Pandemic Changes in Building Access Are Here to Stay: Moving Toward Mobile Access and Touchless Sensors

Norbert Artur, director of sales – Canada, Aiphone
Norbert Artur, director of sales – Canada, Aiphone

Security in multitenant buildings and condominium complexes has been evolving for many years. Property managers continuously look for ways to ensure the safety and security of individual living spaces, as well as common and shared areas, and the events of the past two years increased the already existing demand for comprehensive and efficient access control systems.

With more people working from home, many permanently, there has been more activity in neighborhoods, increased deliveries and a greater need for tenants to protect their work and personal assets.

Going beyond basic security, many homeowners associations are searching for solutions to ensure resident health and safety through systems that are as streamlined and contactless as possible.

Managing Access With Mobile Devices

One of the biggest trends in the multitenant market is using mobile devices to manage access. Pre-pandemic, flexibility and ease of use were top of mind for everyone, and residents of multitenant facilities were finding value in taking their building security into their own hands. This functionality proved to be especially convenient when СOVID restrictions reduced the number of onsite staff.

With a mobile app, tenants have flexibility in managing access to condominium complexes, private living spaces and shared common areas. For larger condos and mixed-use buildings, this addresses a major pain point, offering a security solution for both tenants and facility staff.

Application-based access control is also an ideal solution for managing access in high-end luxury apartments where there are pools, gyms and other amenities. Residents can use their mobile device to gain access to the building lobby and elevators, as well as their own living spaces.

Another benefit of mobile management is the ability to provide a seamless process for deliveries. If a multitenant building has a separate room for mail deliveries, a tenant can use their mobile device to confirm identity and grant the mail or delivery person entry into the building lobby and then into the mailroom. The same applies for any grocery, food or dry-cleaning deliveries, adding an extra level of safety during a time when the use of delivery services has increased.

While mobile-based access control offers many advantages, it is not without challenges. Older people, for example, may be less familiar with using smartphone-based applications or might misunderstand how the technology works. As such, it is best to start the conversation soon, as it is only a matter of time before outdated technologies are phased out. Mobile solutions continue to grow in popularity with residents, and soon everyone will be managing access from their smartphones.

Utilizing Video and Audio

Audio communication for multitenant complexes used to consist of a simple telephone or intercom system. However, tenant expectations now include a full-service system, one that combines audio communication and visual verification. It is no longer sufficient just to hear a person through an intercom before pressing a button to enable entry. Tenants and building managers want the ability to visually confirm – ideally through their smartphones – that the person requesting access is who they say they are.

Enhanced Security and Touchless Entry

The pandemic boosted interest in contactless and touchless solutions, including mobile credentials, sensors and biometrics. A touchless sensor can be integrated with an access control system to detect motion within a preset range and be activated with a simple hand gesture. In a residential facility where key cards are not used, a sensor can enable access to a lobby or shared common space. An individual would simply approach the sensor field to trigger a signal to communicate to the front desk. This hands-off approach is increasingly popular, and it can also facilitate the delivery of packages, groceries or food, especially in situations in which a person has their hands full.

Condo buildings and other multi-tenant facilities are searching for comprehensive security and safety solutions that provide peace of mind and ease of use. Whether enabling entry or communicating with a delivery driver, security remains as important as ever. At the same time, efficiency and hygiene have become bigger concerns during the pandemic, which has resulted in the development of valuable new functionalities.  

Norbert Artur ( is the director of sales – Canada for Aiphone (