ADDA is being used in more than 32,000 residential units across the UAE Image Credit: Supplied

The Dubai residential real estate market has seen a good first quarter after many months of slowdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and suspension of travel around the world. Gated communities with spacious villa and townhouse living are being preferred by tenants and homeowners, who want the space and privacy keeping in mind social distancing measures in place. Communities that are mindful of hygiene and safety and offer a holistic living experience are now in great demand.

So what makes a community safe? A focus on general cleanliness, regular collection of service charges from owners for community upkeep, proper maintenance and usage of the facilities, maintenance of community assets like gyms, swimming pools, elevators, and of course, observing security and social distancing. Let’s face it - this is a lot of work.

Initial challenges

Around 2009, two individuals, San Banerjee and Venkat Kandaswamy moved to a gated community in India. Being the first owners, it fell on them to maintain the property. There were glaring challenges - there was no proper communication platform (all stakeholders chose platforms convenient to them leading to confusion), heavy manual dependence on the financial management of the community and issues with security.

Faced with these challenges, the couple soon came up with a community management solution - thus was born the first version of the app, ADDA. In the early days, the application had very basic features like a community helpdesk. However, 11 years down the line the story has taken a very different turn.

Feature-rich yet simple to use

ADDA is now a leader in the field of community management systems. Feature rich yet simple to use, the first aspect that sets ADDA apart is the “Resident App”. This App is powered in the backend by a robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) and a strong security management system, the GateKeeper. The complete package is a comprehensive platform that keeps residents and Owners Association members in touch with each other without the inconvenience of calling and messaging.

The system ushers in automation in the residential space. With the Middle East committing to create more and more net-zero buildings, digitisation and automation are a step forward to achieve that goal. Service charges make the lion’s share of revenue for the OA to maintain the property. Using a manual system or using different software for different aspects of financial management creates a chaotic situation and has a high chance of fund leakage/loss.

ADDA’s Pay Dues feature takes away the need for multiple software. Residents can view their service charges from the app, pay right through the app and the record is automatically updated in the digital income tracker in the ERP system at the backend. The app takes care of the complete cycle - the admin can automatically generate bills, residents receive these bills on their app, they pay through the app and then the income is automatically recorded. A process that on a manual system would take minimum a week to complete all steps, is now accomplished in a matter of minutes. This is especially helpful for non-resident owners who can keep their payments updated from just about anywhere in the world.

This system is not just about convenience but also accuracy. Accounting becomes automatic so the OA members are always ready for their audits without errors in their reports.

ADDA’s Central Command Centre also helps OA members to have an overview of all their properties on a screen. The dashboard makes it easy to implement action items that are common for all properties, for example - certain common announcements can be triggered for all properties instead of doing it manually for each account. This also helps them to compare the health of each property and implement measures accordingly. In case of maintenance problems, ADDA’s HelpDesk assists a resident to raise a ticket from the app. Instantly, the task owners are notified and they proceed towards the resolution in less than a day. This leads to resident satisfaction.

Co-founder and CEO of ADDA, San Banerjee Image Credit: Supplied

Connect residents to local vendors

Discover is a unique platform that connects residents to local vendors regarding their lifestyle needs - pest control, adventure trips, car insurances - it’s a potpourri of important services needed but not always easily found on one platform. This also tremendously helps the local economy.

Facility management is another mammoth task for the OA. Automation helps with time, resource and cost optimisation. Through facility booking, residents can now easily check their availability and book the facilities. This has completely avoided the issue of double booking and made it that much easier for residents to enjoy community amenities.

Security is an important factor for all community management. GateKeeper from ADDA empowers the human instinct for security with the flawlessness of technology. Unlimited entry exit data can be tracked in the app. Residents can pre-approve visitors making the check in process easier. With Covid-19, GateKeeper can be used to even track staff temperatures. Incident reporting and visitor reports help admins to understand if there are security loopholes and immediately address them.

ADDA automates more than just routine processes helping community managers do more with less which is the need of the hour. Online and contactless move-in process, single click broadcast to all residents, automated reminder for timely payment of dues, all modes of online payments, visitor notification and online amenity booking ensures a community management firm can focus their attention to improving infrastructure and resident experience rather than be bogged down by routine processes. The DIY style quickens resolutions. With all operations digital, the OA can have increased bandwidth to take on 40-60 per cent more business on the same staff strength.