Residential tap in

August 2013 Access Control & Identity Management, Residential Estate (Industry)

A number of options are available for visitors – the security guard with a sign-in book, a buzzer with keypad at the entrance or a pre-arranged access card, button or remote. However, what about visitors who need to gain access when the resident is off site? Ideally, security guards would have been instructed to deny access to visitors when the resident is off site. Even in instances where the visitor produces a letter ostensibly from the resident permitting access, it could be forged.

MKII intercom system.
MKII intercom system.

Altro Property Management manages a number of residential estates. After searching for an alternative access solution, Altro was pleasantly surprised to encounter the MKII intercom system from Comb Communications.

“We required a system that would allow the security guard to communicate with the resident irrespective of whether they were on site or not. A property that we had added to our portfolio had an existing MKII system in operation. We contacted Comb Communications to discuss the operational parameters and hence a very beneficial relationship began,” said Altro’s owner Allan Trollip.

“We were intrigued by the advantages the MKII, combined with a Tap-Tap keypad, provides. Traditional hardwired intercom systems are expensive to install and maintain, and lack the flexibility provided by the MKII. We have now installed the MKII combination at 17 of the estates we manage, providing 3000 residents with access to the system.”

One of the residential estates 
managed by Altro, using a MKII intercom system.
One of the residential estates managed by Altro, using a MKII intercom system.

“The MKII allows us to programme in a number of resident cellphone numbers. When a visitor arrives, the security guard pushes the button associated with the specific unit number required. The system then automatically dials the pre-programmed cell number and the resident can give the visitor access by simply pressing a button on his cellphone or by sending a unique one-time pin number to the visitor to use.”

The MKII is the first unit of its kind in the world to contain an embedded SIM chip. This eliminates having to purchase a separate SIM card and the possibility of SIM card theft. Another security feature within the MKII is the built-in anti-tampering capability. This time-based access control system provides individualised unit billing reports, divided into gate opening and phone charges. Reports are provided on both successful and unsuccessful gate openings.

The Tap-Tap keypad is used in conjunction with the MKII to request an entry and exit pin number for visitors, by simply sending an SMS with the word TAP plus the number of visitors (for example four) to the MKII intercom system. The system then sends a 5-digit pin via SMS to the visitor, valid until midnight of the same day. “The MKII system allows us to send out bulk SMSes or e-mails around the clock at very little cost,” said Trollip.

Trollip pointed out that the team at Comb Communications was extremely helpful, aiding in Altro’s complete familiarisation with the system. “Based on the benefits of the MKII/Tap-Tap as well as the ongoing excellent service provided by Comb Communications, we have standardised on the system wherever possible.

“This is a mutually beneficial relationship as we can now utilise a superior access control system and Comb is able to grow the product through the feedback we provide. We recently approached Comb Communications to provide customised enhancements to the existing system. We would like the system to incorporate information on the owner of the property; details of next of kin; vehicle registration numbers; details of tenants; whether there are pets at the residence; who the estate agent is, etc. The more information available to us, the more effective the system will be,” he concluded.

For more information contact Keep Access Control Systems, +27(0)11 805 0175,,


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