Envoy offers an innovative approach to access control, although it could be more well rounded.
Mostly transparent pricing
Available free tier
Integrated temperature checks
Export visitor logs
Limited support hours
No phone or email support
Security function is in beta
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Envoy indicates that it is “On a mission to create the office of the future,” through the use of automation so you can work smarter. It is a US based company, with offices in San Francisco, and Kansas City. It counts among its customers a number of notable firms, including the Salvation Army, Mazda, Pinterest and Hulu.
- Want to try Envoy? Check out the website here
Envoy organizes their functions into a series of three modules, that are dubbed Visitors, Deliveries, and Rooms.
The first module, Visitors, focuses on controlling access to the office. Rather than waiting for folks to be at the doorstep of the office, controlling access starts with the invitation for a visitor, with the goal of identifying security risks prior to their arrival via lists of blocked visitors. Those that want to visit can be contacted in advance, for security questions for a pre-visit assessment, or to have them sign a legal document such as an NDA. Visitors can also be requested to provide their photo ID prior to arrival.
Rooms is a conference room booking tool, for more efficient sharing of space between employees. Via Envoy Rooms, your employees can locate a room for a meeting, and data on room usage can also be analyzed. Nearby room availability can even be suggested via Envoy Mobile.
Envoy Deliveries can create a more efficient virtual mailroom. Gone are the days of packages and envelopes piling up in the mailroom, awaiting sorting, and delivery internally. Rather, this gets replaced with a system to track packages upon arrival to the facility, and then notify the recipients to pick up their packages at their convenience. Envoy does the heavy lifting, by sending out helpful notifications and reminders to get packages to their intended recipients. This approach to delivery management can eliminate much of the manual work for mail delivery.
A fourth module, Protect, is in beta, and focuses on keeping employees safe and healthy.
The hardware required to run Envoy is fairly commonplace, although it is Apple based. For Visitors, this runs off an iPad that runs iOS 10+, and for Rooms, the requirement is for an iPad that runs iOS 12+. For Deliveries, the only requirement is an iPhone to scan the incoming deliveries. It is recommended to have the iPad on a stand for visitors, and a badge printer can be used to print visitor passes.
There is no support for Windows nor Android.
The support for Envoy is rather limiting. Heading over to the Envoy Help Center did not reveal much in the way of options.
There was a search option, which was a way to look for predone topics on a FAQ. The info is grouped by category, such as “Devices and accessories,” “Getting Started with Envoy,” and “Visitor Management,” among others.
The alternate option is to “Start a conversation” with the chat function on the right side of the screen. Unfortunately, it was not available in the evening hours, and furthermore the hours of operation were not forthcoming other than the generic statement that “We’ll be back online later today.”
There was no direct phone number, nor email address for more direct contact. We consider that a considerable shortcoming, as this makes it difficult to obtain specific help in situations that the predone FAQ does not cover the issue.
In a product segment that too often has opaque pricing, we think it’s great that Envoy posts most of their pricing on its website, and is far more transparent than most of the competition. This makes it a lot simpler to get an idea of what the tiers are, and discounts available, prior to dealing with salespeople.
At the lowest tier, there is actually a free tier, although it is limited. It can only support a single location, and up to 50 employees, but it can still set rules for denying an entry, and create health questionnaires so it does have some decent functionality.
Moving up a tier is the Standard one, which has a cost of $119 (£91) per month for each location, with a discount that drops it to $99 (£76) per month per location when paid annually. This plan is more robust, as it can support up to 5 locations, with up to 50 employees at each location. It not only offers the functions of the lower tier, but also supports having visitors to sign legal documents.
Designated as the most popular plan is the Premium Plan. This has a cost of $359 (£275) per location monthly, which gets discounted to $299 (£229) monthly for each location when paid annually. This plan is more flexible as it can support both an unlimited number of locations, and an unlimited number of employees as well. It has additional functions, which include managing workplace capacity, performing contact tracing, and customizing sign-in flow by the type of visitor.
At the top of the tiers is the Enterprise plan, designed to meet the more complex needs of larger facilities with issues of security along with compliance. Unlike the lower three plans, at this level, company contact is a requirement for a custom quote. It includes all the features of the lower plans, and adds in such advanced functions as integrated temperature checks, creation of internal blocklists, and the ability to scan ID’s and record ID checks.
Envoy provides an Apple-centric offering to access control, and we appreciate the mostly transparent pricing, the free, albeit limited tier, and the novel approach to mailroom delivery management. Shortcomings include the security module, Protect, remains in beta, the lack of pricing on the top tier plan, and the limited support options. Overall, for a smaller business, Envoy makes a compelling case for itself.
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Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.