02 05 2016 - Technological shift in the security industry brings opportunities.
Recently investment manager Mikhail Zvervev with Standard Life Investment, argued in an article published in the Hongkong Economic Journal cited in DI.se, that the security industry and their clients will benefit from technological change. It will bring opportunities leading to increased productivity with higher margins for suppliers as well as bringing price levels down for clients.
What are these opportunities and what do they look like?
Mr Zvervev mentions the application of sensors, more HD-cameras, improved safety and security communications and centralised command and control as forces driving efficiency. Electronic devices in combination with improved coordination of security staff “can create a real win-win situation”. Below are two cases exemplifying the technological shift Mr Zvervev is talking about.
Improved safety and security communications
As an example of how improved safety and security communications can increase productivity, let´s consider a shopping Mall.
During opening hours, every minute “has a price tag” to shop owners as well as Mall operators. Finding a suspicious bag might lead to a situation where the Mall has to be evacuated.
During opening hours this becomes a public safety issue and a brand issue; “is the Mall safe to visit?”, and a revenue issue; “we are losing business during close down”. As a result, in these environments resuming normal operations as fast as possible becomes key.
The process of getting visitors out, clearing the scene and letting visitors in again depends to a large extent on effective safety and security communications.
A process, which in order to be efficient, involves the sharing of information between a number of different people ranging from shop assistants to security staff and police. All involved in the safety welfare of the Mall. Traditionally this is done supported by a mix of radio, telephony and SMS.
Now new safety and security communications software, leveraging the principles of social media is emerging. The software improves communications, speeding up the collection and dissemination of information. It shortens the time it takes to build the situational awareness required to make a decision about re-opening.
The number one priority in these cases are to make sure people are safe and secure. Moving on looking at the effects on revenue, we can put some numbers on reducing the time between evacuating and resuming normal operations:
– To a Mall in the Nordics region, the value of an hour of lost shopping, or from the other perspective an hour of reduced down time, could on a yearly average amount to as much as between € 50 000 and € 70 000 per hour.
Centralised and mobilized command and control
In the security industry the creation of situational awareness (the ability to understand and assess a situation, the required actions and the consequences thereof) is key in many situations. It depends to a large extent on the ability to collect and to share information in a given situation. But this can be expensive.
The emergence of competent and cost efficient network and handset technologies enables game changing communication and collaboration that is starting to transform most industries today by improving the ability to collect and to share information.
For the security industry and their customers the transformation is about catching the communication and collaboration opportunity brought by the widespread deployment of mobile and wifi networks, smartphones and cloud technologies.
Because it will revolutionize their ability to collect information and to create and share situational awareness in real time at the same time as the cost to do so is falling.
In any given critical environment today, e.g. a Mall, Hospital or Airport, the number of people (employees and visitors) with a smartphone potentially being able to report for example the suspicious bag to central command and control, is huge. Enabling all these people to potentially do so can be achieved in a very cost effective manner with the help of a secure smartphone app.
Sharing situational awareness in real time
The same app, if role based, can be used by Command and Control to move the information in an efficient and timely manner to the right people at the right time making efficient use of resources as well as bringing response time down.
And Command and Control that used to be confined only to a fixed location can be brought out to a tablet in the field at a fraction of the cost compared with old legacy systems.