The virtual guarding and remote visitor management model has been gaining traction in recent years due to the high-cost of labor and on-site guards. Envera Systems out of Florida, is one of the companies providing virtual guarding solutions. In this article we will examine Envera systems reviews, costs, and alternatives. A range of security options exists, of which the virtual guard is but one. This article seeks to explore several other alternatives, including self-service kiosks and hybrid models that combine human guards with advanced technology. Our aim is to assist you in selecting the most appropriate solution for your specific security requirements, while keeping things clear and understandable.
In this article, you’ll find:
- Overview of Envera Systems
- Envera Systems Products
- Envera Systems Cost
- Pros and Cons of Envera Systems
- Envera Systems Reviews
- Types of Gate Security
- Comparison of Envera Systems & Proptia
- Comparison of Envera Systems & Securiteam
- Key Takeaways
Let’s jump in!
About Envera Systems
For over 15 years, Envera Systems has provided access control solutions to properties in the United States. With several products and a mission “to partner with communities and provide security through industry-leading technology and superior customer service,” they have become a reliable provider and an industry leader.
Envera Systems offers products and services to suit the needs of any property, from small residential communities to large commercial developments. As a full-service provider, they will install, maintain, and support your system.
Envera Systems and Products
The company offers a variety of access control products and services to ensure your property is secure.
Virtual Gate Guard
On-premises guards can be expensive, inefficient, and prone to mistakes. To combat this, the virtual gate guard has become a valuable way to monitor access points without needing an in-person check.
As residents or visitors approach the gate, an automatic system attempts to confirm their credentials. If they have not been pre-approved, they are connected to trained security personnel or via a two-way intercom system for verification.
There are two automated systems available from Envera Systems.
Driver’s License Technology
Using an ATM-like kiosk, the driver’s license technology scans and verifies the visitor’s license against a list of manually approved visitors. If the license has not been approved, a virtual guard will be connected to find out where the visitor is going and contact the appropriate resident to confirm a scheduled appointment.
Photos will also be taken of the license, ensuring a record of all visitors that have been granted access.
License Plate Technology
Even quicker is the automatic license plate reader, which uses an optical character recognition platform to scan the license plates of incoming vehicles. If the plate does not match a pre-approved list, a trained guard will connect with the driver through a two-way intercom (one-way video) to confirm the visitor’s identity and purpose.
An access control system is the first line of defense against unauthorized entry to a property. Their website claims that Envera uses key cards, fobs, vehicle stickers, or biometric identifiers to grant access to a property, though the specific systems are not detailed.
Management uses a browser-based community database to maintain an accurate credential list, meaning access can be granted or revoked easily.
In addition to access control, Envera systems offers a variety of video surveillance solutions. Their cameras are designed to capture clear images in low light, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor usage. They offer two levels of security:
Active Video Surveillance
Envera systems provides surveillance and virtual guarding which allows operators to view live footage and intervene if necessary.
They can then activate a two-way intercom system to contact the trespasser before contacting local law enforcement if necessary.
Passive Video Surveillance
A more traditional solution, passive video surveillance records footage to be reviewed later. This can be used for investigative purposes or to document any incidents on the property.
These security camera systems can deter criminal activity and help recoup losses, even if no one is there to monitor the footage in real time.
One of the biggest issues secure properties face is tailgating – an unauthorized vehicle following close behind one that has successfully gained access.
With high-speed barrier gates, this is no longer an issue. Envera Systems offers several additional features, such as smart LED lighting (indicating stop or go, depending on color), breakaway technology to reduce the cost of repairs, and automatic strike alerts that notify operators of any potential tailgaters.
Envera Systems Cost
Like many property and visitor management companies, Envera does not list its pricing structure online. You would have to file an inquiry with their customer service team to get any insight into the cost of their systems.
Luckily, we were able to find a white paper from a gated community in Florida, breaking down the difference between manned guardhouses and an Envera system.
The report analyzes the cost of three different security scenarios.
1. 24/7 Manned Guard Gates
To provide adequate security for the community, the board estimated the cost of 24/7 manned guardhouses to be $229,736 per year. That does not include the $36,000 it would have cost to build an additional facility at the back gate for the guard to work in or the $45,000 spent on electronic hardware installation.
2. 12-Hour Manned Guard Shifts
The board also estimated the cost of having guards manning for only 12 hours of the day. That would effectively cut the cost in half, to $114,868. That does not include the price of the additional automated system that would be required for after-hours support.
3. Envera System
Envera qouted this property $70,644 per year, including the cost of cameras and construction. Envera fronted the $45,000 cost for this setup and then leased the kiosk, cameras and other equipment to the customer as part of the price.
While this white paper is from several years ago, it shows how much more affordable virtual guard systems can be than traditional security.
It meant a savings of $44,244 per year versus a 12-hour manned schedule and $159,092 compared to a 24-hour operation – not even including the other considerable investments the community would need to set up the latter two.
Envera Systems Pros and Cons
Envera Systems has been around for quite a while, but it’s not without its flaws. Let’s look at some pros and cons of using Envera Systems for your access control and video surveillance needs.
- Considerably cheaper than full-time guard schedules
- Can protect against tailgaters
- Full-service provider, offering installation, maintenance, and monitoring
- Virtual guards can detect suspicious entry better than keyfobs or RFID
- HOAs are dependent on Envera’s system and management of data
- If they let go of Envera the community is stuck without a system in place
- Browser-based management software can be less stable than mobile apps
- Virtual guards have never visited the community or property
- Driver’s license readers can be a nuisance for regular visitors and vendors
- Gate malfunctions can cause long wait times due to no on-site staff
- Lacks integration with other security solutions
Envera Systems Reviews
While all businesses will profess to offer exceptional service, actual customer reviews are a great way to get an unbiased opinion.
“This is the WORST security system EVER!!! Gates malfunction all the time and allow visitors into our “gated community” without any form of ID.” – Herman H
“So many issues with virtual guards not doing their job properly. A joke when it comes to security!!” – Md. M
“I’ve been having a major issue with Envera for the past few months. I’ve had my exterminator and a handyman come (3x) and an Uber driver and they ALL got in without calling them in. Nobody ever even called me to verify they were at the gate, they just showed up at my door.” – Lisa J
Overall, the reviews for Envera are poor, though a limited number of them exist. They may not represent the whole picture.
Types of Gate Security
Before we directly compare companies, let’s dig a little deeper into the kinds of visitor management and gate security services available. For a more detailed overview read “Gate Guard Cost vs Virtual Guard Cost: Which Is Right For Your HOA?
This is the most thorough security measure available but also the most expensive. 1 24/7 guard can cost a community between $175-$220k a year depending on the company and additional services. However hiring on-site guards provides a physical presence to monitor visitors and deter unwanted activity.
- Physical presence
- High level of security
- Professional and trained staff
- High-end concerige feel
- HOA can have their own systems implace e.g. visitor management, access control, and license plate recognition and just hire out the guard service.
- Can be intrusive for visitors
- Typically high-turnover industry
- Managing relationships between human residents and human guards
Self-service kiosks also called, intercoms or telephone entry units, are automated systems that allow visitors to check in without assistance from a guard. The user simply enters their information, calls a resident directly, or is granted access based on pre-programmed credentials, QR code or ePass. There are many available manufacturers of telephone entry system, that range in cost from $1,500 up to $8,000. Many also come with a monthly software subscription. If considering this option you’ll want to look at units that have the ability to integrate with other solutions such as access control, vehicle detection, and license plate recognition to give you the level of security you want with a guard but without the high cost.
- No need for on-site staff
- Quick and convenient process
- If unit malfunctions it can cause backups
- Not as secure
- Can be unreliable
- Some models lack integration options to other levels of security such as license plate recognition and vehicle identifcation.
Virtual guards, like the ones that companies like Securiteam and Envera employs, are security professionals based out of a command center somewhere off-site.
The guards can monitor the property remotely, administer vehicle detection and license plate recognition and interact with visitors via two-way audio. This remote-operated security can run into trouble if there is a technical issue, but it does provide an extra layer of protection.
- More secure than kiosks (if operating correctly)
- Cost-effective solution
- Remote guard can interact with visitors
- Usually comes with more technology that will improve your entire security system infrastructure
- Technical issues can occur
- More costly than self-service intercoms
A hybrid system is a combination of the above. This can include on-site guards, kiosks, and virtual guards for maximum security. It is flexible and allows the property owner to customize their solution to fit their needs and budget.
It could include a physical guard during the day, a virtual one at night, or a combination of automatic kiosks at some entrances.
- Flexible and customizable
- Combines the benefits of the other three options
- Can be expensive
- Can be confusing to manage and maintain unless you have a fully integrated system such a Proptia
Comparison of Envera Systems & Proptia
Now that we know a little bit about Envera and that model, let’s look at a different visitor management solution: Proptia.
History of Proptia
Proptia was borne out of the frustration of a team of seasoned security professionals who had grown disenchanted with the lack of cutting-edge solutions in the access control sector. Determined to usher in a new era of technological advancement, the company set out on a mission to empower its clients with the latest and greatest innovations in the field. Headquartered in Southern California, Proptia first made its mark by servicing the security needs of the most exclusive gated communities in Orange County and Los Angeles. Word of their unwavering commitment to excellence quickly spread, and today, the company boasts a nationwide presence, thanks in large part to a network of trusted channel partners who share their vision for uncompromising security solutions.
Offering cloud-based solutions, it has quickly become a leader in the market, with customers ranging from small residential buildings to sprawling gated master-planned communities.
Instead of a virtual guard service like Envera, Proptia is a modular software solution that puts the power of security customization into the hands of the customer or HOA.
The system is designed to ensure you have full control over who can access your property by offering hybrid models of support for self-serve kiosks, manned guard gates, and other security options. Which means whatever model you choose, whether it be hiring onsite guards, virtual guards, or a mix of both, you own the technology and data.
The primary contrast between Envera and Proptia is that the Homeowners Association (HOA) retains ownership of the security systems, hardware, and control, whether self-managed or managed by a property management company. Proptia, on the other hand, offers an easily navigable operating system for the HOA’s security infrastructure that empowers property managers and committee members to make data and access control decisions on behalf of the HOA. With Proptia, the HOA retains the authority to hire their preferred security personnel, who must utilize the community’s technology. This approach ensures that you, as the HOA, maintain control over your community’s security, technology, and data while also benefiting from a user-friendly platform designed to streamline the process.
In contrast, Envera is a third-party solution that HOAs typically contract out, with the hardware being leased. However, should the HOA decide to terminate the agreement, all data and technology associated with Envera may be lost, leaving the HOA to overhaul their guardhouse operations without a visitor management system in place, or to invest in new kiosks or license plate recognition systems to replace the lost functionality. This key distinction highlights Proptia’s approach, where the HOA retains ownership of their security systems and data, ensuring continuity and flexibility in the event of changes in security service providers.
Who is it Best For?
Proptia offers a comprehensive security solution for large organizations such as HOAs and property managers who are seeking to take control of their security infrastructure. Its modular design allows for customization, making it suitable for any type or size of community, providing the flexibility required by larger properties. Choosing Proptia means having complete ownership of the security technology and infrastructure for the life of the HOA, without being dependent on third-party leased equipment and staff.
On the other hand, Envera is a suitable option for smaller properties that lack the property management resources and staff to implement a scalable security solution. Envera is also an excellent choice if you prefer a hands-off approach and would rather avoid working with an integrators and setting up your own system.
However, it is worth noting that even small properties may find Proptia to be the superior option in the long run, as it provides the added benefits of ownership and the ability to tailor the system to specific needs. Proptia offers a comprehensive and flexible solution that provides peace of mind, regardless of the size of the community.
For more information, Proptia offers a massive knowledge base on its website that covers everything from technical RFID explainers to peeks behind the exclusive gated community curtain. Or you can schedule a demo of Proptia
Comparison of Envera Systems & Securiteam
Next is a look at Securiteam, a more direct competitor to Envera that offers a similar virtual guard experience.
History of Securiteam
More than 15 years ago, Securiteam was founded “to deliver security solutions that actually put people first.” They were adamant that one-size-fits-all packages weren’t suitable for business, so they developed a system that allowed customers to customize the security solution to their specifications.
They work with HOA’s and organizations like Black & Decker, Lowes, and the Moffitt Cancer Center to provide an effective – and scalable – access control solution.
Securiteam has a strong and favorable online review presence, boasting over 80 five-star reviews on Google
Like Envera, Securiteam’s flagship service is a virtual guard gate integrating proactive video surveillance and monitoring.
The system is designed to be flexible and customizable, allowing businesses to choose the level of security they need for their property. From basic guard gate operations to more advanced systems with additional features, Securiteam provides a comprehensive access control solution for any business.
Who is it Best For?
While a small community might not need the additional features of Securiteam, larger properties and businesses can benefit from its flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
If you are a growing operation that will need scalable, customizable access control in the future, Securiteam is worth considering.
In the security technology space, countless options are constantly vying for attention. In addition there are several new models available to customers. Whether that be on-site guards and technology, virtual guards, hybris models, or technoloy only, it can be difficult to know which system is suitable for your property.
In the virtual guarding model, the market leaders appear to be Securiteam and Envera Systems. Envera has been around for over 15 years and offers full-service installation and maintenance. Their solution can give customers quite a cost savings vs onsite security. However, some customers have reported its customer service as slow and unreliable, and online reviews consistently rate it low.
If you are looking for a reliable, cost-effective option with more features and customization, Proptia might be a better fit. Weigh the pros and cons of each system to determine which is right for your property. Reach out to one of our consultants today and we’re happy to talk you through your options:
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Author: Nick Saraev
Nick is a tech-savvy freelancer with a passion for coding and a knack for writing. As a programmer by trade, he knows the ins and outs of the digital world, with a particular interest in PropTech and Security Tech. When he’s not tinkering with the latest software, you can catch him scaling mountains or unleashing his creative side on a canvas. .