Cost Comparison: Gate Guard vs. Smart Gate Entry System

Gated Community Guard

Physical security is important for protecting valuable assets and preventing criminal activity. One of the most effective approaches for improving the security of a facility is to restrict access by using a gate. When access is restricted properly, people authorized to use a facility can easily get in while unwanted guests can be kept out.

Throughout human history, the only way to use a gate to control access to a facility has been to employ guards who restrict access through face-to-face interactions. The problem, however, is that hiring a security team to manage a gate is prohibitively expensive in most cases. Additionally, human operators can be manipulated by cunning criminals, and they often make mistakes. Therefore, modern smart gate entry systems have been developed to control access to facilities using modern technology.

Gate Guard vs. Smart Gate Entry System

Today, there are a wide range of solutions available that aim to automate or improve security at points of access. However, the level of security that gate entry systems provide varies widely. Relatively rudimentary gate access control solutions, such as pin pads and physical keys, can be circumvented by motivated intruders with relative ease. Consequently, communities that require a substantial level of security have had to rely on human gate guards until very recently.

Why Use a Gate Guard?

Communities rely on professional gate guards in an attempt to thoroughly control access while helping community members to feel safe. Many developers perceive hiring a guard as a marketing opportunity. When unit owners and tenants feel as though a community looks safe on the outside, they are more likely to buy a unit. In reality, there are many steps that a community can take to improve security without hiring a guard. Additionally, developers are often not ultimately responsible for security once a community has been turned over to a homeowner’s association, so they sometimes make decisions without considering the long-term costs of keeping a gate staffed.

Some communities also choose to use gate guards because they believe guards can help community members when problems arise. For instance, if a homeowner in a residential development encounters an incident at their property, they could potentially call the gate guard for assistance.

The problem, of course, is that guards have to leave their post in order to help a homeowner in distress. Criminals can take advantage of an incident to break in. Some motivated criminals may even create a diversion to get a guard to leave their post. Nevertheless, these types of measures are usually not necessary since guards often have to visit the restroom or leave temporarily to do administrative tasks. When gates are left unstaffed for even a brief period of time, guests can be inconvenienced while criminals can take advantage of the opportunity to break in.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Gate Guards

It is important to keep in mind that criminal activity can occur at any time of the day. Consequently, criminals can only be kept out of a facility when guards are hired 24 hours a day. Since facilities must either pay overtime wages or hire guards for three shifts a day, the cost of manning a gate is much higher than many people would intuitively believe.

The skill level of the guards required to police an access point can vary substantially. Most residential communities and small office complexes can rely on entry-level guards who have undergone basic security training and proven themselves to be reliable. However, communities with high-profile residents or valuable assets often need to hire guards with extensive training in premises security. In some cases, communities even need to hire off-duty police officers. Guards with a higher level of training, a greater level of responsibility, and an enhanced legal right to use force cost substantially more than ordinary guards.

Cost of Using a Gate Guard

In general, the cost of hiring guards to police a gate at every hour starts at a minimum of $120,000 per year. However, costs are usually much higher since skilled staff may be needed and gate staff must be managed. Taxes and benefits can also increase costs. If multiple gates are used, at least one team of guards will be needed for each gate. Therefore, it is not uncommon for the cost of policing a gate to exceed $200,000 per year. Since the average commercial building in the U.S. is 53 years old, it is common for a community to project spending approximately $10 million to staff gates over the course of its useful life.

Smart Gate Entry Systems

The high cost of hiring gate guards has created strong demand for technology-based solutions that improve the quality of gate security while sparing communities the high cost of hiring guards. Today, smart gate entry systems are much more effective than they were in the recent past. Innovative providers are developing solutions that take advantage of smartphone apps and internet connectivity to restrict and log access while making it easy for authorized community members to get in.

Nimbio’s Gate Access Solution

Nimbio is one of the leading providers of high-tech smart gate entry systems. The company’s solutions use an app that enables any smartphone to be used as a key that provides easy access to a facility. Community members can use the app to send one-time access to delivery drivers. Nimbio is also developing partnerships with leading delivery apps that will enable drivers to seamlessly enter facilities without any input from customers.

Additionally, with Nimbo’s solution, any existing gate can be transformed into a smart gate entry system. Nimbio installs its hardware at an affordable price, and communities pay only a small monthly service fee. Therefore, gates that currently rely on expensive human security guards can be transformed into automated smart gates at minimal cost. Since Nimbio substantially improves security while eliminating high labor costs, it is advantageous for most communities to switch to Nimbio’s innovative solution.

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