Brooklyn Daily Eagle | By Linda Collins
BROOKLYN — Virtual Doorman, a high-tech electronic doorman system, is finding acceptance in Brooklyn.
Several new condominium buildings have installed the service, including Park Slope’s The Argyle at 251 Seventh St. at Fourth Avenue; 101 N. 5th St. in Williamsburg; and 585 Sixth Ave. in South Slope.
But the company, Virtual Service, headquartered in Manhattan and currently serving more than 100 small to mid-sized residential properties throughout the metropolitan area, likes coming to Brooklyn, according to Colin Foster, vice president of sales and marketing.
“We have several employees living in Brooklyn, including Charlie Bodt, our senior project manager, who runs the installations, spending time onsite at the beginning, middle and end of each installation project,” he said.
The service provides interactive video security, video monitoring and alarm systems — plus handling deliveries, greeting visitors, providing access and facilitating maintenance and service calls — through a “module” or “door station” at the building’s entry with a direct connection to the offsite “command center” in Ocala, Fla.
And this can be with or without an integrated intercom system, according to Foster, who said the company has approved two intercom systems: those made by Aiphone and Siedle.
“Even though we are taking the ‘man’ out of doorman, we are still providing a system that offers residents the same quality of service and efficiency, but at a fraction of the cost,” he added.
But Virtual Doorman is not out to replace existing doormen and is not in competition with doorman buildings, Foster hastened to explained.
“Our core market is the building with from four to close to 100 residential units,” he said. “Doorman buildings typically have more than 100 apartments. In fact, in buildings with more than 50 to 60 units, we will request a part-time person.”
Additionally, residents in Virtual Doorman buildings will also benefit from the latest company upgrade — a one-of-a-kind interactive Web portal that enables them to communicate more efficiently and rapidly with the Command Center.
Available 24/7, this new portal allows a resident to customize their account, spelling out which persons can have access to the key safe or which deliveries (Fresh Direct, drycleaning) can have automatic access to the package room, for example.
It also records all correspondence and documents all activity in detailed logs, which can be accessed in the event of a problem.
“No other provider even comes close to the level of service and convenience available from the new Generation 3 Virtual Doorman,” said Foster. “We are the only company to offer the online component to our service and this feature sets us apart from our competition.”
At The Argyle, a 12-story brand new building with 60 units designed by Meltzer/Mandl Architects, adding Virtual Doorman was an easy choice.
Said Frederic Oliver, managing partner of Wheaton Associates, the project’s developer, “The utmost attention went into making The Argyle not only stylish and convenient, but also technologically cutting-edge. Virtual Doorman was a logical choice.”
Oliver also said he looks forward to continuing his work with the company as more residents move in to the building and activate their accounts.
Foster told the Eagle there were several additional upgrades in the works, including the ability for the Command Center to control the HVAC temperature in an apartment (when a resident is on vacation, say) via internet access, and there is a reboot controller in case of computer problems.
This article first appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.