EXCLUSIVE: What does the digital future hold?


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Steve Van Till, Founder & CEO, Brivo Inc. speaks exclusively with Security Journal Americas.

Both Brivo and its Founder & CEO, Steve Van Till, have enjoyed multiple successes in recent times.

Not only does Brivo now service more than 20 million users in 70,000 real estate locations in North America – and in 40 other countries around the world – on a personal level, 2022 is the second year in a row Van Till has been named by IFSEC International as one of the most influential people in security.  

In addition to all of these milestones, the company has also recently been awarded a patent involving facial recognition and access control. One thing is for sure, 2022 has been a busy year so far – and Security Journal Americas wanted to speak with Van Till to find out more.

“I think the individual accolades come from the hard work by our team at Brivo,” Van Till explained. “Cloud-based access control has been catching on in a big way, but we innovated the space 20 years ago. We are also leading the way in helping our customers derive meaningful insights from their access control and sensor systems.

“Valuable data has been sitting on access control and other security systems, ignored and untapped, for years,” he added. “Finally, and what excites me most right now, is that we are working with our partners in Proptech to integrate security systems into smart spaces. We are at the trailhead of a future where we digitally interact with our built environment and make it much more convenient for property managers, tenants and visitors.”

Can’t most security systems pull and aggregate data for analysis?

Yes and no. Integrated security systems at the facility level can certainly generate data that can be analyzed and leveraged. What’s harder is analyzing all the data for a large, distributed enterprise using legacy systems that don’t centralize data the way that a cloud system does. Even when those issues don’t exist, you still are limited to data at the facility, site or campus level. And it’s purely security data, not building data. When you bring in facility data, you open a whole new world.

Our clients gather and analyze data on hundreds of thousands of doors across the US to determine rates of employee return to the workplace in what are hopefully the waning days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data, which can be analyzed by building type, industry, worker type or countless other criteria, helps facilities managers and other management assess their reopening strategies as well as compare it to peers and understand geographical differences in pace of return.

What security data is sitting out there waiting to be harvested or monetized?

Traditionally, access data has been “set it and forget it,” used for operational activities and occasional investigations and audits, but not for its strategic value. That’s changing. Facilities managers can find value in a multitude of security events such as door failures, door exits, forced-open doors, doors ajar and lock tampering.

Say, for example, data shows that residential tenants in a multifamily complex are overwhelmingly entering or exiting through secondary doors rather than main entrances; the data might mean that personnel, lighting, security, deliveries and so on should be adjusted accordingly.

Where does Brivo, and more specifically security, fall in the overall property technology ecosystem?

Security has been slow to get into the game, so Proptech companies are starting to add security as another feature to their solution set. Room scheduling, deliveries, power use monitoring, HVAC outputs, parking, tours for potential tenants – they have long been central components of Proptech.

These companies are saying, “hey, let’s add access control, visitor management and video surveillance to our toolbox while we’re at it.” The opportunity is there because traditional security manufacturers have not been entering that space.

Does that mean trouble for traditional access control providers?

Not necessarily. Most Proptech companies still only offer “point” solutions, meaning their apps provide only one, or at most a few, functions. Some providers focus on booking desks, computer resources, workstations or conference rooms. Others focus on fitness and lifestyle, and so on. Check out the amazing array of startups in this space on sites like Unissu and Proptechzone.

It’s when you connect these individual functions that you really begin to have something. The value of data increases tremendously when you connect access control and other security systems to the Proptech applications.

Capturing, analyzing and applying data – reaping insights from facilities data – lets property owners and managers use resources more efficiently and gain a competitive advantage. Examples include space utilization and optimization, conversion of space to more profitable uses and reduced costs for staffing, maintenance and other overhead activities.

And that’s where you really begin to see the efficiencies?

Yes, and it works beautifully at scale. Facilities managers can compare their data on space usage, energy consumption, door entries and occupancy across their entire portfolio, by building type, by floor, by tenant, by industry or by a multitude of other factors.

This data can be harnessed to optimally schedule space use and maintenance, ensure compliance, prioritize cleaning services, allocate power usage and much more. Data such as property use, amenity demand, tenant satisfaction surveys and occupancy rates can also be used to enhance the tenant experience, cultivate loyalty and attract new business – these are all factors that directly contribute to the bottom line.

With most people now having made the switch to hybrid work as a result of the pandemic, the immediate future of Proptech in commercial facilities has been made all the more important. Commercial landlords face fierce competition in the marketplace, so there is intense pressure to improve their offerings, create spaces where employees actually want to spend time. It’s called maximizing the tenant experience and Proptech is a major ingredient.

How do property managers reap efficiencies from that?

In many ways. In an era of hybrid work, think about space utilization. Who is coming in and when? What resources (office, conference room, laptop etc.) will they need? How will that affect use of utilities and building management/security systems such as lighting, energy, sanitation, elevators, visitor management, access control and intrusion detection?

How can these resources be used in a cost-effective way in the service of optimized tenant experience, business value, safety and security and sustainability? Building data, aggregated and point data alike, is the key to unlocking these benefits. In addition, facilities data can help reach compliance goals by automating maintenance monitoring, maximizing equipment uptime and identifying irregularities that might indicate safety concerns.

Bringing us back to access control data, what other uses do you foresee?

It’s a matter of where imagination can take you. The data can be of great value to financial markets, and real estate investment trusts in particular. At least one New York-based financial services company leverages an assortment of access control data to advise investment clients on trends and developments in global financial markets.

Among that data is percentage change in daily active access control users by city, state and industry, as well as pandemic/hybrid work impacts on daily commercial property usage. That company correlates access data and commercial airline travel to predict a return to business travel by region, state, city and airline, thus providing tremendous value to its investor clients.

For more information, visit: www.brivo.com

This article was originally published in the bumper September edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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