Faster, smarter access with YOUNiQ at Algeco

ALGECO offers space rental solutions in 22 countries across Europe and Middle East. It serves over 31,000 customers in construction and infrastructure, industry, services and administration with approximately 235,000 modular space and storage units leased through a network of more than 150 locations. We spoke to Nina Flood, Managing Director at Algeco to find out how the company is using YOUNiQ and facial recognition to enable secure and convenient access to its facilities.

Please tell us a little about Algeco and your role.

As Managing Director at Algeco, responsible for managing our Swedish division, I’ve been closely involved in building the prosperous company that our organisation is today. Our ambition is to create smart spaces for people to live, work and learn. It’s exciting because no one else in the market offers our expertise across the range of industries that we provide.  From residential and storage containers to modular constructions for company and school facilities and from office spaces to constructions sites and complex services for the events industry, we have specialist expertise for the benefit of our customers, no matter what their needs are.

Can you tell us about the challenges you face in terms of managing access to Algeco’s facilities?

There are some very specific challenges and projects we’re working on right now. For example, in Skellefteå, Sweden, construction is underway on one of Europe’s largest new industry facilities – around 3,000 people are expected be employed there in just a few years. Many of the construction workers and subcontractors for the project live just a few kilometers away in temporary modules developed by Algeco. In total, there are 660 rooms, all designed and organized to hotel standard, with more modules expected in the future. We plan to use these temporary modules in Skellefteå for the next three to five years. Then, Algeco will reuse them for new projects – one of the benefits of this kind of modular construction.

The size of the project requires rapid creation of housing which will be used for a limited period of time that meets customer requirements, maintains the high standards expected by workers and unions and a frictionless access solution for residents with no need for staff to manage key cards and the associated admin for physical tokens.

Another challenge area we’re seeing at the moment is our delivery containers service, offering safer and faster deliveries for our customers. Today’s access solutions for containers involve a lot of challenges, such as identifying who actually opened a container, understanding any risks associated with a container’s contents (such as theft), the ability to limit access and of course, the time and resource intensive administration of codes and tags to enable authorised entry. With this in mind we identified a strong need for a digital solution that ensures the right person has access to the right container at the right time.

How is using YOUNiQ helping to solve these challenges?

The  YOUNiQ solution is user-friendly, secure and cost-effective, making the process of recognizing an individual and granting them access, effortless. Integrating this software with our access control systems has enabled facial recognition at our facilities and allows us to manage access in a safe and secure way that’s really convenient and modern for our residents. Removing the need for personnel on-site to manage access is also very important – the YOUNiQ solution means we do not have to manage lengthy processes such as providing a key or tag or even re-issuing temporary replacements when someone loses or forgets their key. On large sites such as the one in Skellefteå this can take up a significant amount of time and resource, not to mention unnecessary plastic waste.

Building on our good experience and excellent feedback from our customers with YOUNiQ in Skellefteå, it was then an easy decision to additionally implement facial recognition for Algeco’s delivery container service so we can continue to build a great customer experience with excellent security.

What are the advantages of using this type of access using biometrics compared to a traditional pass / access card or passcode?

As key cards or tags are not required this is particularly practical for the housing modules in Skellefteå where we have a constant flow of people who need to access their rooms during specific periods. The fully digital solution means that just one administrator is needed to manage 500+ doors.  All invitations, registrations and support is managed online by the administrator and the residents themselves (for the registration process). This solution has helped us to secure a contemporary environment with cost and time efficient access built for the future!

We see similar benefits in being able to manage distribution of tailormade access (in terms of who, when and what) to the containers online. This also ensures enhanced security by minimizing the risk of unauthorized people being able to access the container.

What benefits have you seen and how does this solution make everyday life easier and more secure for your customers?

We strive to deliver a smooth and secure stay for our residents and we know that this is both expected and appreciated by them. Because this is a digital solution, residents experience a much higher degree of convenience – they can check in or out online to their accommodation when they want without having to physically visit a reception desk to collect or return a key or tag. As your biometrics can not be forgotten, lost or stolen, it also means that customers don’t need to worry about remembering their key or the risk of theft – it’s all taken care of because YOU are the key!

Have there been any challenges?  How have you overcome these?

Whenever implementing new systems or solutions there will naturally be some challenges or bumps on the way. We’ve managed these by collaborating closely with the YOUNiQ support team at Precise in Lund whenever we have questions or need help. The great benefit of a digital solution is that most tasks can be remotely supported which is very helpful.

In terms of secure, convenient and sustainable access solutions, what do you think the future trends will be for your industry?

Sustainability is of significant importance for the future and we are looking at a number of ways to ensure energy efficiency and to reduce waste. We actively work to minimize or avoid activities that harm the environment – carrying out our projects with minimal emissions and recycling as much as we possibly can.

We want to avoid or minimize negative effects on individuals, society or the environment and at the same time create value for our owners and other actors. We believe that this strengthens the link between the company’s profits and social benefits in both the long and short term.

What are your expectations on how YOUNiQ can help you meet the future challenges of these trends?

As a leader in the industry, Algeco works with customers and suppliers to develop environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions.

We currently have new established rigs (modules) integrated with YOUNiQ to test an exciting concept to implement heat and energy saving solutions in Kiruna. Due to the large number of people staying in our modules at varying periods this inevitably means that there are times during the day when no one is present in a room or living area. As heating and lighting is therefore not required our system automatically shuts these down, saving energy and cost. Then when a person arrives, the YOUNiQ solution both allows the authorised person to enter and prompts the system to automatically switch on heating and lighting.