Ishita Bhattacharya, a Delhi resident, uses an app called MyGate for various activities pertaining to her home. The app lets her call her colony gate, get numbers for various household helps, track notices from the residents’ welfare association (RWA) and more. Every time someone comes to meet her, she gets an alert (ping) on her phone to approve entry for the person. The app also shows the person’s photo, and purpose of their visit.
MyGate is just one such app being used by various colonies in India. The app lets a colony’s RWA easily convey notices to residents, maintains a list of local services available in the colony, provides emergency numbers and more. It even serves as a directory of all the residents in a colony, and has an “opt-in" feature which makes IP-based calls through the app, effectively replacing the intercom. It currently has over 4,000 communities on its platform.
MyGate is just one example in a growing number of community management platforms being adopted in India. These apps aim to automate various processes inside colonies, which are often carried out in an archaic manner in India, and improve ease of use, safety and security for residents.
Shreyans Daga, co-founder of MyGate, says gated communities are growing in India. “In late 2015-16, gated communities were coming up in a huge way. Today, they are common even in tier-II and III cities," he said. As a result, the adoption of technology has also become more probable. Daga says MyGate has seen a 5x growth compared to the same period last year. It expects to serve 4 million households in the next 18 months.
“When we studied it, we realized that for every two people you know, you get five unknown visitors," he added. Unknown visitors like delivery executives from e-commerce or food delivery platforms are quite common now, and authentication is paramount.
MyGate has developed a solution where the Swiggy app can directly send an address to the MyGate platform. On the back end, the company uses natural language processing (NLP) to authenticate the address and send the resident a notification to pre-approve the delivery executive who is delivering the food. It then uses the executive’s phone number to grant them access inside a colony, eliminating the necessity of calls through intercoms, etc.
While some startups offer their own apps to developers, builders and RWAs, others let developers offer white-label apps to residents. One such app is Lockated, which wants to become the “Amazon of real estate", according to Lockated CEO and founder Chetan Bafna. Unlike MyGate, Lockated offers a deeper platform to developers. The company can work as a customer relationship management (CRM) platform for developers. Once a customer is acquired and possession of a flat is handed over, the app automatically changes to a community management platform. Lockated also lets builders and developers convey notices, demands, etc., to customers. While Lockated has its own app on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, it also offers white-label apps for developers with their own branding.
Lockated’s platform is also modular, which means if a developer just needs the community management part of the platform, Lockated can provide just that. According to Bafna, the company has 70,000 units (flats) in the pipeline, which it expects to serve in the next 3-3.5 years, at about 20,000 units per year. It has partnered with developers like Suncity Projects, Oberoi Realty, CBRE, Sunteck and Godrej Properties.
MyGate is currently present in about 11 cities, including Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Other than MyGate and Lockated, platforms like Adda.io, Society Connect, Apna Complex and Neighbourhood perform similar tasks.
Both Lockated and MyGate plan to integrate facial recognition technologies in the future, making it easier to authenticate people who are entering a colony. Lockated also integrates with UrbanClap for household services from its own app.
While most of these apps are meant for community management at the moment, both Lockated’s Bafna and MyGate’s Daga agree that the technology can be put to work at for commercial real estate too. MyGate’s app for commercial complexes is in beta right now. "We want a MyGate product for every place that has a gate," said Daga.