Could virtual doormen replace the real thing?

TRD New York /
Mar.March 15, 2010 09:44 AM

Are virtual doormen the wave of the future? Kent Security Services hopes so, but for the city’s approximately 30,000 doormen whose contracts expire April 20, the new technology poses a very tangible threat. While there are already hundreds of New York City buildings that employ video and audio monitoring instead of live doormen, Kent’s system adds biometrics — or scanning technology — into the mix. The biometric door works by snapping pictures of visitors at the door and comparing them to those on file. If no matches are found, a voice asks, “do you live in the building?” and uses voice recognition technology to analyze the response. If still no match is found, central security staffers phone in to check. The door costs $15,000, according to Kent’s Alon Alexander, who said the technology has yet to be seen in action. Doormen make $40,000 per year, according to their union, which is currently in talks with the city’s building owners to negotiate next year’s contracts. Still, as one West Village doorman pointed out, “a computer is not going to help tenants carry their bags.” [Post]

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