This Start-Up Would Like You to Meet Your Virtual Doorman
New York Times | By Andrew Ross Sorkin
The doorman occupies a complex spot in the New York City class system: the doorman is at once status-symbol, diplomat and taxi-hailer. And now, he may be virtual, if one start-up has its way.
BusinessWeek notes that New York-based Virtual Service announced an upgrade to its “Virtual Doorman” that enables users to interact with a service programmed to handle everything from unlocking your apartment door for the dog walker to accepting packages and turning away solicitors.
Colin Foster, one of the co-founders of Virtual Service, says the technology has begun to take off as young, tech-savvy users enter New York’s real-estate market. “Younger, hip Wall Streeters are buying luxury apartments and they want a small building with all the amenities,” Mr. Foster told BusinessWeek. By next spring, the company plans to introduce the virtual doorman in other cities such as Boston and Washington.
The upside, according to the company, is price and privacy. As smaller luxury buildings come into demand, the $30,000-plus salary in addition to health-care coverage and other benefits can become cost prohibitive for the tenants. And the people who move into smaller buildings don’t necessarily want to be on a first-name basis with the guy who monitors the door, according to Mr. Foster.
In an April article, The New York Times noted a growing anti-doorman trend in the city.
“Doormen know everything,” Stephen C. Brandman, the chief operating officer of Thompson Hotels, a luxury boutique hotel chain, told The Times.
“The challenge becomes when you have overnight guests; sometimes the doormen share their thoughts about that,” said Mr. Brandman, referring to unsolicited remarks garnered during his bachelor life. “Sometimes they wanted to know why ex-girlfriends had come back into the picture, so there would be running commentary.”
The Times noted that even most doormen would apparently rather live without a doorman even if they could afford it.
This article first appeared in New York Times.