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In One Lower Manhattan Office Building, Phones Are Replacing Badges

Posted October 25, 2018 By Andrew Littlefield

The lobby of 101 Greenwich Street in Lower Manhattan buzzes during the morning rush, as doormen greet a steady stream of workers badging into their elevators to start the day. It’s a mundane interaction, but for an increasing number of workers, smart phones are replacing the once ubiquitous badge cards carried by workers in class A office buildings.

It’s all thanks to new technology being developed by the product team at Convene. Employees at Convene are now using the company’s app as a replacement for badge cards, using their mobile devices to enter through building security, elevators, office suites, and more.

In its own small way, this technology is making buildings more secure while making life easier for tenants at the same time.

“The focus here is ease of use—it’s one less piece of the morning puzzle,” says Gray Blue, Director of Product Strategy and Tech Partnerships at Convene. “Chances are your phone is already in your hands in the morning. By switching to your phone from a swipe card, it’s one less step for the morning routine.”


Convene app mobile access

Convene employee Rachel Rappaport using the Convene app to enter building security


There’s an added benefit of beefing up security for the building as well. Badge cards are easily lost, while phones are typically more closely guarded by their owners.

It’s not the only way that smart phones are beginning to replace items in our wallets. Mobile payment technology like Apple Pay has exploded in the past 12-18 months. Nearly a third of iPhone users have made a purchase with Apple Pay in the last year, and analysts expect 200% growth of the feature across the next 12 months.

Mobile phones may soon even replace MTA cards for New York commuters. The MTA has been testing bar code scanners on entry turnstiles that can read codes from a phone. A new “state-of-the-art” fare payment system is a prominent feature of the agency’s Fast Forward plan for revitalizing NYC’s public transit infrastructure, which will include “tap-and-go” systems.


MTA mobile fare

A subway turnstile at the Wall Street 4/5 station with the barcode scanners, currently being tested by the MTA.


“It’s clear that technology providers see the mobile device as slowly replacing multiple existing technologies,” says Blue. “From booking a reservation, to ordering delivery, to finding a ride, to the MTA’s plan for device-based subway access, the mobile device and new business models that have sprung forth from the rapid adoption of mobile technologies provides no shortage of opportunities for exploration.”

“Convene’s technology is designed to reduce the annoying parts of the office environment. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves, creating the opportunity for a personalized experience based on location and activity,” says Billy Fink, Director of Product Marketing at Convene. “We have seen this in countless other industries, and now it’s coming to the office. Instead of fumbling with outdated tech, keycards, and inefficient workflows, employees can focus on real interactions.”


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