By Daniel Wan, EMEA Customer Marketing Leader, Honeywell Security
Businesses today face more sophisticated threats than ever before
And although cybersecurity is top of the media agenda, physical security still has an important role to play when tackling this changing landscape of challenges. Striking the right balance is key, which is why businesses of all sizes and industries are currently reassessing how they should best spend their money to protect their people, buildings and assets.
A priority, and therefore fairly mainstream security tactic for most businesses is manned guarding. But businesses are always looking for security solutions that can augment their current arrangements and improve overall effectiveness.
As security solutions evolve, a new option for consideration is electronic guarding (e-guarding). With an e-guarding system, security staff have access to more site and system information than ever before, meaning more options for response.
These systems can provide comprehensive, always-on detection that ensures there is permanently an immediate and effective reaction, while also limiting risk to security staff.
Demand for e-guarding systems is growing. From retail to offices, warehouses to critical infrastructure, security teams across many sectors are ready to reap the benefits of a connected, smarter guarding solution.
Building a better e-guard
It’s essential to consider the needs of the site when installing an effective e-guarding system. For most installations, an e-guarding solution will include reliable perimeter detection, immediate remote visual verification, effective remote response, and tools to provide situational awareness.
These elements can be distilled into three key areas of proactive remote monitoring: detection, verification, and remote response – which are made possible by an NVR+ platform, for example, the ADPRO FastTrace 2E & iFT Series.
Such platforms allow for video recording, bi-directional audio for deterrence, transmission over any network, and remotely downloadable video content analytics (VCA) for proactive threat detection. These permit a facility to verify and assess any possible threats through video and visual verification and deploy the appropriate response.
The security system can provide building management functionality by integrating third-party systems such as lifts, HVAC and access control
Let’s begin with detection. With an e-guarding solution, the security system can provide building management functionality by integrating third-party systems such as lifts, HVAC, and access control.
This provides one seamless command and control platform for security staff to reference and respond to alerts, without a costly investment in a whole new system from one manufacturer.
Manned guard patrols are vulnerable to guard fatigue, missed threats and incidents because of numerous factors. These include: they can’t be everywhere at one time, long response times as they search for the threat, and risk of personal injury or death as a lone worker or during an intervention.
An e-guarding solution can be invaluable for augmenting or even replacing existing manned guard patrols to address these vulnerabilities and deliver proactive threat prevention of a campus or facility.
With the addition of video content analytics for proactive threat detection, security staff receive an alarm and can visually verify the threat to ensure they understand the context of the alert fully.
For example, if there is an intrusion at the perimeter, an alarm is triggered and transmitted to the command and control software via the NVR+ platform sending live and recorded video and audio to be reviewed and analysed by an operator or guard.
They can then enact the appropriate response – ranging from bi-directional audio to deter the intruder, turning on additional lights to illuminate the scene, deploying a roaming guard patrol, or deploying first responders.
They can also continue to monitor and listen in on the incident until it has been resolved.
At the same time, it is also transmitted to the security guards that have an app installed on their phone, which allows them to see what the command and control centre is seeing from anywhere. They can determine where the intruder has come from, how many intruders are present, along with any other dangers that they should be aware of.
They can also use bi-directional audio from the app on their phone to alert the intruder that they are being watched or notify someone that help is on the way.
Another example of proactive detection that can be deployed with an e-guarding solution is presence awareness technology that detects unauthorized loitering in a specific zone of indoor and outdoor applications, even if they remain static for a long period of time. If a guard approaches a person that has been loitering somewhere they aren’t supposed to be, they may change their behaviour or move to another location temporarily until the guard has passed.
But the presence awareness technology can provide the guard with a full picture of the suspect’s behaviour and whereabouts for a defined period, and then alert the guard and command and control to potential threats.
Virtual guard tours are ideal for sites where organising 24/7 guard patrols may not be viable.
E-guarding can also support manned guarding through virtual guard tours. These are ideal for sites where organising 24/7 guard patrols may not be viable.
On a university campus, for example, manned guards are needed for the busiest times of day, but maybe unnecessary during quieter times of the day. For situations like these, an e-guarding solution can conduct virtual guard patrols providing live and recorded video and audio to ensure the property is secure and nothing is amiss on the campus.
The second priority is verification. Traditionally, businesses rely on their guards to call in a disturbance to central command or first responders.
But this increases the opportunity for human error or a delay in response times, which can be make-or-break in an emergency scenario. In the worst case, guards could be left with a dead phone, no coverage, or in an altercation with the intruder, making it even harder to call in an alert.
But an e-guarding solution can prevent this from happening. It can transmit alarm events with live and recorded video and audio directly to the CMS operator to visually verify the threat to aid in determining the appropriate response. Remote visual verification eliminates unnecessary intervention and reduces false alarms.
The third element is the remote response. Where e-guarding solutions really excel is by providing a multi-faceted remote response that can also act as an effective prevention measure.
A guard force has limited options when responding to an alert, many of which carry a risk of personal injury. But with an e-guarding solution, the response can be initiated remotely, improving response times and ensuring there is no risk to guards from face-to-face interaction.
E-guarding solutions can also be integrated with other systems, such as building management commands and two-way audio, to support deterrence measures.
E-guarding in action
These are the principles of building a successful e-guarding solution. But what would this really look like in practice?
Netwatch, a business specialising in remote CCTV security camera monitoring, has implemented the ADPRO eGuard solution to protect a number of different clients across multiple sectors.
Businesses in the automotive sector have also seen the advantages that eGuard has to offer. One example is Windsor Motors, one of Ireland’s leading dealer groups.
Before the implementation of the eGuard solution, there was an increasing concern for the safety of valuable stock at the dealership. The company would incur heavy losses if there is a break-in and vehicles are to be stolen.
As part of the implemented solution, any intruders are issued a live personalised audio warning. This serves as a deterrent for any criminal activity occurring on the premises.
A further benefit of the technology is that it is both more cost-effective and reliable than solely having security guards. As such, 14 of Windsor Motor’s main dealerships have now been fitted with ADPRO eGuard.
A compelling solution
The benefits of e-guarding can be a real asset to manned guard operations. But they can also act as an effective security solution for businesses where it is not feasible to employ a full security team.
Through proactive and reliable detection, remote verification and deterrence especially, e-guarding offers a persuasive platform for small businesses to manage and enhance their own security operations.
Whatever the size of the business, the demand for connected, smarter building management will continue to grow. Solutions like e-guarding will have a prominent role to play in ensuring the safety of all kinds of businesses in the coming years.