Robert Gaulden is the Director of Allegion Multifamily Channel Strategy and has been involved in the security industry for more than 15 years, focusing on electronic access control, partnership development and security policy. During his most recent years at Allegion, Robert has worked on integrations, channel development and go-to-market strategies associated with Allegion’s access control platforms. He’s currently responsible for developing strategy, channels and partnerships to drive the customer experience and provide seamless access for the multi-family segment. Robert brings a unique perspective and understanding of the role security partners and platforms play in delivering a holistic experience for both the property manager and the resident. He has been featured in Security Sales & Integrator (SSI), A&S International and Security System News, where he was chosen as a “20 under 40” honoree in 2013.
- Current state of the access control industry post-COVID.
- Why are companies using residential locks in multifamily, and what problems is that creating?
- When do fobs or credential die or do they?
- Will we get to a point of hardware-as-a-service?
- How to think about safety and security consideration.
- The smart access control value prop becoming more mainstream.
- Allegion’s Multifamily strategy.
Allegion Multifamily – https://us.allegion.com/en/home/markets/multifamily.html
Blake Miller 0:02
Everyone, Welcome Back to the Future Living podcast. I’m your host Blake Miller. Today I’ve got Robert Gaulden from Allegion makers of Schlage, the 100-plus year old lock brand. We’re talking about multifamily access in the age of COVID, remote, touchless, where it’s going. Check it out.
Robert, welcome to the Future Living podcast really appreciate you taking the time to do this. How you been?
Robert Gaulden 0:27
Pretty good, Blake, how are you?
Blake Miller 0:29
I’m doing good man. You know, all things considering, like everybody’s dealing with. We’re doing season three here, the future living and it’s pandemic era, so I think you have to at least give somebody you know that those dates so they know what’s going on.
Robert Gaulden 0:43
Yeah, the global pandemic was not something that I was highlighting into things I had to do during my career, but we’ll manage our way through it.
Blake Miller 0:52
2020 am I right? You know.
Robert Gaulden 0:54
Yeah, absolutely. What a crazy year.
Blake Miller 0:56
Yeah. So you know, give everybody a little bit of background on who you are and and why you are building the future living right now.
Robert Gaulden 1:04
Sure. So work for Legion. We are a lock manufacturer. And we actually do a lot more than locks. We have brands like slag, but bon dupion, which are fire in life exit devices and safety devices and door closers. So we’re a major manufacturer of door hardware and life safety devices. And I’ve been with the company for about 17 years really focused a lot of my time in the commercial space, especially around electronic access, control and integration. And I’ve worked on major projects like major airports and building design all the way through university and K through 12. Security. In the last, I’d say about 24 months or so maybe a little bit longer than that. The company asked me to take a real deep dive into the multifamily segment. And it’s a fascinating segment and quite honestly, I thought, you know, multifamily. How hard could it be? Right? I mean, it’s just it can’t be as complex as commercial. And that went out the window pretty quickly.
Blake Miller 1:58
Yeah, that was me too.
Robert Gaulden 2:00
Yeah, my family is uniquely its own market space. And it’s not residential. Although we’ve seen a lot of residential applications try to be pulled into this space. It’s not commercial, although there are some commercial applications that can adapt to this space. It’s uniquely a blend of both of those things, and thus requires its own technology. And so we’ve taken kind of a fresh look at this space. And we’ve been here with some of our solutions, but we’re really trying to develop the ability to create a more seamless access experience for you know, both the resident as well as the property managers and the owners to adopt technology especially around you know, access control and mobile credentials and things along those lines. And that just plays right into in this space as far as smart apartment and smart buildings and everything I think you’re interested in from the future of living.
Blake Miller 2:51
Definitely, yeah. So, you know, that’s actually how we’ve gotten to know each other over the years right is working together with the Allegion in our product with their Schlage Engage and Control series of locks that really kind of create a whole access system for apartments. You know, talk about though, for me, and I want to go into a little bit of history to have smart apartments or in the multifamily industry what you guys have been doing there, but like, what’s the current state of access control not only for multifamily industry and what’s happening, but it really just kind of across the access industry, what’s happening?
Robert Gaulden 3:28
Yeah, if you if you look at access control, for the longest time, it wasn’t so much around the perimeter, right? Everyone knows how to secure the perimeter of a building. I think the big movement for the last, you know, call it 10 years or so is where do you find better adoption rates for the interior? And how does that then play into the experience, whether you’re talking about K through 12, and the ability to lockdown classrooms, whether you’re talking about the ease and ability on a dormitory to allow a college student to gain access into the room, you know, it’s mostly been a focus around the interior. And I think when we start to look at multifamily in particular, it’s been around kind of this bifurcated experience, right? We’ve had some form of access control around the perimeter for quite some time, whether we’re talking about intercom systems or basic card systems around the perimeter, but multifamily is resident doors have kind of grown up on its own and thus kind of been a segregated and different database completely, many times different systems. So really an inefficient process, some adoption around the ability to you know, use those resident doors in maybe manage keying a little bit better when you move to credentials. But I think what we’re really seeing now when you look across the board is the accelerant the mobile credentials are adding to the to the space and the ability to unify these systems into one aggregate database. One experience, that experience especially in this segment translates you know, almost like rocket fuel, you’ve got the experience for the resident, which is an overall better experience is a seamless experience. But then you have all of those additional efficiencies and experiences that the property manager or the owner is going to experience as well. Those two things in combination really allow for, I think, a great area and multifamily kind of lead the industry, whether you’re talking about commercial or residential, in the adoption of these new holistic platforms, you don’t have as much barriers to entry as you do like in the commercial space. And obviously, single family, you’re really just talking about a single housing unit. So the impact is not very broad multifamily, you get a great use case of both right you have decisions that are being made across the entire platform. every resident has the ability to participate in that experience. And obviously those things compound to the efficiencies and the way you run and manage your building. It’s a it’s a great area and I’m really excited not only in where we’re going as a as a manufacturer in the space, but where the industry is going in general.
Blake Miller 6:04
Yeah, I mean, I really see, access control is like the most important thing to have any type of smart building, right? And it’s, it’s literally, you know, people are making money managing four walls and a roof. Well, how do you who comes and goes is how do you manage that how you collect that sort of thing. So, you know, definitely agree there. You know, you said mobile credential couple times, like I wanted one of the things I wanted to kind of dig in there just for anybody that doesn’t kind of realize the differences, you know, you guys have really kind of mastered and been one of the leaders in that kind of fob or card credential, that people would be familiar with, like maybe in a hotel experience, right. But well, you’re actually talking on mobile credentials is actually in the phone, right? And that’s some of the things that we’re doing with integrations, you know, can you can you talk about the differences there and, and the needs, both in the building to build support those things.
Robert Gaulden 6:53
Yeah. So I think the migration from from keys just to to, you know, cards or credentials,
So it’s been a natural migration path for electronics. And from there, you moved into a Smart credential. And in some cases, you know, entities still haven’t moved off approximate to smart credentials. But there is an added layer of security. What’s interesting, though, is when you start to talk about mobile, no one forgets their phone, right? I mean, everybody lives on their phone, no one’s going to leave their phone behind. If you just took a use case today of current college students and, and their phones and how they interact on it. It’s just a natural progression. We’re starting to see more applications on your daily life on your phone. And these are things that you can’t really separate yourself from the ability to pay via your phone and do these other things from an experience perspective. So it’s a natural evolution from, you know, a hard piece of plastic to then a mobile credential. What’s interesting though, is the power of that phone. When you really map it up to the networks and the capability of the lock that’s sitting on the door. Now you’ve concrete all these new type of experiences. So it’s really more than just the credential itself. It’s how it interacts with the app and the overall system. But from that perspective, you have an extremely powerful tool in your hand that allows you to gain access to a building to really seamlessly move or navigate throughout that building, to efficiently dispense or give out visitor management credentials, you know, with a piece of plastic, you gotta go physically still pick it up much like a key. When you move to an application. When you move to a mobile credential. It’s a virtual credential, the ability to send that via network down to somebody, whether that’s a visitor, whether that’s a temporary known entity, like a package delivery person, whether that’s a vetted service, like a dog walker or cleaning service, whether that’s your resident or one of your maintenance staff. You know, you have a new way to manage credentials, and I think not only is it more efficient and it will open up even more use cases. on things that we’re not even thinking about today, but it’s also also going to give you so much more data on how you’re running your, your facilities, what’s going on within your facilities. And how do you want to manage that from an experience is as well. So pretty powerful stuff from a property perspective. You know, unfortunately, as you look at next generation equipment, you know, the locks themselves are going to need an upgrade to be able to manage, you know, these credentials, especially when you talk about the secure credentials that we want to pass between the phone and the lock itself. So there is a transition point from, you know, previous gen equipment to next gen equipment to be able to manage that. But once you know breakthrough that…
Blake Miller 9:39
Are people going to have to do that all the time? I mean, I think, you know, that’s sometimes worry about that. Like, what is that type of upgrade cycle? What are you guys seeing because obviously you’re doing these commercial type upgrades, not using the residential locks that others are using, you know, how do you plan for that and how do you try to match that up with the style of building of the length of the life of that?
Robert Gaulden 10:00
Yeah, I think this is where this is where the hardware, hardware world and the technology worlds are coming together, right? When you think about a lock on a building, you may have a 30 year life cycle. When you think about your computer in your office, it may have four or five year lifecycle are outpacing what we’re seeing from a hardware perspective. We are trying to think through thoughtful design that allow you to expand that whether we talk about modularity and some other things. So maybe the entire investment doesn’t have to be taken off the door as you upgrade over time. But we are looking at life cycles even on our previous gen stuff, you know, you can you can definitely see eight to 12, maybe 15 years, depending on what you want to stretch right. Now as we look at the technology today. We’re trying to think through what are the future communication pads and you know, there’s a lot of buzzwords out there. There’s a lot of confusion on what’s the popular technology right is z wave ZigBee is it a BLE? Or is it going to be Laura is it can be 5G? So you can just, I mean, we just rattled off a handful, and there’s even more coming around the corner. So understanding where that technology is going…
Blake Miller 11:12
Yeah, I was gonna say how to how to you guys as a as a manufacturer is you know, as I love some of the things you guys always have over there, but I mean, it’s true. You’re, you’re a trusted brand in security, but you’ve been a bet man, bent metal company for 100 years, right?
Robert Gaulden 11:26
Blake Miller 11:26
So, how do you guys think about kind of weighing all those things? You know, does hardware become a service at some point? You know, what does that look like?
Robert Gaulden 11:36
And then I think there’s a fascinating conversation around even the leasing of locks over time. So you can upgrade hardware could become a service although the the traditional channels and go to market don’t really sustain that today and new construction, it would be a vast change. But I think you could see that maybe in the aftermarket and the retrofit side of it, as well. I think the most important thing for us is we’re always weighing, you know, safety and security first, right? And then you have to look at the use case of why a protocol or communication path is more efficient in one way or another. And so for example, we chose BLE as a pathway for multifamily, because when you’re looking at a wireless lock, the ability to have battery life, you know, beyond just a year’s capability is extremely essential in some other technologies consumed battery life, where if you had to change locks batteries every three to six months, and then a portfolio of 200 units. I mean, that’s just not feasible, right? So you have to weigh all of these different things and what was developed for a single family use case and a homeowner who doesn’t mind changing their battery out or maybe doesn’t even access that front door very often is vastly different than a multifamily property where residents going in and out their door, you know, 2-3-4 times a day, and there’s no way a maintenance staff wants to go around change batteries all the time.
Blake Miller 12:56
I totally agree. One thing I wanted to come back to and I want to I have one question there, but I don’t want to forget, this is the debate that we’ve been having inside the office here. And, you know, dealing with fobs, and the actual some of the complexity that goes into managing that in the back end that you don’t really think about. Now, how long do you think the fob stays around? Or is that is that is that a thing that is always a part of the Internet of Things and become a different thing? You know, you mentioned phones always on you. I agree. I go and run with my phone, and all of that. Is of having that extra five is a secure thing is that where does that where’s that lie?
Robert Gaulden 13:33
I think that’s a comfort level thing. Keys are still around as well. Right and even on our one of our current multifamily lock state actually has no key way. Right. So we try to move to that next step to say Okay, listen, you know, there’s there’s an opportunity here to advance the credential, and let’s see if we can do without the key way in this lock for certain security reasons, right? You can’t pick a lock that doesn’t have a key way in it for example. I think from a comfort level, if you think about it, next step would be if you never had a phone that ran out of charge, if you had the ability to always use your phone to open the door, and you may see fobs go away. You know, I don’t expect as we see more adoption in mobile, I don’t expect the majority of adoption to happen just yet and mobile, so you’re going to have a longer runway and fobs. And I think you’re going to start to see as adoption starts to pick up, maybe the fob actually moves back to a card because that format is a lot easier to carry in your wallet and put on your persons as an emergency override to say, oh, my phone’s dead. I forgot to charge it. Getting out of the Uber and I need to get in and…
Blake Miller 14:42
That’s personally what I’ve done.
Robert Gaulden 14:44
I’ve got a card with my credit card. So I’ll just use that as my my one, you know, my access for the inconvenient emergency. So you know, I have a little bit of a internal bet with some people that says hey, maybe fobs move back to cards and multifamily. But I do think over time, as we start to solve some of these energy concerns, because most of this is around energy, how long the batteries last? How long does battery last on your phone? How efficient is it, if those things start to really take the dominant stance, then I think fobs will have some limited shelf life, the security you can put into the mobile credential and things that you could do on a mobile side just far outweigh the ability of a standard fob.
Blake Miller 15:27
Yeah, I mean, those fobs are still basically keys you just can…
Robert Gaulden 15:29
I mean, if you think about it, the file format is actually to be put on a key ring, I mean, who actually carries a key ring around anymore? I don’t know for that matter.
Blake Miller 15:39
Now. So you know earlier is saying and want to make sure we come back to this to your safety and security. Right. And we kind of talked about touched on PIN codes been touched around how you know, the specifically the lock that we’ve integrated that we use and suggest for all multifamily is, it doesn’t have that as a lease on the unit door, we think it makes sense to have PIN codes in shared common areas where you know it that it’s easier to share that but, you know, where do you guys what do you guys think about PIN codes? We’ve had things that people say it’s like, you know, it’s like giving out your password to your email account. There’s always got to be one, even if you can control that one time use thing or anything like that. How do you guys think about that, especially how do you think about it, knowing that there’s locks for residential that you all make that are great locks, but as it relates to, to multifamily,
Robert Gaulden 16:31
As it relates to multifamily, my biggest issue with PIN codes is really around you lose your audit control. And even in the most trusted environment, if if I shared my PIN codes with someone I really trust, if we ever pulled an audit, you have now no real ability to say who really gained access to that apartment. Right. And I think from a liability perspective, that’s something that would be concerning for me. PIN codes from a convenience perspective, especially if you had a PIN pad and the ability to give out a one time use PIN code allows someone to gain access. It’s a great way or a great feature that that allows that to happen. I’d like to see technology solve for that. I think there are abilities to use PIN codes, if you solve for it on the back end, but just generally to use PIN codes and use that as your form of access without any type of controls that says, you know, it’s a random generator, it’s been protected. It can’t be used multiple times, you don’t have a personal PIN code, and it all for me revolves around audit. You know, if it wasn’t for the audit issue, fine, right. But I do think there are abilities, you know, as we start to really adopt mobile credentials, there’s abilities that you can use that allow your phone to to send a one time, you know, open code, for example, or to generate a code for a friend that would allow that BLE radio to engage with the lock, right? So I think we can solve for what pin codes are great at, which is that convenience, without risking the security and the audit from the back end, and that’s what I’m looking for partners and providers that help us really kind of understand that and apply that technology to solve for those convenience factors. Because you do still need a lot of convenience to make this adoption go, but I don’t want to sacrifice security. So until we figure it out from an audit perspective, I’m not a big fan of PIN codes in multifamily.
Blake Miller 18:23
One of the things I’ve always thought about too, is like, those PIN codes especially presented a problem if you’re using them in vacation rentals, those sorts of things like that seems like so dangerous, like people get lazy, they give out that one pin code because for some reason the other one wasn’t working and now, you know, you could just simply be sitting there waiting for somebody else. Now that’s just kind of a weird area for me.
Robert Gaulden 18:46
Yeah, I would agree. Right. And I tend to look at and really have been deep diving market rate. But from a from just general liability perspective, when we start to get outside of that area of control or that span of control. I’m just not a big fan. Like I said, I think there’s ways that we could look at it from a technology perspective, bring that same type of convenience to the market space. That’s not dependent on an actual, you know, widely use or shareable PIN code.
Blake Miller 19:15
So we talked a lot about obviously, inside the apartment inside and a lot of the different doors like how does how does the Allegion or how does this industry continue to be the bolt on you know, how do you grow from here? How do you how do you enable the the butterflies of the world to work? How do you enable all the different integrations, you know, companies even like ours, integrating with yours trying to integrate? How are you guys doing that? What are you guys thinking about?
Robert Gaulden 19:40
Yeah, so I’m a big believer and building ecosystems of technology partnerships, right, because I think everyone’s solving a different portion of the pie. And I think if we can pull that all together, then you can create that seamless access, right, you’re going to need the perimeter system, you’re going to need the perimeter locks. All of this has to meet some type of building. permit code, fire code things along those lines, you’re going to need the residential door lock as well or the resident door lock I should say. Beyond that if you think about that journey as you enter that building, you know whether you’re a resident whether you’re a property manager, a part of the staff or whether you’re a guest or whether you’re a temporary guests like a services provider, all of them have different journey maps throughout that building. And for you to be able to navigate that building get from point A, the exterior all the way to point B wherever you are supposed to go. It may involve you know, multiple perimeter doors or common area doors may involve the actual resident unit itself that may involve you know, access to the elevator or may involve access to the stairwells and your ability to navigate each one of those you mentioned someone like Butterfly MX, you know, the ability to navigate someone who’s coming in who may not actually have an app download, maybe it’s an integration from there that allows you to use that use code to get you into the building and QR code that gets you up to the right floor to go deliver the sinks. But I think if you start to pull in multiple partners, whether you’re talking about the property management software system, so you have one database that really kind of goes across the system, you’re talking about the technology providers, you’re talking about, you know, smart apartment or smart building integration, you’re talking about third party services and the app developers, or any combination therein, I think those things pulled together in partnership really create that experience that we’re looking for, to deliver, you know, where I think the industry can go. That for me, I think the exciting side, there are so many different aspects that I continue to learn about, that the property and the resident want from either a management perspective or an experience perspective. That I think these partnerships in these ecosystems are really the way to go.
Blake Miller 21:51
Yeah, it’s it’s definitely an exciting time because it definitely seems like that the platform’s there and now everybody’s like, whoa, if you can do this, I mean, we do this. It definitely seems like an exciting time. And you know, one of the things before we run out of time, but you know, wanted to ask about how how all this like kind of boils back down into like how this stuff is sold and through the channel and how you guys are supporting, you know, all those locksmiths, your dealers, everybody else that are out there with this, like massive change, and what’s happening where they’re, you know, what’s happening here. How do you support that?
Robert Gaulden 22:26
Yeah, so I think there’s a couple different pathways that I see for multifamily when we talk about electronic adoption, and then we talk about smarter integration over time, and then obviously, we can talk about the IoT movement in multifamily. And so we are seeing some change in what the channel looks like. But the multi it the multifamily vertical right now, if I were to simplistically put them into two buckets, I would say there is a bucket out there that is, you know, they properties and managers. technologists have the vision to know where they want to go and they’re adopting this technology and utilizing it for their efficiency, they’re utilizing it to attract and retain and retain residents. They’re using it as an experience base. And in that set, they’re looking at partners and their supply chains to be able to deliver that, that starts to look like a more complex integration pathway. And that also delivers on an experience there. So, you know, that’s a little bit different than what we’re seeing in the broader market in multifamily where maybe it’s just a basic adoption today of I’m moving from one mechanical deadbolt to electronic deadbolt. So I see two kind of channels to market in the simplistic moving from mechanical to electronics. There’s huge value in that supply chain of just getting someone the experience and bringing that lock into the market space. And that’s generally how we go to market today, PR channel and our ability to really move volumes of locks into the space. I think oh and in that use case, most of the time property manager maybe performing their own startup services, right? If can commission that lock and bring it online, that saves me some cost. And I can adopt this technology and make it part of my portfolio and start using at minimum, you know, smarter credentials, which lowers my rekeying actually eliminates my rekeying costs, gives me an audit trail. So I think that basic adoptions are so critical to this industry and the channel that delivers that today does really, really great job. I think over time, as we talked about this ecosystem of partnerships, and we’ve talked about the different layers of software and how that integrates. That looks like a much more mature type integration type channel, right, where someone kind of can come in, whether it’s a third party channel integrator, or whether someone does in bundles, all those services themselves. But those things I think over time will start to look more like a mature path and that channel has to be created in this industry. And I think it’s starting to form we’re starting to see it you know, companies like your own take on that complexity in allow that to be delivered through the experience that you want to deliver. And I think those things over time will become more and more critical as the software advances, as the lock becomes part of the apartment as the apartment becomes part of the building as the building becomes part of a community. Those things have cyber implications, IT implications. And it’s challenging, right? Because cyber and IT guys aren’t necessarily locksmiths and door frame outs, so we’re gonna have to figure out a way to merge this together. We’re seeing some really activity around it and we are trying to build that momentum around that channel. But we are seeing two completely different markets, a high end technology adoption market that’s looking for that channel in those services. And then a just basic moving from mechanical to electronic adoption that allows us to least see more experiences that can move up that food chain over time.
Blake Miller 25:55
Speaking my language man, I’m saying the exact same thing and know a lot of it like It’s crazy, like every one of these divisions on the construction plans, like they just seem like they’re, they’re all in one of the same. And some different things. I know it’s too simplistic. There’s a lot there and there are a lot of my friends would be mad about that. But no, I mean, they’re, they’re blending and and they’re blurring and, and, you know, they all touch each other on some level, they all end up going back to, you know, shameless plug but a Wi-Fi infrastructure or some sort of connected infrastructure in the building of way to manage it all. But yeah, you know, we’re running out of time, but I always end every episode with some of my favorite questions. And the one I always start with is, who’s the next Blockbuster and next 10 years what business or service is going to be completely obsolete?
Robert Gaulden 26:47
I thought you’re gonna say who’s next Blockbuster, as far as like blowing up and becoming awesome. I was like, can I say us? Or am I ever say us? Yeah, obsolete. Gosh, um… You know, what, what I really do question is at the end of the day when you start to look at your basic functionality of just an intercom system, right a telephone call up system, if it’s not integration, if it’s not integrating to the next path if it’s not doing more sophisticated things, just the door box call system i think is is I mean it could be replaced by it could be replaced by an iPad and a phone. Right? So I think integration of that type of technology and where you know, guys like Butterfly MX are taking these things where you know, that type of technology is morphing over time. I think if you’re strictly doing call box that would be an interesting one to see if if that one last the next evolution that we’re going through from a disruption perspective.
Blake Miller 27:48
Yeah, man, I mean, I love their products as a gorgeous product, but you also kind of wonder is it like the Southwest putting a TV and a headphone or in the headrest, you know, problem, like everyone’s got their own screen.
Robert Gaulden 28:01
Yeah, it’s it’s an interesting. I’m seeing the I’m seeing the movement of some of the smart ones they’re really driving towards towards a more holistic access solution, I think and I think Butterfly’s trying to get there themselves. But I think if you were just simply a call box, I’m not quite sure that’s that’s going to work in the future.
Blake Miller 28:24
What device have you acquired like kind of post-pandemic lockdown that has just kind of changed everything for you everybody’s been locked down their home, what’s, what’s been the device or thing that’s saved you?
Robert Gaulden 28:37
I don’t know if it saved me, but I’ve got a Blue Yeti professional, you know, mic, and it’s made every one of these video conferencing and all the calls, it’s made life so much easier. I have a voice that doesn’t project very well over speakerphone. And so either I would have been on a little BLE headset and run out of battery life too soon on it. It’s been it’s been great between that and our company’s just invested infrastructure and in pretty good gear for home, we’re, we’re a little bit ahead of the curve and in our ability to manage work from remote, so it’s just made that transition a lot easier. But I’ll tell you what, I love the fact that now it’s more of a rarity that I get on a call and someone doesn’t have a camera on versus someone you know, even eight months ago, if I call them on Microsoft Teams or on zoom or something, most cameras are off. I think the human element of people turning on the camera and just wanting to interact and see a face, so I think that’s been great.
Blake Miller 29:40
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been laughing with a old friend Lee Odesst is, you know, doing these video, these podcasts that are inherently supposed to be about audio, you know, we’re doing and whatnot here on video. It makes it so much better. And is this a podcast or is this a video interview or is this what are we doing now?
Robert Gaulden 29:59
Blake Miller 30:01
Yeah. So we’ve talked a lot about how technology is changing everything and changing access control industry, it was something that you think technology’s not gonna be changing here in the near future?
Robert Gaulden 30:13
That’s a good question. Yeah, my gut tells me human nature. I think there’s a lot of things that technology can enhance, or accelerate. But I’m not quite sure it changes in the human nature. So, you know, bad habits are bad habits. We talked about PIN codes. Right. As much as you want to believe that someone’s not going to share their pincode they probably are, right. That’s just human nature. I want to trust my friends or family or whoever it may be until I can’t. And so you know, I think from that perspective, you can apply technology to to change the risk or to change the profile, but it just doesn’t change human nature. So you got to be thoughtful in your design and what you’re trying to do because people are creatures of habit and they want to experience something in a way that they’re used to that they’re familiar.
Blake Miller 31:06
So, Robert, last question here, there’s a lot of people trying to figure out they only got a certain amount of capex budget right now. We’re trying to figure out how to manage more units, less people, however, they’re trying to do it. What’s one of the first things that they should be thinking about and kind of making an investment, upgrading their properties with smart technology specific smart locks, improving that and, you know, how do they make their dollars go further and without feeling like it’s going to be obsolete soon?
Robert Gaulden 31:34
Yeah. So we’ve seen a lot of kind of steps towards what is the migration from mechanical to electronics look like? What benefits do I pick up along the way? You know, as you start to plan that out, as you start to consult with your, your different companies and the technologies out there, I think just that mechanical electronic adoption, we’ve seen really strong use cases of you know key management, you don’t have to worry about all the labor going into, you know, managing your locks or rekeying. Or, God forbid, if you lost keys or think things along those lines. From a risk mitigation, you have audit trails now. So now you have the ability to say no, we were never even in your apartment this week. So we’re not quite sure why you’re missing your watch or whatever it may be. It takes all of that risk off. And this starts to really enable your journey into remote access when you start to adopt from electronic perspective. So if you think about the ROI, or maybe even the contribution of NOI into that basic equation, I think that’s the big first step. I think the next step then we see is most people start to ask what is my credential strategy? Right? And we touched on it today, as you move from fob to unified credential if you had two credentials, for example, one for the perimeter and one for new resident unit. So can you unify that right and then beyond that are their adoption rates or their ability to look at mobile credentials and again, mobile credentials can be monetized based on different applications or experiences that you’re bringing with it, right? So you can look at that journey. And most of you know, at least what we’re seeing today, you should be looking at mobile-enabled products, that’s going to give you that long runway. So you don’t have to think about, you know, restarting that journey if you wanted mobile two or three years down the road, if not, right away. From there, I think, looking at partners that that enable that experience and layer, that experience of technology on top of those hard units, right, those locks around the perimeter at the resident unit, I think is really important. So that’s where I see proptech really starting to move forward and in the ecosystem and integrated platforms and for us. Because of that we actually have a number of partners, right? We allow our locks to be ported to a number of partners so that as a property starts to mature in their technology stack and they understand what they’re looking for. They can migrate from a very simple access, you know, even our Allegion software that allows you to get the lock up and running to overtime. Hey, look, this sounds like a great opportunity to work with Homebase because of all the different things that they’re doing. And all the different feature sets that they’re enabling from not only the lock, but the apartment in the building. And then finally, the fourth experience, I think, as you elevate into that platform is really looking at the experiences that those platforms bring services as amenities and the ability to retain and and attract your next generation resident. I think all of those things kind of work in concert but they all happen step by step by step, right? Get from mechanical electronics from electronics, get into your credential strategy, from there get into what technology and experiences will third party providers bring me and allow me to showcase on my property? Then finally, what type of experience do I want to bring into my property, whether that’s third party managed services or anything along those lines? I think that combination is what makes this technology makes this industry so exciting.
Blake Miller 34:58
That’s such a great framework to be able to think about. Robert, really love this conversation, tell everybody how they can find you guys online. Make sure that’s in the show notes as well.
Robert Gaulden 35:08
No problem. So come visit us on the Allegion Multifamily webpage. If you just Google ‘allegion multifamily’, it’ll pop up to our web page. We’ll have resources on there that talk about our products as well as our partners and some of the different things that we discussed today.
Blake Miller 35:26
Robert, thanks so much.
Robert Gaulden 35:27
Great. Thanks, Blake.
The Future of Living Podcast is produced by Media Club. Learn more at https://mediaclub.co.
Future of Living is run by Homebase. Homebase brings the smart apartment experience to new build and retrofit multifamily with trusted technology that delivers intuitive building access control with smart locks, automation of property management, new revenue with property-wide WiFi, and IoT technology amenities residents enjoy. All completely installed and managed for the multifamily innovation leaders of this decade.