By Rahul Sarkar
Mukesh Kumar: “It’s not just my family, but 432 families that we need to think of while making decisions”
By Rahul Sarkar
Weekly markets within the compound, access to all the modern amenities, strong security systems, tree-lined avenues – Bangalore’s BREN Unity in Marathalli is a model gated community. Spread over five acres, it is today home to around 432 families. Ensuring a convenient, secure community life for all is no easy task, of course; behind it all is an 18-member management committee (MC) that sees that all is functioning to residents’ satisfaction.
We sat down with Mukesh Kumar, an MC member at BREN Unity who has been managing its IT Infra for close to four years, to discuss his day as a committee member, recent changes introduced to the community, and the impact of MyGate on residents’ day-to-day lives.
How does your regular day look like as a committee member?
I work at Qualcomm, so I’m pretty busy all day. However, I am in constant touch with other MC members and our site managers. I also make myself available if any priority calls are to be taken during the weekdays. Otherwise, every evening I spend an hour visiting the maintenance office to check for issues, if any, or complaints highlighted during the day.
What is your most pressing challenge?
So, the major challenge that we have faced is thinking at scale. It’s not just about my family or the families of the committee members; rather, it’s a total of 432 families that we have to think of, at present. Therefore, whatever rules we set and decisions we make, we have to ensure that there is no negative impact on even a single resident.
What kind of issues are typically raised by residents?
Since I handle IT infra, the complaints that reach me are largely related to security concerns. For instance, I intervene if the network is down or if something goes wrong with physical security and the security footage needs to be monitored. All these complaints were raised through email previously, but we now have a ticketing system in place for efficient communication and resolution.
What innovations has the committee introduced in the community?
We observed that there weren’t any daily needs stores in close proximity and residents were facing challenges trying to arrange for items in times of emergency. Therefore, we worked with multiple small vendors to set up weekly market within the compound.
We also signed up with Bigbasket to install a kiosk for vegetables and other daily essentials. Also, as a common practice in Bangalore, we don’t see CCTVs or surveillance cameras in the basement areas of residential complexes. However, we have installed CCTVs in our parking areas and basement for security purposes.
In what ways is MyGate helping BREN Unity?
The system is helpful in multiple ways. To quote examples – earlier, it was a nightmare to monitor fake entries. We had to go through a bundle of books to see if the entry was done or not, if yes, was it done right. But now, everything is streamlined.
I can fetch reports any time. Like when one of our interim vendors exited, it was a cakewalk to glance through the reports and settle payments. Another helpful aspect is the househelp notifications. Whenever they enter or leave the complex, everyone is notified, which nullifies any chance of forged entry.
Visitor validation through e-Intercom is another valuable feature. Previously, for each visitor validation we had to call the resident and if they were unavailable, they used to pass a different number, We would be left wondering if that number was valid or not.
It was a crucial security risk. However, with MyGate, it’s actually sorted out, There are no long queues near the main gate for visitor validation as it all happens automatically and the system seamlessly takes care of it.
Which features do the residents find the most useful?
We have on-boarded the Clubhouse feature that the residents are loving, especially parents. They are now aware of when their kids are entering and exiting the play area. Currently, this feature is being appreciated the most.
How do you see the guards evolve in the past two and a half years?
We definitely had our own apprehensions around how will the guards operate the system and the difficulty levels that we might have to deal with. However, much to my surprise, they were quite comfortable with the use of smartphones.
Moreover, with untiring on-boarding support from MyGate, the guards were able to easily, and very quickly, adapt to the system. They are extremely happy as they can focus better on surveillance rather than maintaining physical entry books.
How would you summarise your MyGate experience?
You are doing a great job by securing the gated societies. It gives a deep sense of security to the society residents. We have seen few tenants who decided to stay at BREN Unity just by seeing that we are on MyGate. That’s a great attribute. “Kids and families feel safe” – this is the feedback we have got from few of the tenants. So, it’s going great! We definitely feel a solution like MyGate is critical for ensuring safety in gated complexes.