What are the components of apartment building security?
Building managers should consider their building’s unique and specific needs before investing in security features. For example, security systems for small apartment buildings versus large apartment complexes will look different. In addition, security systems for multi-family housing—which may be referred to as duplexes, triplexes, or quadruplexes—may need specific solutions in comparison to a security system for apartment complexes or condominiums.
Here are the top apartment building security components to review: security cameras, access control solution, alarm and sensor system, parking garage and lot gates, package and delivery management, security management system, audio and video intercom systems, and forced entry resistant security doors.
Apartment building security camera systems
Multi-family residential security camera solutions are one of the most powerful tools you can use to keep your building(s) safe. Security cameras for apartment complexes can help managers monitor past and current video footage of their sites, keeping tenants and properties safe from a potential breach and maintaining a level of accountability amongst renters.
Video management systems can provide apartment building managers with valuable insights into a building’s security and potential threats. Avigilon’s Control Center software, for example, uses powerful machine learning that can detect unusual motion and help security teams learn what areas of the building need the most attention. Security camera software can also provide additional helpful features like license plate recognition and appearance search to better understand the activities occurring on the premises. Multi-family residential live security monitoring can also be made possible through the use of a cloud-based management system, allowing for a real-time view of what’s going on in your property.
The best commercial security camera system for apartment buildings should be scalable, easy to install and manage, and—most of all—protective of your complex’s people and property. See below the options for apartment and multi-family residential video security to better understand what system may work for your buildings.
Video security hardware considerations
Choosing the right apartment building security cameras is dependent on your building’s needs and existing systems. Hardware considerations include installation process, maintenance needs, and technology preferences.
Wireless security camera: Wireless security cameras for apartment buildings carry out transmission wirelessly through a Wi-Fi connection, storing video information and analytics to the cloud server. This is a flexible, scalable solution for complexes that may want to add more security cameras in the future. Apartment building security camera systems require a strong internet signal and enough bandwidth to enable high-resolution video transmission throughout the property.
Wired security camera: Unlike a wireless security camera system for an apartment complex, wired security cameras for apartment buildings require a physical wire connection to a central hub to feed and receive information, along with a separate connection to a power outlet. Information is stored in this hub and can be sent to users to replay video or watch multi-family residential real-time video surveillance.
Internet protocol (IP) camera: IP cameras provide multi-family residential real-time video surveillance functions by sending and receiving data through an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Despite what the name may suggest, these apartment complex security cameras only require a localized, private network connection. IP cameras can be wireless or battery-powered, and may allow for PoE installation, making it easy to set up and integrate with existing cameras and other apartment building security devices.
Analog video camera: The analog video camera is a traditional security camera system—CCTV cameras, for example, use an analog video signal. You may find that legacy apartment buildings have analog video cameras wired into the building, which is why they are still a prominent choice.
Video smart reader: For apartment building security technology that can provide real-time live feeds, send alerts based on access events, and authorize entry all in one place, consider installing video smart readers in your building. A smart video reader can further extend your security measures while also making guest and delivery management simple and convenient. Openpath offers two video smart reader options, including the Video Reader Pro and the Video Intercom Reader Pro, which both allow administrators to operate and monitor video and reader usage on the cloud from anywhere in the world.
Video security software considerations
The software solutions you use in accordance can ensure a more secure and convenient video managing experience. When combined with residential access control, a video management system makes for a smarter, more secure approach to multi-unit residential security. See what software solutions may be the right fit for your apartment building’s security devices.
On-premise video management software: This traditional type of video management features on-site servers that connect to a local network. On-premise solutions are great for legacy enterprises that want full control and customization, as everything is managed from these edge computer devices. However, management and maintenance of this system will require a team of technicians or IT professionals, which may prove to be costly for a multi-family residence building.
Cloud-based video surveillance software: With cloud-based software, video recording and system data are stored off-site in a third-party server accessible via the cloud. IP cameras or wireless cameras and network connectivity equipment are necessary to virtually send information to the cloud. With cloud-based software, multi-family residential remote video surveillance is possible, allowing for control of your video management system anywhere in the world with your laptop or smartphone. Remote camera security for apartment buildings is a top feature for managers to have, as you can monitor footage and customize surveillance configurations while you’re away from your property.
Cloud-managed security camera software: This cloud-managed system uses third-party hosted and managed servers, but video recording and storage are stored on your building’s premises through the use of a local hosting device such as a digital video recorder (DVR) versus a network video recorder (NVR). DVR is used for analog cameras, while NVR is used with IP camera systems.
Alarm systems for apartment complexes
Alarm systems for condominiums are crucial to have on your property. Every property should have an apartment building smoke and fire alarm system, along with an apartment building burglar alarm system, to keep tenants and property safe. Building managers are often responsible for installing, repairing, testing, and maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When you’re operating dozens—if not hundreds—of smoke detectors and alarms, an apartment fire detection system can help to manage these devices, as well as connect and operate them with a control panel, pull stations, water flow switches, strobes, or other audible alarm devices. Each state's laws vary in terms of alarm type, placement, interconnection with other alarms, and general maintenance, so be sure your building follows your state’s code.
Wired versus wireless alarm systems
For an apartment complex alarm system, you should consider whether wired or wireless security technology is right for your property. Apartment building wired alarm systems, as expected, function with a physical wire to communicate to a central station. Wired systems are reliable, being able to withstand power outages or electrical interference. Apartment building wireless alarm systems offer more convenience and scalability, allowing building managers to quickly and easily install the alarm systems. They use built-in batteries for power and send and receive signals via an internet connection.
Wireless systems, while convenient and affordable to install, can present some cons such as having to change out batteries or being prone to an internet hack. Backup power sources are recommended for wireless apartment building alarm systems in a power outage or failure. Wired systems aren’t necessarily completely protected from sabotage, though: a single cut to the wired cord can destroy all signals. One option isn’t necessarily better than the other—building managers should consider the scale of their property, upkeep preferences, and potential vulnerabilities for their multi-family residential security solution.
Apartment building access control
Condo building security systems should include secure entry points that allow authorized users a convenient experience and keep unauthorized entries at bay. Implementing residential building access control to key entry points of your apartment or residential building can enhance your security. This security solution refers to the methods and tools used to protect the people, property, and information from potential intruders—this can include hardware devices as well as the software systems that help you manage and organize access in your complex.
The best access control equipment supports keyless door entry, which is an optimal amenity for building managers and tenants. Building managers can choose from many access products for residents to use in conjunction with smart readers that can be installed right at any door, such as RFID cards, key fobs, mobile apps, or even hands-free entry with the presence of a smartphone nearby. With this technology, building managers can easily add or revoke access as tenants move in and out. This is a cost-effective investment that will instantly boost your property's security—as past tenants move out of the property, building managers can revoke access control from their digital keycard, fob, or mobile app. There’s no more need for buying and installing new locks onto residents’ doors, saving you precious time, resources, and money in the long run. Some smart readers feature additional security measures like a built-in camera for visual monitoring and intercom technology to better guide guests and deliveries. A flexible yet secure apartment building security system for amenity areas should include access control, as it allows for managers to remotely supervise and edit entry permissions at any point in time.
The right software allows building managers to manage, edit, and customize all of the integrated hardware across multiple properties with complete ease. Cloud-based software like Openpath’s allows for 100% remote access and management of your property with a unified control center. If there is an emergency lockdown or need to authorize access to a vendor, managers can instantly authorize or revoke access for one person or everyone on-site, allowing for complete control of your properties at all times. This software can also give managers a thorough understanding of how their technology is performing. Openpath’s cloud-based software, for example, provides activity log reports and real-time occupancy tracking to give you a closer look into how your tenants and employees are utilizing the building and if there are any security vulnerabilities to address.
Apartment visitor and delivery management
No security system for a multi-unit building is complete without a visitor or delivery management plan. Visitors, including guests of tenants, potential renters, or third-party vendors of the building, must be taken into consideration when planning an apartment building security system. Visitor access should be granted and maintained carefully, but it should also be convenient and simple for all involved.
Openpath’s residential and apartment building door entry systems can make authorized guest access easy. Residents and property managers can create and send mobile guest passes to download and use on a mobile phone—no app installation necessary. Building managers can monitor and record visitor access events as well, giving them the ability to see all guest activity on their properties.
Deliveries to apartment buildings have become more popular over the years, especially in the era of COVID-19. From general product delivery to food and grocery delivery, apartment delivery management must be top of mind for landlords. Packages can quickly present challenges if not maintained properly, including the potential for package theft or loss. There are several potential solutions for package management. One may be package lockers that utilize a RFID locking system, where delivered packages are collected by a receptionist or front desk manager and stored in a secure room or specific locker. This ensures that packages are kept safely in a temperature-controlled environment for the rightful tenant until they collect—but this may be a burdensome and time-consuming job for property staff.
Access control solutions like video readers and intercoms for apartments can help building managers and residents take control of their package needs. With Openpath’s Video Reader Pro, property managers can see if a delivery has arrived at a secured entry point and verify their identity through Openpath’s app. Openpath’s Video Intercom Reader Pro also allows for real-time, two-way video and audio calling to communicate with the guest or delivery service. This allows users to authorize access in a much safer, more convenient way.
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