Avoid A ‘Home Alone’ Situation With The Gatekeeper App

Remember Harry and Marv? The tiny short-tempered man and the tall dumb one, who terrorised the living daylights out of a naughty 8-year-old called Kevin McCallister?

Yes. We’re talking about the plot of the 1990 blockbuster movie, Home Alone, where the bad guys ultimately end up paying for their crimes, behind bars. While the movie served its purpose of entertaining people and raking in some big moolah, the depiction of events hold no semblance in the real world.

Now, imagine a country like India where there are thousands of Harrys and Marvs – probably a lot more deadlier – goofing off in every major metropolis, and most probably in an area surrounding you too. How do you keep your apartment and your kids from witnessing or being victims to rancid, violent Home Alone-esque occurrences?


Gatekeeper Home Alone


The answer lies with choosing an effective and efficient security system of course, like the Gatekeeper app by ApnaComplex, one of India’s leading security solutions providers. It’s quite like a benevolent all-seeing eye watching over your kids. Here is a scenario on how Gatekeeper can effortlessly handle it without the guard having to break a sweat.


The Trespassing And The Break-In

Remember when Kevin, despite all his best efforts, could no longer hold the “There are people in the house” act? Well, the criminal twosome from the Wet Bandits gang decided to invite themselves into the McCallister household, which spelled more trouble for the obnoxious little kid.

However, when you get Gatekeeper, the visitor tracking app, there is no chance of random strangers gaining unauthorised access to your apartment complex, let alone your doorstep.




The All-Seeing Guard

For a visitor to enter your apartment complex, they will need to provide brief details of the resident they are going to visit and their door number at the security booth. For the information to be rechecked correctly with the resident, the guard has the option to then send a text message or call the resident and confirm whether they are expecting a visitor.

Once the authenticity (or the apparent lack thereof) of the visitor’s request is ascertained, one can figure out whether a visitor is around for the right reasons or not!

Having a high-security feature in the form of a user-friendly app will not just help you avoid the Home Alone situation, but will also play a key part in safeguarding the well-being of your kids and your entire family.

Tool #2: Conduct healthy discussions via ApnaComplex Discussion Forum or Mailing List

discussion forumApnaComplex Discussion Forum is used for conducting healthy discussions on any topic with residents, owners or committee members. This is the most frequently used communication tool out of the complete list of ApnaComplex Communications tools.

Scenario when to use Discussion Forum:

  • Enquire about a good school nearby
  • Solicit feedback on a particular gas agency service
  • Discuss how best to celebrate a chemical free, organic holi

Advantages of using Discussion Forum:

  • An online forum to post topics and replies in a threaded and organized manner.
  • Discussions can be access controlled – can be made open to all residents, or only owners or only between committee members.
  • Advanced editor is available to post topics that can include text formatting, images, and hyperlinks.
  • Eliminates the need for multiple forums, multiple yahoo/google groups as all discussions are stored in a central place.
  • New committee members and owners get instant access to all past discussions.

Administrator Rights for Discussion Forum:

  • Administrators can close topics from further discussions.
  • Topics can be archived for future reference.

How to start a discussion on a new topic via Discussion Forum (on the portal):

Step 1: After logging in ApnaComplex portal go to Forums

Step 2: Click on Discussion Forums

Step 3: Select a new topic to start a discussion (Alternatively you can also search for a topic, take a look at archived topics)

Step 4: Choose the visibility option from the following – residents, owners and committee members

Step 5: Post the topic

Discussion Forum

Mailing List

You can also use the mailing list for conducting discussions. Essentially, both discussion forum and mailing list serve the same purpose. A topic started via the Discussion Forum (by logging on to the portal) can continue via mail. However, there are slight differences between the two:

Discussion Forum Mailing List
  • Requires approval from portal admin.
  • Attachments get stored.
  • Does not require approval from portal admin.
  • Attachments in the mail do not get stored.

How to use the mailing list for starting discussions?

1. Typically, each community has three mailing lists in the form of:

a)complex-name@apnacomplex.com – To start a discussion with residents

b)complex-name+owners@apnacomplex.com – To start a discussion with owners

c)complex-name+committee@apnacomplex.com  – To start a discussion with committee members

2. Any member by sending mails to the above email IDs can start a discussion since it will automatically post it on the discussion forum with the visibility option for the appropriate group to view the same.

3. Members can reply to the emails and the emails would automatically get posted to the group discussion forum in a threaded manner.

Mailing List

Hope with this blog using discussion forum and mailing lists for your discussions will be a much simpler process. Do let us know your doubts on using discussion forum or mailing lists and we would try our best to help you. Also, let us know if you found this helpful by commenting on this blog.

Habit #5: Effective management committees implement smart financial control

In this blog post, we are going to emphasize on the fifth habit of effective management committees of implementing smart financial control. Smart financial management is the key to success for any management committee. In our earlier blog post, we talked about Habit 4: How effective management committees are highly disciplined. Read more…

Pointers for the committee members to practice smart financial control:

Treasurers need to do more than just signing cheques – In most of the apartments, the role of a treasurer is restricted to signing cheques and issuing receipts. This is not the right practice. The role of a treasurer is a very important one and both the committee and treasurer has to understand that. As a treasurer, ensure you have a budget in place at the start of the financial year. There may be undue pressure on you from other committee members or residents to spend on various new initiatives but do stick to your budget. Always remember it’s easy to spend but more difficult to stick to the pre-decided budget and as a treasurer if you are able to do that, you are certainly doing a good job.

Do not approve ad-hoc expenses – Committee members or residents always come up with new initiatives and every new initiative has an additional cost attached to it. As committee members spend more time with each other, you develop a certain level of friendship and comfort with your co-committee members. The problem arises when you are not able to say “NO” to a co-committee member for an expense, which is out of your budget. As a treasurer, learn to say no to the ad-hoc expenses, which makes a hole in your budget. At times the treasurers need to be ruthless to spend their finances judiciously. For instance, in one of the apartments, one of the committee members suggested a sliding gate, which would have looked great and would have been easier to access, but the treasurer did not approve the budget for the same. Was it a good decision? Yes, because one needs to understand the difference between “feel good things” vs. “necessities”.

Set a strict approval process for payments – As a treasurer, it is both your duty and right to question each and every expense. Keep a strict check on the new expenses being incurred. Set your budget and set a process for slab approvals for fool proofing the system. Create a rule or mechanism for payments approvals, provide the same to the entire committee and ensure it is followed by the whole committee. Do not go easy on the slab approvals and try going around it. Ensure you yourself follow it for making the entire committee follow the same.

Publish monthly reports on budget variance – Show the same enthusiasm to calculate dues as well as expenses. Most of committee treasurers show a lot of enthusiasm while calculating and collecting the dues or maintenance charges from residents. However, when it comes to calculating the expenses or the budget overflow, one loses enthusiasm and the budget variance calculation is always delayed. Ensure budget variance report is published in a timely manner on a monthly basis. Also, publish the report on how much was the overflow every month. This will help you analyse where exactly did you go wrong and will help you and the committee balance it out the next month itself. Otherwise, at the year end audit, one can only realize the mistake of overspending but will have no time to correct it.

Committees and especially treasurers need to understand that the resident welfare cannot be achieved by overspending on “feel good” things instead spend the resident money carefully and judiciously on the necessities and try to achieve small objectives, which are in-sync with your pre-decided budget. This will lead to a higher level of resident satisfaction.

Do you think the management committee in your apartment complex practices smart financial control? Do let us know by commenting on our blog. Log onto www.apnacomplex.com regularly for the post on next habit of effective management committees.

The Importance Of Electrical Safety In A Housing Society

Most people hardly understand the importance of proper electrical safety in a cooperative housing society. The tingling sensation that a minor shock produces in your skin may seem trivial, but more severe shocks can cause burns all over your body or even cardiac arrest.

You should know that almost all electrical accidents occur due to faulty wiring, or due to damaged electrical appliances. To keep your family safe and to prevent any mishaps from occurring, you can adopt a set of safety measures that can also be followed by all members in a cooperative housing society.

Replace Old Sockets With New Ones

Replace Old Sockets With New Ones

Safety Measures To Avoid Electric Shocks

  • Handling The Main Source: Always disconnect the main power source when you’re not using an electrical appliance. When you try and set right a faulty appliance, always disconnect the power cord before taking things forward.
  • Proper Placement Of Cords: Sometimes people place the extension cords under the carpet. This is a very dangerous practice as it can cause short circuits and this should be avoided at all costs.
  • Ensuring Proper Insulation: Always run the electrical cords in all appliances through a double check. Many accidents are caused due to electrical cords that are frayed and are not properly insulated. There should be at least a layer or two of insulation between your hand and the live wire.
  • Smoke Alert: Always be on the alert and check if there’s smoke coming from any appliance. This may be accompanied by a burning smell, and this means that some appliance is faulty. This can be prevented by unplugging all appliances when they aren’t in use.
  • Using Few Extension Cords: When it comes to extension cords, use a minimal number and ensure that you don’t overload them with countless wires. Fix up an ample number of electrical outlets in every room to avoid issues of overload.
  • Removing Bare Wires: Check if all the wires that run along the walls are properly insulated. Sometimes during the monsoon season, a few apartments in a cooperative housing society may face the problem of having wet walls. This scenario can get dangerous if the wires that run along the walls are bare, as electricity will easily be conducted upon contact.
  • Using A Tester: Always have a tester around the house as this can come in really handy. Whenever you turn a circuit off for maintenance purposes, use a tester to ensure that there is no current flow.
  • Having The Proper Equipment: You may know your way around electrical circuits, but you need to have the right equipment to safely work with faulty appliances and electrical lines. Always have a pair of rubber gloves that are well insulated in your kit.  You can also learn how to operate circuit breakers and fuse boxes.

Every family in a cooperative housing society should follow these measures, as electrical safety is not an option, it’s a necessity. The managing committee in a cooperative housing society should take note of the above steps and ensure that they are implemented.

ApnaComplex is a web based apartment management software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by brining in more transaparency and accountability in manging the complex. Sign up your complex today and get the benefits!

This article aims at collating and providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use it only as a guidance for further discussion and action with help of relevant professionals.