There’s a trend toward replacing or augmenting live guards with electronics at communities and facilities where security matters.
A big development near Ft. Lauderdale has made the switch, and so have communities near Tampa and Naples. Central station operators keep an eye on entry gates and swimming pools, sometimes with humorous results. Recently they ousted a group having an unauthorized after-hours swimming party in one community pool.
The trend is reported by Envera Systems of Boca Raton and Sarasota, which is pioneering the systems. The firm points out that a guard costs $120,000 or more per year. Envera does it for about half the cost. Cameras and two-way radios are faster in processing entry through gates — the company averaged 15 seconds response time per visitor last month, compared with minute or so for a guard. And it keeps a digital record of every visitor wherever its cameras are placed.
At an entry kiosk, video shows cars driving up, and audio permits a central station operator to greet the visitor and clear him or her. Then the central station professional opens the gate to allow entry. The system then stores details of the entry, along with images of the guest’s face and license tag. When there’s questionable activity, unauthorized entry, or damage to the gate or other property, video and audio can be replayed and even transmitted to law enforcement or insurance representatives.
The system is flexible enough to allow use of human guards part of the time. A community may decide to keep “live” guards during daytime hours, then shift to Envera at night so a live guard can patrol the community while knowing the gate is secured.
Similar systems help guard condominium entries and garages.