What is a Cyber Doorman?
As defined in Wikipedia under internet-related prefixes, Cyber- is a prefix derived from “cybernetic,” which comes from the Greek adjective κυβερνητικός meaning skilled in steering or governing (Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon). It is used in the terms cybersex, cyberspace, cyberpunk. Cybernetics is relevant to the study of systems, such as mechanical, physical, biological or cognitive and, when applied to types of human activity such as a cyber doorman, implies robotics.
The human portion of the term, “cyber doorman” or “cyberdoorman,” refers to a service professional - defined by Wikipedia as an individual hired to provide courtesy and security services at a residential building or hotel. Doormen are particularly common in urban luxury highrises. Typically, a doorman is responsible for opening doors and screening visitors and deliveries. He will often provide other courtesy services such as signing for packages and screening the entrance door.
Most NY doormen belong to the Building Service Employees Union Local 32B-32J. Doormen made 2010 salaries of about $42,000 per year plus benefits and about $8,000 in holiday season tips. Considering that it would take about 5 full time doormen to cover a building 24/7/365, that would add $210,000 plus the cost of benefits to a building’s operating cost. Of course, these costs increase with the cost of living.
Many residents desire the services of a doorman, but cannot afford the cost. Some form of cyber doorman - an installation that provides some of a doorman’s service by using electronic devices - may be the solution. Similar terms to cyberdoorman include automatic doorman, robotic doorman, remote doorman and interactive doorman. A cyberdoorman can also be available to cover shifts on days when there is no doorman coverage or can provide back-up when the live doorman leaves his station to perform other security duties. The best of these services employ three essential cyber elements:
1. A main entry door equipped with an alarmed card-access lock, two-way audio communication and a video camera. A sign usually notifies visitors that a “cyberdoorman,” “robotic doorman,” or “video doorman” is in operation. Pressing the attention button, a break-in or a door propped open generates a response from a remote security guard.
2. A series of video cameras leading from the entry door to a securely alarmed package room which is also equipped with two-way audio, video and a remote-controlled door lock. Any break-in triggers an alarm which notifies a remote security guard who can evaluate the break-in, mitigate the situation or call the police.
3. All cyber elements are connected 24/7 to a digital video recorder (DVR) which instantly records all audio and video while continually transmitting data to the central monitoring station of a secure Internet connection. The central monitoring station can contact police, building management or individual residents by phone or email.
Some of the benefits obtained by a cyber doorman include:
1. RECEPTION OF DELIVERIES IN STORAGE Whenever a package is delivered to the cyberdoorman equipped building the delivery person initiates contact with the “cyberdoorman” central monitoring station. The cyber station operator verifies the identity of the courier and opens the door. The courier is instructed to go to the storage room and is under cyber surveillance by video to the storage room door. The monitor unlocks the door to the storage room and verifies that the courier leaves the package and does not take anything from the room. The courier is then cyber monitored until leaving the building.
2. CARD ACCESS DOOR CONTROL & MANAGEMENT Cyber access control cards eliminate lost and outstanding keys. Every resident registers for a card with the cyber doorman service and if the card lost, its code will be programmed out of the system.
3. 24/7 CCTV RECORDING with a capability for central station interface, audio and visual.
4. VIDEO ESCORT By pressing an emergency button in the building lobby, a resident can enter the lobby and be “escorted” by the cyber doorman to the elevator or to their floor. The remote guard can talk, listen and view. If an intruder is present, the guard can warn the intruder that he is being watched and recorded and if necessary, authorities can be dispatched.
5. ANTI-LOITERING Cyber technology known as Video Analytics can monitor lobby and entrance cameras. If anyone stays in the lobby more than 3 minutes, central station operators are alerted and come online to ask them to leave. If the loiterers don’t leave, they are informed that the police will be dispatched. If they persist, police are called.
6. DOOR AJAR NOTIFICATION to building owner or management.
7. FORCED ENTRY DISPATCH to local police.
8. LATCHKEY KID NOTIFICATION When a latchkey kid comes home, the cyberdoorman can email the parents.
9. VITAL SIGNS MONITORING A digital video recorder (DVR) is programmed to report to its central station when it needs service, if a camera is out, or if it is disconnected or turned off.
Lawrence conceived the configuration of a cyberdoorman after many real estate developers and clients came to Dolin and asked if he could create a system to offer doorman services for the new condominium developments that they were building outside of Upper Manhattan where doormen were expected as a common service. These developers wanted to keep maintenance costs down for their new buildings, also wanted to provide residents a higher level of convenience, safety and service.
Says Dolin in the July 2012 issue of The Mann Report, “My service provides equivalent safety and security as a real doorman and it does it at less than 5% of the cost of an real doorman… about $1.00 a day. An important fact to remember is that it delivers added value to the building, whether it is a rental or condo.”