“The Socie App is now an indispensable link and strengthens our open housing community.”
Fenix 1 is an award-winning residential complex in the Katendrecht district of Rotterdam. The old monumental transshipment warehouse opposite Hotel New York was redeveloped and redesigned with particular style. There is an open community of residents, restaurants, offices and even an indoor circus school.
Ap van der Pijl, involved in the repositioning of the residential area, resident and one of the Socie App administrators introduced the App in the residential complex with 212 homes in 2019. The App is used about 15,000 times monthly and is a defining medium for connection, helping each other, inspiration, safety, fun and, of course, is also used for sharing important information.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Ap van der Pijl, resident of this particular apartment complex in Rotterdam and active in the communications industry. I am also one of the Socie App administrators.
Can you tell a bit more about the community?
The Community consists of 212 Appartments. I dare say that almost everyone knows each other and greets each other in the lift or in the courtyard. It is a special open community here where people take care of each other. Besides residents, we have a large architects’ office, catering facilities, an indoor circus school and an adjacent theatre. Pretty much everyone is in the app, the residents, the cultural institutions and the hospitality industry.
How long have you been using the App?
We have been using the App for 3 years now.
Why did you decide to deploy an App?
I strongly believe in maintaining good contacts in your immediate surroundings. That you can fall back on each other and help each other. Good contact with your immediate surroundings is very important, especially in a big city. And it also suits this building. Everything is open, everything is connected.
I have been involved in repositioning the building and co-manage the community. There was a Facebook page but people drop out on that. A lot of advertising, concerns about privacy and sometimes cluttered. Besides, we didn’t reach everyone. I then started a project to replace Facebook with more control, privacy and no advertising. After a few solutions, Socie turned out to be the best choice. I have since recommended the App to 3 other parties and they too have started using it.
Who manages the App?
We have an admin club of 4 people. I am the most active, but sharing the management is nice. We have meetings every two months.
How do you put members and groups in the App?
We put a bill in everyone’s mailbox at the beginning. That way, everyone was in the App in no time. Now, at the entrance where only residents can enter, there is a QR code that allows new residents to make a membership request.
How do you deploy the App?
The most commonly used module we deploy is the “Share Your Moments” module in which residents share and respond to a variety of issues. We activated this module several times in the App and gave it different functions.
One such feature is Phoenix Life. This one is widely used. Here photos are shared of ships passing by or fireworks, as well as parking spaces rented, rental help requested or people annoyed by a car in the garage. Look here someone just offered a printer for free pickup.
The Parcels and lost and found is the most used module by the way. Anything about packages or items found in and around the building are listed here.
The Building and Failures module is also nice. A defect must be reported to the VVE administrator. But if you have reported it to the vve administrator put that in the App. Then the VVE won’t get dozens of reports and they can fix it.
In addition, we really share all kinds of documents with residents. Documents around doors, keys, how does the intercom work, parking etc.
By the way, we have now also created a temporary interactive “energy conservation” group, where people advise each other, give tips and more.
Then we have Phoenix businesses and institutions. There, for example, the bookstore shares when an author comes to sign, or the theater when last minute seats are still available. The other day, the hotel here on the corner baked waffles and invited our residents to come and have one. For example, the Hospitality Industry here also reports parties and where to go if you experience a nuisance.
And then we also have the courtyard committee, the calendar and photo albums. By the way, I have to show you this one. Here we have the photo album Fenix dogs where everyone posted a photo of their dog. Phoenix cats followed not much later.
We also have links to the VVE administrator, sometimes put in the poll and organize get-togethers, sports together and winter evening sessions. Then we are going to have residents on an evening telling about themselves so that contacts become more valuable. It creates depth, more intense conversations, inspiration. We really get to know each other through the App and activities.
We also do use the push notifications, but only in emergencies such as a burst water pipe. That works best. So we only send notifications to everyone 2 or 3 times a year.
How do you like the App?
It works like a charm and cannot be missed. It is strengthening the community. Easy and can be used by any resident, from young to old. Whatsapp is too busy. Instagram has another feature. Facebook has ads and is also so busy. We are really heartened by this.
What is the App called?
The App is simply called the “The Socie App.”
Will the App be used by the entire association or only by a specific group?
Yes by 95% of people. You always have people who don’t want to participate. We respect that.
What are you doing to keep the App relevant among members?
It is, of course, a fairly well-organized community. As a resident or participant, you actually have something to gain from it. If you don’t join you are missing something and getting in is easy. The nature of the people also does matter. People here consciously live in a dynamic environment but in a kind of protected community that is very versatile. Young versus old, subdued versus artistic and, of course, in all possible forms of relationships and international influences -> we are an open culture. We meet.
That is also the Nature of the building, the nature of the area. We have support from each other and that is the success factor.
What has the app given you? Or what does the App provide you with?
A more engaged community. More connection. Support. Synergy. We really are a community. We share, care for and keep each other safe.
Would you recommend the app to other organizations?
Sure. For buildings like ours certainly. With an open character. For schools communities, for example, and foundations, I can also well imagine. It is the perfect replacement for the newsletter and an intranet. The most ideal tool for reaching out to each other. Fast, easy, secure and no fuss. You meet online, it’s really recommended.
Ap van der Pijl
Resident and Socie App administrator
Fenix 1 – Rotterdam