Prudence is one of its main qualities. The gatekeeper of a building is the one who knows everything about its inhabitants and keeps his mouth shut. You must learn to be invisible when needed, but always present when called. The figure we rely on every day, with whom we chat about football or the weather, may be about to disappear. The new series from Argentina’s Mariano Kohn and Gaston Duprat puts the issue on the table. in charge -That’s the name of the place on the other side of the pond- Guillermo Francella in the skin of a somewhat shady concierge who abuses the trust of his neighbors, trying to take advantage of various situations. In Argentina, a group of managers was troubled by the image it provided and published a letter disapproving of the series, which led to more conflict.
Beyond the discussions, the legend serves as a clear example to understand how the use of goalkeeping may be on the verge of extinction. In the building opposite Eliseo, our protagonist, they have an innovative system called Totem and they do without concierge. On the other hand, the owner of the building where he works may want to eliminate his role and hire a cleaning company for a few hours a day.
Concierge joins other jobs that are disappearing with technological advances, such as cashier or bus guard, and starts a debate about their regulation. is that security in buildings has changed. The most common practice today is a digital access control: residents can cross the door by means of a tag or a code. In addition, companies typically install cameras around the perimeter of the building and other key points, which are monitored from a monitoring center. In case of unauthorized entry, measures such as contacting the police or sending mobiles are taken. In addition to being protected at all times, you can record what happened and have a backup just in case. Many of these companies also offer the installation of a totem at the main entrance, a panel with a screen that shows the guards guarding the entrance and can communicate with neighbors in real time. It is very common that when a goalkeeper retires, he is replaced by a totem or a virtual surveillance system.
From the Association of House and Apartment Doormen (APCA), which has about 150 members, its president Oscar Fernandez stressed that there are tasks that only a doorman can do in person. “They realize what they lose when there is a problem: water flows, no one takes out the garbage, a doctor comes and cannot enter, a gate is closed. A totem of thousands of problems”, they say. Fernandez points out that the association is currently fighting for Parliament to tax the totem pole; and if they are not suitable for the company or the building, don’t hire them any more. That said inspectorWithin the framework of pension reform, Senator Sergio Botana ruled in favor of taxing totem poles, because they eliminate jobs.
“If you take an employee out and put one of those machines in, I think you’re committing a theft,” he tells the Association of House and Apartment Janitors.
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Mario Gómez, secretary general of the APCA, talks of hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses for BPS eliminated due to positions that will not contribute to retirement. In this sense, Gómez insists that the state should regulate totem poles: “If you put a machine in a new building, I’ll tolerate it. But if you fire an employee and replace one of those machines.” one, I feel like you’re dodging. If you have a dog and don’t have a patent, they fix you. It’s exactly the same; they don’t tax anything. “
If an emergency does arise, he is the concierge who usually helps the apartment’s residents. “It is one that is a bit of everything: health, psychological. It is part of the family of building and coexistence”, explains Oscar Fernández. In his 20 years as a concierge at the Cordon on Guayabos Street, he says people love and appreciate him. “There is a girl inside who did her whole career here as a doctor. And he tells me, ‘Oscar, the day he receives me, the first photo will be with you. You are part of my story, my career, my family, because I was studying, someone would come and you would open the door for them. You received all the parcels, the food that my parents sent me. The goalkeeper is like that: the one who is always there”.
Fernandez deals with 61 apartments and 27 garages, and makes sure that 99% of the neighbors blindly trust him. Among other things, they leave their car and apartment keys in his care. “As the administration says: ‘If there is an Oscar, nothing happens.’ This is the belief that you earn day after day, month after month.
The number of goalkeepers in Uruguay has decreased drastically in recent years. At APCA they calculate that around a thousand jobs have been lost since 2016. In fact, apart from virtual concierge services, the coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact. “The average age of goalkeepers is 50 and above, 60 or 65, and these guys were sent home because of Covid, but later they didn’t take them back. To remove the goalkeeper, there was a ‘stir’ in the administration. They put up poles and goalkeepers, says Fernandez, who, when he wanted to regroup, found he no longer had a job.
Mikaela Villa, head of marketing at Prosegur, one of the companies with virtual concierge services, explains that its offering provides buildings with comprehensive security without increasing costs. The proposal has the unique name El Ojo del Halcón and has been present in Uruguay since 2016. “This solution combines technology with human resources, as it requires the intervention of both artificial intelligence and security guards,” he explained.
“Common expenses are greatly reduced. Having staff in the building for a few hours is three to four times the cost of the service we provide,” explains a Foxys representative.
Other companies with similar proposals are Securitas, Masterson and Foxsys, which today have 250 totem poles installed in Uruguay. Foxis’ representative, Juan Manuel González, when asked about the reasons for supporting their proposal, explains: “The most basic thing, but the one that concerns many people’s choice, is related to the cost. The general expenses are very low. Having 24 hours, or a certain number of staff, in the building is three or four times the cost of the service we provide.
From Prosegur, Villa highlights the innovations in terms of security that they offer to remotely prevent the entry of an intruder: “The guard can communicate via the main monitoring posts, the status of detecting a suspicious can intervene online, which generates a high deterrent effect”.
Typically, the guard monitoring the cameras works with several buildings at the same time. Between 15 and 20 depending on time.
At Foxis they emphasize that the operators can be connected centrally to the various services of the building where they are installed. “If something fails, we intervene. For example, the elevator broke down at three in the morning. We get a signal that it is failing, we call the elevator technical service and we Give them access to repair the problem.
Typically, the guard monitoring the cameras works with several buildings at the same time. Between 15 and 20 depending on time. In any case, Gonzalez noted that this ratio is not very important: “People don’t see all the cameras all the time, but the technology in our monitoring center only highlights relevant events. Because most of the time, most of the cameras have some does not happen. The system processes events that occur. If, for example, a door is left open, a person is walking onto a façade, a garage is damaged, any event of a particular nature, that system Reports there operators contact the situation”.
What happens in many cases is that the total work of a concierge is not replaced by new virtual services, but changes are lost at some specific point in time. When asked about the possibility that his proposal suppresses the presence of concierges, Villa expressed that he does not see it that way: “This security service is completely different from the person who works as a concierge. This is done remotely by professional security guards with intelligent technology to provide the best quality and security.
Gonzalez agrees: “Our service has come to replace night watch or security guard jobs and to some extent daytime services. It depends on the specificity of the building and the possibility of a certain type of expenditure. At most, it’s combined with a physical porter that deals with the most humane solutions to their presence there.”
man in the hall
If one walks along Avenida Brasil near the boulevard, the faces are repeated on a screen of totems guarding the various fronts. At the entrance of a beautiful glass building, Mariana, a middle-aged woman, takes a few minutes to talk with her daughters the Daily About this new service: “For me it’s an advantage. It’s nice. Obviously, the cost is less. You drop off packages or things at the doorman, it’s really the same. I’m satisfied,” he said.
Sonia, a neighbor in the building maintained by a traditional concierge, comes down from her apartment to reason about why she likes it: “First of all, because he’s a human. He knows us. We exchanged things about life and building”. In this sense, he highlighted the good relationship they have and the fact that he knows he can count on her, even outside of his schedule. Moving on to Benito Blanco you can see Mario, a stout man with gray hair, stationed at a garden fence. He has been a concierge for 13 years and believes it is difficult to change his job, given that many older people live in his building and find it difficult to move around. He takes care of uploading your medicines or ordering for delivery. She’s also in charge of the mail and taking out the trash.
A few steps away I meet Enrique, a man in an impeccable suit who is busy. It’s rush hour for work, when lots of cars are leaving your building and you have to open the gate. You can’t get distracted. Once the task is over, he tells of his experience as a goalkeeper working with a totem: “We work as a pair. I’m not used to it, I’ve had it for 16 years. Have always worked alone. Now they put it here and what am I going to do. I have to compromise. I have no choice but to accept it. The building kept it but I would prefer to work alone. And When it comes to assigning tasks, he clarifies: “When I’m there, I open it up, because I’m the one who knows people.”