As all early Kentlands settlers may remember, our Facilities Pass system was once the state-of-the-art. Unfortunately, that was probably sometime in the Eisenhower Administration and things have changed a bit. Those “computer thingies,” for example.
Our Capital Projects Working Group (CPWG) evaluated ways to bring our Facilities Pass system into the modern era using electrical-electronic access control.
It’s not as easy as one might hope as there are multiple technologies ranging from simple bar codes to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) gadgets similar to those used to register runners as they pass the start and finish lines in the Kentlands Community Foundation’s annual 5k race. There are a lot of other issues as well. These include things ranging from whether to put a photo on a badge or have a simple fob to how to get power to all the places that require it to future expansion. Each option has its advantages, disadvantages, cost and implementation schedule.
The CPWG’s solution? Identify the capabilities that provide benefits to the Kentlands Citizens Assembly (KCA) and our residents and let potential vendors propose their own combination of hardware and software products to get the job done.
The benefits that such a system can provide are substantial. They include, for example, reduced front desk staffing during part of the year; replacing the key, unchanged for more than 20 years, that allows resident access to the basketball and tennis courts; allowing users easy access to the Carriage House; and collecting user data to help the Board of Trustees to make decisions about amenity hours, pool staffing, and the like.
The CPWG and Beth Brittingham, our General Manager, developed a series of “must have” system features that would provide the most important benefits. These must haves included: a cloud based system; the ability to associate owner pictures with the credential to prevent credential “loans” to friends for pool access; automatic alerts when gates are kept open; the ability to substitute an app on a mobile device for the credential; and security that prevents credentials from being cloned.
The CPWG solicited bids and reviewed proposals from five vendors, analyzed them and listened to detailed presentations. Daniel Burke, the CPWG Chair, presented the committee’s recommendation to purchase the Brivo system from Techmark Corporation to the Board of Trustees at its January 24th meeting. The Board approved the Working Group’s recommendation so that work can begin immediately and hopefully be completed in time for the summer season.
The KCA set an ambitious schedule for the work, one that we believe can be achieved if all goes well, but only if everything goes according to plan. We will sign the contract for the system and obtain bids for the architectural effort to modify the Clubhouse Lobby immediately. Our vendors will then transfer resident data from our heritage Eagle database to the new software system and begin installing the new cameras by March 1st. That will allow our Clubhouse staff to begin facilities pass updates for the new credentials this spring.
If all that goes well, we hope to have our first users begin using the new system for Clubhouse access by May 15th so that the new system will be fully functional and tested when the pool opens on Memorial Day weekend.
Achieving our ambitious schedule will be hard because it includes populating the new database, taking the photos, and issuing the credentials. Our Clubhouse staff will be the ones taking the photos and issuing the credentials, which is a very significant effort because there are thousands of people who live here in Kentlands. Please help them help all of us by getting this improvement working in time for the 2018 swimming season by being on the alert for requests to “get your picture taken” and registering early.