked on reconfiguring its platform to not only meet but create new demands of its clients by leveraging its rapid technology deployment infrastructure. In an exclusive dialogue with PropTech Outlook, Ted Low, Senior Vice President, Growth and Business Development, Datawatch Systems, shares why, when thinking about visitor management, one should keep the big picture in mind.
What is Datawatch Systems? How is the company able to provide best practices in the safety and security of businesses and their employees?
Datawatch Systems is a fully integrated company that entered the market with its proprietary access control software development and management. We customize our solution to meet specific client needs, execute and manage the installation processes, and provide 24/7 customer support consistently. It is essential to recognize that visitor management is just one component of the comprehensive Datawatch Systems platform. We have been able to innovate solutions on the fly to solve problems that some organizations do not even realize they have in the first place. My team is also well-equipped to perform rapid technology responses in case of global disasters, as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
Our solution is tailored to meet the needs and demands of the commercial real estate industry with an emphasis on Class A multi-tenant spaces. We are currently engaged in empowering clients to create compelling cases for tenants to return to the office.
And, consequently, these efforts resulted in the development of an app-based remote management Datawatch solution, a remote visitor management system, touchless navigation—including Siri Shortcuts—from garage entries to main gateways, and amenity space reservation booking for space density management. In addition, our solutions ensure safety and provide reliable information about visitors through a host of notifications that allow property managers and owners to receive emails and updates whenever someone uses a visitor pass to unlock various doors or walk past multiple gateways.
How has Datawatch Systems helped clients overcome their visitor management issues, especially since the start of COVID-19?
With concerns stemming from the pandemic pertaining to contamination of surfaces and droplets spread by people, the challenge was clear: to improve visitation by minimizing human interaction and surface contact. Processing visitors is a one-on-one, guest-to-security interaction. A visitor is required to check-in at the guard station, where they must either sign in or provide some form of identification and then receive a valid, temporary visitor’s badge from the officer on duty. Datawatch Systems is re-inventing visitor management and making the entire process touchless, requiring no unnecessary personal interaction.
You have mentioned that Datawatch Systems’ solutions are highly customizable. Please elaborate on how you cater to the specific needs of various clients, with more insight into your interactions with clients.
Our strategy has always been to get intimately involved with clients, particularly in the commercial real estate industry, by providing a laser-sharp focus on the needs of property and asset managers alike. Datawatch Systems is the only organization that offers access control solutions for this space with 100 percent commitment. We make it our business to learn what aspects are most important to a client and develop new solutions and enhance the current portfolio to respond accordingly. We also help tenants anticipate current and future demands and build functionality into solutions that help clients effectively deliver on various needs. My team and I wholly understand that the key to desirable ROIs for an owner comes down to two things: revenue growth and cost control. Revenue is a function of occupancy, which is a function of tenant retention and attraction. Tenants willing to pay top market rates for class A office spaces expect an environment rich in technology that offers convenience and, most importantly, peace of mind. Our solution touches on each of these elements in a big way.
Please share with us some real-life applications of your solutions, and in brief, explain how they helped solve a client’s predicaments revolving around property safety.
We had a tenant who wished to secure the elevators to their floor at all times. However, they also wanted to find a way to bring visitors and new hires upstairs without sending someone to the lobby every time a guest was expected. With our web-based visitor pass and QR code labels, the client was empowered to achieve what they desired. After a visitor enters the elevator to go to the client’s floor, they are prompted to scan the QR code affixed to their Datawatch visitor access pass to identify which cab they are entering. In addition, our restricted visitor pass access level allows the guest or new hire to only select the floor to which the client has granted access. Datawatch Systems’ visitor access pass system grants tenants and property managers the ability to control doors and elevator cabs to certain floors while providing access to only those who are preapproved, thereby giving everyone in the building an improved sense of security at all times.
With such intuitive features already playing a huge role in securing a property, what is the next step for Datawatch Systems? Where is the company headed over the next two years?
Datawatch is currently in a robust growth mode, expanding its national footprint and adding new services regularly. We have embarked on an API integration initiative with tenant-experienced app developers and elevator companies. The collaboration with such enterprises will enable us to reside in building system platforms and perform as the engine that drives all access control and visitor management functions within a facility. Building management or ownership receives a new wave of attention through branding while providing functionality and security. The way I see it, it’s a win-win!