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Give us the tools

Tom Ward, a security expert at Anabas, introduces the new and emerging technologies set to transform manned security services

Technology in security is on the rise, and there are numerous emerging technologies and tools to support the role. New developments are undoubtedly improving processes and performance; however, it doesn’t have to be a choice between man and machine. It’s more about enhancing the services being delivered than replacing manned security guards and teams.

Automated systems cannot match the knowledge, intuition and all-important human contact that is integral to the role of a security guard. They can however, improve visibility, reduce human error, save time and deliver many more benefits.

A good system to manage the workforce is imperative. Many of the new systems now available are web-based and there are a number of dedicated apps designed for this purpose. While FM has CAFM, security has a workforce management system. These systems can be used to manage schedules and uniform requirements, provide a quick and easy way for guards to book on and off, and enable officers to send and receive important messages from anywhere, allowing them to be mobile and not tied to a desk.

In addition, they can be used to make welfare checks or calls, which is especially vital for single-crewed locations. Guards can also set their own reminders to check in, eliminating the need for someone to check in on them. Intelligent geo-fencing around a building can also provide proof of presence within a certain distance.

While the purpose of security is to protect assets, people and brands, the welfare of the security staff themselves is paramount. Because of this, proof of presence apps are on the rise and new technology can read radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and work using smartphones and tablets. They have the ability to log presence and can be fully bespoke and programmable to suit individual oganisations’ requirements. These paperless systems can be used to provide the necessary welfare checks, providing peace of mind and saving time while reducing waste.

Not only can these types of systems be used to help manage staff, they can also empower teams by giving them control.

Security management tools which can be accessed across the web and mobile devices will help support increases in productivity and in the volume of reporting when compared to paper and web-only solutions. In addition, they can help to save time, eliminate human error and provide traceability, as all information and incidents are logged in the cloud rather than written by hand. This can also improve safety and provide a reliable trail of information for auditing purposes. Finally, these tools can help the control room to perform better and improve overall communication.

Utilising these apps increases mobile capability and can be used to enhance incident reporting, allowing your security team to upload supporting images and real-time comments. For example, a broken window or leak can be logged, reported online and a message sent to the helpdesk for quicker resolution. These capabilities can also be used to log any suspicious activity and allows the guard to photograph and circulate an image of any questionable individuals, raising an immediate alert to control the problem.

Another area where technology can support security management is the use of electronic key presses in security control rooms. Manned guards are responsible for multiple sets of keys during a shift, and managing keys can be a slow and laborious task as each key must be logged out and put away before and after every use. The introduction of automated systems can reduce human error and save significant time, strengthening your security service and streamlining daily operations.

Paper-based duty occurrence books (DOBs) are used daily in control rooms to log time and critical steps, detail movements and provide a running log of all activity. Cloud-based electronic DOB software offers an alternative solution that can be used across PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Once again, this technology offers real-time information reporting, improves communications with the control room and delivers full traceability. It can be used to escalate incidents and eliminate human error. DOB systems can be used by multiple users, providing numerous benefits and a continuous feed of information. All entries are logged by date and cannot be altered or removed, ensuring peace of mind.

The systems outlined above are already spreading across the industry; however, there are a few still emerging which are worth watching. These include facial recognition at barriers, auto number plate recognition (ANPR), security bots and drones. Virtual security is also on the rise, and remote response via technology is set to increase.

It goes without saying that technology should be embedded in all businesses. It can significantly enhance service delivery, allowing security to focus on their core tasks rather than tick boxes. But while it comes with many benefits, nothing will ever replace real human interaction or service with a smile – so vital to a positive customer experience.

About Sarah OBeirne


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