If your enterprise, or office, is still using a thumbed, hardcopy logbook, or a dusty, aging clipboard for cataloging the coming and going of visitors, you might want to consider an upgrade.
San Francisco-based Envoy reckons it’s got the answer, and at first glance it sure is elegant.
A svelte, stand-installed iPad acts as the sign-in register. Apps, web-dashboards, and a printer then automate receptionist functions.
The real killer feature is that hosts get advised, through notifications, when guests have signed in on the iPad. That notification can be sent via SMS, email or a team communication system like Slack.
One advantage of this intervention, obviously, is that the receptionist can continue doing his or her nails with minimum interruption—they don’t need to hunt down the host.
Plus, the reception desk phone can be kept available for important after-work partying arrangements that need to be made with other receptionists. The phone doesn’t get tied up with irrelevant drivel about guests sitting in the lobby.
Additionally, hosts can pre-register their guests and can send them an informative email in advance of the meeting. That email can include maps, floor numbers, and Wi-Fi passcodes, among other things.
Unfortunately, your receptionist won't be obsolete just yet. You still need him or her if you want to make custom full-color badges with an added printer. Someone has to load the paper roll and so on.
Plus, you need someone to enforce the badge-wearing, and it’s probably a good idea to have someone there, anyway, to stop the iPad from getting stolen by the guest on the way out.
The badges, though, are a nice brand-reinforcing touch and can be designed with a corporate logo, or even in colors to match the lobby architecture, for the obsessive.
Probably one of the most important elements, and one of the main reason to have a log of guests, is evacuation in case of emergency. Envoy hasn’t forgotten this in its slick pandering, and the Envoy dashboard does include a list of people to account for.
Just make sure you've got Internet access or have grabbed the iPad when you’re rushing out of the building.
Envoy is nothing if not feature-packed.
Features include NDAs for presentation to visitors and automatic emailing of that NDA to the visitor when signing in; central management for multiple office locations; real-time dashboard; self-sign out, where the visitor can search for themselves as they leave the building (the receptionist might, surprisingly, be in the bathroom); security desk interface; and signing in with a finger, so pens can’t get stolen.
I see this pen-replacement idea as having limited merit, because who would steal a pen when they can walk out with an iPad?
Centralized billing rounds out the list. Which brings me on to the pricing.
Pricing starts at a hefty $99-a-month annually, or $119 monthly, for cash-poor companies. That covers the basics, including printing badges for unlimited visitors, but does not include the required iPad, stand, or optional printer.
Pricing then escalates to $249-a-month paid annually for custom badges, and then up to $499-a-month, which, you’ll be pleased to hear, includes the hardware.
I’d also drop in at Home Depot and buy a pot of glue. So add five bucks to those numbers.
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