The definition of a milestone is a significant landmark which reminds you of what has been overcome in the journey so far. They are to be celebrated and commemorated, which brings us to the purpose of this article! We are writing to officially mark the 10th installation of CONNECT devices since our inception in March. While this may seem small in numbers, it is a big step forward for us in just a few short months as we are changing the lives of people in a number of different ways.
We’re proud to celebrate that there are now households, offices and Airbnb’s around the country making use of OPEN on a daily basis. The OPEN app was launched to provide people with a product that is compatible with their lifestyle (and any door, gate or garage in it). Our product is convenient for regular use and gives control over who enters and exits any property. We believe that’s why people are signing up and installing the CONNECT.
We asked our founder and CEO Jacquis Tolsma to share a little about the journey so far and answer a few questions about his experiences and observations.
Where in the country are the majority of clients located?
Jacquis: Our clients are mostly located in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but we are currently working with a few clients in Canada and Dubai as well
Is OPEN used by more residential property clients or commercial property owners?
Jacquis: We have a good mix of private and commercial clients. OPEN is an adaptable app which serves many different needs. Here is a list of our existing clients:
- Irene is a community in Pretoria. One of their wheelchair bound owners was having difficulty opening the gate for his guests. Now that OPEN is installed, he is able to let guests in and out through the app from the comfort of his home.
- The University of Stellenbosch Business School uses OPEN as a convenient solution to eliminate the hassle of maintaining and tracking remote controls for one of its entry gates.
- Two upscale, short-term Total Stay rental properties make use of OPEN to provide the convenience travellers enjoy.
- A reputable Airbnb Management company started using OPEN to manage access to their Airbnb properties to reduce the need for additional staff and facilitate a better guest experience through simple self-check in.
- Two private Airbnb apartments installed the OPEN app to achieve Airbnb Plus status and manage access to their properties with minimal disruption to their lifestyle.
- A private vacation home makes use of OPEN to grant guests access from a distance. This option is safer and more cost effective than couriering the keys to guests.
- A Rawson Property office no longer struggles with managing lost keys or key cards for their offices – more than 20 office staff now uses OPEN on a daily basis.
- A private home makes use of OPEN for convenience of entry for the family and granting access to their domestic workers.
What has the interaction with various clients taught you about the OPEN product?
Jacquis: We have learnt that a need exists. People appreciate the convenience of being able to leave the house for a jog or an afternoon walk with the kids without worrying about their keys or phones.
In the corporate sector, property managers trust OPEN to allow their guests freedom to check-in themselves. We have also taken extra care with installation guides and recommended professionals to set up the system because our clients appreciate great service and we enjoy providing it.
What else do clients appreciate about the OPEN app and CONNECT device?
Jacquis: We have received great feedback about the app. Catherine Geurden from the Rawson Paulshof offices, for example, said that OPEN has ‘made the office management easier to control.’
The most notable and appreciated comment, however, came from Justus, the gentleman living in the Irene community. He is wheelchair bound, and so has really appreciated the ease with which he is now able to grant people access with his phone. He messaged us saying ‘You help me make life possible.’ That was the most rewarding comment we have received so far.
What is next on the cards for OPEN?
Jacquis: Our main area of focus is to expand our reach and help more clients make their lives simpler. We are doing this by launching a short-term manager desktop portal, so rental managers can easily manage multiple properties, access schedules for guests, cleaning teams, or maintenance teams.
Eventually we would also like to expand our range of products to include peace-of-mind add-ons. This could be in various forms but could entail an OPENalarm feature which will enable users to set devices to alarm mode. This means an alarm in the form of an automated message or phonecall will be triggered if an unauthorised person opens a door on the property. We also envision implementing fingerprint authentication, two-step verification and secondary approval systems. Our priority is investing in developing and employing better security through the app and working towards greater convenience for our clients.