Articles by Darren Chalmers-Stevens
There’s only so much a corporation can do to counteract the threat of a major incident. You can ask everyone to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious, but you cannot stop someone intent on deliberately starting a fire, threatening a work colleague with a knife or something much worse. And of course, most businesses recognise that even routine events – such as burst pipes, IT system failures, extreme weather event or power outages – can have significant consequences unless they are quickly brought under control. Training security officers Governments and organisations across the world are increasingly encouraging businesses to re-assess risks and to plan for and conduct drills for major emergencies. This is driving different agencies and companies to invest in new skills, resources and systems, and encouraging businesses to routinely re-evaluate their emergency response strategies. UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents For example: UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents, as part of the UK government’s Action Counter Terrorism programme. And organisations including the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) and Higher Education Business Continuity Network (HEBCoN) are developing customised training for their members to improve their own response and business continuity plans. Mass notifications systems Whether an organisation is facing a terrorist attack or a severe weather event, follow up reports consistently identify that the same types of challenges are common to all crisis situations, with similar errors often occurring again and again. Typically, these are centred on three key areas: poor communications, fractured command and control structures, and delayed deployment of resources. Communications skills and technologies clearly play a pivotal role in how effective an organisation is in responding to major incidents, particularly when it comes to assessing the situation and its implications, moving people towards safety and providing updates as an incident unfolds. However, when an organisation is considering its technology options, emergency response and mass notification systems (MNS) are often touted as the ideal platform to deliver all the required critical communications and ongoing updates. UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents Emergency notification system All the incident reporting, command and control, and communications functions have been brought together on a single platform But, if an organisation does not know exactly where all its staff or students are, and it cannot see the location and availability of its first responders and other emergency coordinators relative to them and the incident, then how useful is it to send a top-down alert to everyone? And what about fast moving or multi-centre incidents, where previously agreed evacuation procedures, recommended actions or mustering points may need to change if an incident takes an unexpected turn? Many organisations may have been lulled into believing that an emergency notification system will allow them to confidently handle all the communications aspects of virtually any crisis. In reality, too many businesses are still unaware that there are now much more sophisticated and proven technologies where all the incident reporting, command and control, and communications functions have been brought together on a single platform. Using live map tracking The benefit of using these advanced and more integrated approaches – often categorised as mobile distributed command and control systems – is that they enable faster and better decision making in a crisis using real-time feedback and two-way dialogue with those closest to the emergency. And they avoid the risks of any potential delays, miscommunications or mistakes that can happen when an organisation is under pressure to respond and often switching between multiple systems. Leading universities and multi-national corporations are already using new mobile/web-enabled platforms to improve their incident response These next generation emergency management platforms have been specifically designed to enable real-time mapping of an organisation’s security assets and its users on a single screen and to fully integrate it with a highly targeted geo-fenced notification capability. The mass notification aspect of the system can then be used to advise specific groups on the best actions to take at their location as an incident develops. The use of live map tracking enables real time mapping of an organisation's security assets Segmented messaging Many leading universities and multi-national corporations are already using these new mobile/web-enabled platforms to plan, manage and improve their incident response, leading to 50% faster reactions and more positive outcomes.During a crisis, users can receive push notifications so the security centre can immediately see their exact location and advise them accordingly The systems have been widely adopted within the higher-education sector, but they are equally applicable to any large company with multiple international sites or those situated in research or corporate campuses where the bulk of assets and people are based in one or more key locations. Typically, systems provide users with a smartphone app that they can use to call for immediate emergency or first aid support when at work, or to report something suspicious which could prevent an apparently minor incident from escalating into a full-scale emergency. During a crisis, users can receive push notifications, SMS and E-mails asking them to open the app if they are not already logged in, so the security centre can immediately see their exact location and advise them accordingly. Supporting dispersed mustering Now that communications can be more nimble, responsive and flexible this can support the increasing numbers of planners are recognising the advantages of dispersed mustering. This is a strategy that has been developed to reduce the risk of secondary attacks on unprotected people complying with instructions to evacuate from premises and gather in what are, effectively, exposed locations. It is now acknowledged that evacuees waiting outside for any length of time are more vulnerable to targeted attacks or to injury, from flying glass for example. With dispersed mustering – a strategy made more effective by these new mobile distributed command and control systems - a building’s occupants can be advised not to go outside, but to move to known safe internal locations. People in each specific area can then be kept regularly updated. Many corporations are now using new mobile/web-enabled platforms to improve their incident response Coordination between response agencies The software platforms can be integrated with an organisation’s fixed security infrastructure to take real-time sharing of information First responders are permanently logged in, so the emergency operations centre can see their exact locations in real-time and can advise what actions to take in mustering people or in setting up and protecting security cordons. Bringing everything together on one platform, with real-time feedback and in a fully integrated system also removes what is often seen as the weakest communication link in managing any major incident: the need to rely on conventional two-way radio as the sole means of communication between the command and control centre and its first responders and other team members on the ground. The software platforms can be integrated with an organisation’s fixed security infrastructure to take real-time sharing of information to a new level for improved collaboration, coordination and communications between users, the incident management team and external agencies. Improving emergency response strategies One of the most powerful features of some of these new systems is the ability to record and view all alerts, responses and the detailed conversations between first responders, emergency coordinators and other parties. This allows the systems to be used to simulate major incidents involving inputs from the emergency services and other key agencies and to ensure the organisation’s crisis management plans have been fully tested against a range of possible incident scenarios.
Trinity College Dublin is enhancing safety and support for staff and students by implementing SafeZone technology from CriticalArc. SafeZone technology Through this implementation, the university aims to deliver more rapid response to calls for assistance across all campus facilities, and to better assist students and staff working remotely, including those on placement overseas. When individuals call for assistance, in a wide range of situations, including those working alone out of hours, those with particular vulnerabilities and those with medical emergencies, the technology will enable responders to pin-point their precise location. Access with SafeZone mobile app Students and staff can check-in and use the service with the SafeZone mobile app Students and staff can check-in and use the service with the SafeZone mobile app, which puts them in immediate contact with the university’s support infrastructure. The technology will also make it easy for the responders to optimise response and to provide appropriate intervention in the event of an emergency. “During this challenging time for our students and staff, Trinity College Dublin is doing everything it can to ensure both the physical and mental well-being of everyone in our community. We are delighted to be introducing this advanced technology, as part of our support actions,” stated Trinity’s Head of Safety, Dr. Katharine Murray. Students and staff safety “It’s more important than ever for universities to keep in touch with their students and staff, to fulfill their duty of care and ensure that those who need help of any kind get the quickest possible response,” said Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Managing Director of CriticalArc. Darren adds, “We’re pleased to help Trinity College Dublin with a rapid implementation of SafeZone to help ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff.”
Aston University, Birmingham, is transforming security and safety with the introduction of SafeZone for students and staff on campus and those travelling globally. The SafeZone solution, from CriticalArc, will put users directly in touch with the university’s security control room using their mobile phone, enabling them to request help, trigger an emergency response, receive rapid notifications in the event of emergencies and benefit from a wide range of customer-care services. SafeZone was selected following a detailed comparison of alternative systems, says Mark Sutton, Head of Security and Emergency Planning at Aston University. Resource management capabilities “While some alternatives offered individual features that were attractive, none of them combined all the functions and benefits in the way that SafeZone does,” he says. What we are investing in is a comprehensive solution that allows our security team to engage much more closely with students and staff" “What we are investing in is a comprehensive solution that allows our security team to engage much more closely with students and staff, and to work in a more integrated way with the university’s various departments and within its senior management structure. It also gives us important additional functions including lone worker protection and resource management capabilities.” The technology works by letting Aston’s control room operators pin-point the locations of individuals who elect to check-in using a simple app on their smart phones, including staff, students, service users and members of the security team. Reporting suspicious activity This app makes it easy for students, staff and school’s using the system to communicate directly with security responders, calling for help, asking for advice, reporting suspicious activity etc. And in return security teams can send out alerts and safety instructions to groups or individuals, in specific locations, as individuals or by specified user type. Notifications can range from helpful advice to alerts regarding specific threats. Officers responsible for emergency response management can also monitor activity patterns of those who choose to check-in, seeing where people are gathering during an incident for example. And they can co-ordinate resources, keeping track of where known first aiders are, or seeing exactly how team members are deployed, minute by minute. Significant placements programme The benefits of SafeZone bring together features found in an assortment of systems – including lone-worker protection - making them available in a unified, scalable package. There are also new options for users to collaborate with the growing global network of SafeZone system operators. At Aston University stakeholders such as the students’ union, staff and department heads have been fully engaged in the roll-out of the new system At Aston University stakeholders such as the students’ union, staff and department heads have been fully engaged in the roll-out of the new system. “Safety is a big issue, particularly for city centre campuses,” says Mark Sutton. “Prospective students and parents want to know how well we look after our community, so we see SafeZone as an important new benefit.” Aston also has a growing international reputation and a significant placements programme, with students and staff travelling around the world to work. Safety monitoring With the ability to ‘geo-fence’ any location in the world that has a signal, the university’s security team will now extend the same level of customer care and safety monitoring to all users, whether they are on campus, in accommodation blocks or associated sites around the city, or working abroad, says Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Managing Director EMEA and APAC for CriticalArc. “We are delighted to be working with Aston University’s security and emergency response team to help them provide the best available monitoring and protection for all their people, in all situations and wherever they are. In addition, they are benefiting from a wide set of extra functions which would otherwise have to be purchased separately - including lone worker protection and health & safety compliance.” There are also important, emerging benefits which CriticalArc is developing alongside its community of users, confirmed Darren Chalmers-Stevens. “These were discussed during our recent two-day user group conference in February.”
Three leading Australian universities are introducing SafeZone technology from CriticalArc in a drive to improve safety, increase their security teams’ capabilities and provide better care for students and staff. With 30% of Australian universities now using SafeZone, this latest wave of roll-outs confirms CriticalArc’s position as the most comprehensive safety and security management solution provider in the Australian market. Adding to CriticalArc’s growing network of customers, the University of Tasmania (UTAS), the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) have more than 75,000 students and staff working in 33 campuses and associated facilities across four States, meaning that SafeZone now serves the needs of 1.5 million students and staff at more than 500 locations across the world. Ensuring best safety standards SafeZone is a key tool in enabling campus security to be more effective, more relevant and more approachable"“UTAS, USQ and USC each have their own unique character and particular priorities but ensuring the best standards of care for students and staff is top of the list for all of them,” says Robert Christie, CriticalArc’s Customer Success Manager, Asia Pacific. “Preventing crime, managing public safety and handling emergencies are still the top concerns of university security teams, yet SafeZone is also enabling those teams do much more to address issues that are increasingly important. "From improving support around mental well-being to tackling sexual harassment and making campuses inclusive environments where everyone can feel safe and welcome, security and response teams are playing a much bigger role than they traditionally did. SafeZone is a key tool in enabling campus security to be more effective, more relevant and more approachable.” Notifications in the event of emergencies SafeZone puts individuals directly in touch with response teams at universities, hospitals, government departments and similar large organisations, making it easy for them to use their mobile phones to request help, trigger an emergency response, receive rapid notifications in the event of emergencies and benefit from a wide range of customer-care services. With the ability to ‘geo-fence’ any location, each of the universities’ security teams can now monitor care and safety of users wherever they areThe technology also lets students and staff share their situation with response team members by checking-in when working alone outside hours or in higher-risk environments such as laboratories and workshops. With the ability to ‘geo-fence’ any location, each of the universities’ security teams can now monitor care and safety of users wherever they are – including those working out-of-hours on campus, those travelling between campuses locally or on field projects, or travelling overseas for study or research placements. Precise location of vulnerable individuals With its global reach combined with its ability to precisely locate vulnerable individuals, SafeZone is helping universities around the world to better meet their duty of care obligations, says Darren Chalmers-Stevens, CriticalArc, Managing Director. “SafeZone offers all the functions that university teams want, in one easy package. It is not only helping them to deliver better care, it is letting them demonstrate this fact in an accountable way.”
A two-year programme to transform security at Heriot-Watt University campuses around the world, facilitated by CriticalArc’s SafeZone technology, has been recognised with one of the UK’s top security industry awards. The innovative partnership between Heriot-Watt and CriticalArc has been named as ‘Security Project of the Year’ in the 2018 Security & Fire Excellence Awards run in association with IFSEC International and Firex International. The award, sponsored by the British Security Industry Association, is highly competitive and a major accolade for the winners. Improving service response Two years ago, Les Allan, Heriot-Watt’s Director of Safety and Security Services and his team at the university embarked on a strategy to transform all aspects of their operations. They wanted to modernise their service across five campuses, in the UK, Dubai, and Malaysia to provide much greater care for students and staff. A key factor in the team’s success has been the way it uses CriticalArc’s SafeZone technology across all five international campuses It was an ambitious undertaking, but it has already delivered impressive results, measurably improving service response times by over fifty percent, upgrading security department capabilities and skills and raising the job status and remuneration for officers involved. A key factor in the team’s success has been the way it uses CriticalArc’s SafeZone technology across all five international campuses, making Heriot-Watt the first university department to take this global approach. Real-time incident management SafeZone technology has transformed the way officers interact with students and staff wherever they are - on campus or and when travelling off-site – so they can provide assistance in case of emergencies or other incidents. Les Allan’s team has already responded to serious medical emergencies using the system and now they have the tools to manage a full range of live-incident risks. “SafeZone lets my team communicate quickly with individuals and groups,” explains Les Allan, Heriot-Watt, Director of Safety and Security Services. “Using it they can receive alerts and pinpoint the location of anyone needing assistance. They can deploy officers more quickly and keep track of ongoing situations as they develop. It’s really letting them do things they couldn’t have dreamed of before.” Better support for students & staff The Heriot-Watt team is also using new technology to support staff and students on campus while travelling and during fieldwork. They can ‘geo-fence’ additional areas as required. Between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018, a total of 5398 security incidents were attended at the Edinburgh Campus The result has been a significant improvement in engagement between the security department – now restyled as Safeguarding Services – students and staff. Between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018, a total of 5398 security incidents were attended at the Edinburgh Campus (the first to adopt SafeZone); 3542 of these incidents (66%) involved assisting or interacting with students (rising from 33% in 2013). Efficient, responsive and capable services The results have been impressive but Les Allan, who is currently also serving as Chair of the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) in Scotland, says his ambition is to go much further. “We are delighted at our incredible success at the Security and Fire Excellence Awards as winners of the Security Project of the Year category. This joint award for Heriot-Watt University and our friends at CritcalArc is a testimony to the power of working in partnership for mutual benefit and delivery of excellence with a world-leading solution. We are committed to continuing development and enhancement of our partnership with CriticalArc.” Darren Chalmers-Stevens, CriticalArc, Managing Director, EMEA and APAC, noted: “I’m delighted that the forward-looking partnership between Heriot-Watt University and CriticalArc has been so clearly successful. This major award is further proof of how we work closely with all our customers and are leading the way in providing better protection and enabling more efficient, responsive and capable services.”
CriticalArc has announced that it has been appointed by FCC Group (FCC) – a global provider of environmental services, water management and infrastructure works, headquartered in Spain – to help develop and implement SafeZone as a multinational safeguarding solution for all its employees and any accompanying family members while they are working overseas on company projects. CriticalArc’s pioneering SafeZone personal protection and emergency response system is already being used by FCC as part of their initial deployment phase in three very different security challenges: for the FAST consortium to design and build the Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia, for all FCC projects in Egypt, and on a gas pipeline construction project in North Mexico. Based on these experiences FCC then plans to integrate SafeZone more widely and to start rolling out the approach from mid-2018 to cover all its international operations in over 35 countries. It gives FCC a reliable method for instant mass communication, for example, to broadcast regional alerts, weather warnings or travel updates" High level of emergency support “FCC believes that SafeZone is the ideal tool to help us provide an even higher level of emergency support and assistance to all employees and their families across all our international operations. The tool will give everyone peace of mind when they are travelling between different work locations or exploring the country in their free time, plus it gives FCC a reliable method for instant mass communication, for example, to broadcast regional alerts, weather warnings or travel updates. “CriticalArc’s ongoing commitment and flexibility in helping customise and deploy SafeZone to meet our specific requirements has been outstanding. FCC is an increasingly global and diversified business with complex security needs but CriticalArc is working closely to integrate SafeZone into our existing systems and to develop new approaches and features as required,” said José Morales, corporate security director at FCC Group. SafeZone gives users the ability to call for immediate emergency assistance by simply pressing a button on their mobile phone Automatic alert in emergency situations One of the key challenges for expatriates and their families is having to deal with the cultural differences, language barriers or growing political tensions that in some regions can lead to even minor incidents quickly escalating out of control. For example: if someone is involved in a road traffic accident or stopped for questioning by the police. SafeZone gives users the ability to call for immediate emergency assistance by simply pressing a button on their mobile phone. They do not need to even say anything, and their phone automatically sends an alert with their exact location details to a centralised control room. Providing security to FCC’s expatriates “SafeZone is already extensively used by universities and other further education establishments where the prime objective is to help protect students and staff both on and off campus. However, with FCC this is the first time SafeZone has been specified by a global security team for implementation across multiple geographies and such a diverse range of operational models. FCC’s expatriates and their families are much more widely dispersed, and in some regions the company’s security assets are not directly under its own control,” said Darren Chalmers-Stevens, CriticalArc EMEA managing director. The initial intention is for FCC to mandate SafeZone for all its own expatriates, but the company is also considering the potential benefits of recommending the tool for use by all personnel working for partner companies involved in FCC-led consortia, joint ventures and the company’s other international activities.
SafeZone is fast, easy to implement, and alleviates the need to invest in additional physical security measures CriticalArc announced that its pioneering SafeZone personal protection and campus security system has been selected by Swansea University to boost 24/7 safety for its students and staff both on and off campus. Swansea University is the latest in a fast-growing list of UK higher education establishments to choose SafeZone, following its European launch in 2014. The university has more than 19,000 students, including many international students, studying on a range of courses from Engineering, Law and Criminology, Arts and Humanities, Science, Medical, Human and Health Science, and Business Management supported by just over 3,000 staff (includes academics). SafeZone campus security system SafeZone will be deployed at the two principal campuses, that is, the Singleton Park and the Bay Campuses, as well as 7 other sites frequented by students and staff in the Swansea Bay region, where it will offer enhanced protection for any staff and student when they are at risk or need urgent help. It will meet the need of the campus security teams to support an increasingly round-the-clock learning culture that offers safe 24/7 access to libraries, study hubs, and other facilities. A major benefit will be the creation of safe corridors between each campus, its halls of residence, and popular destinations such as the train and bus stations. Additional monitoring and response cover along these thoroughfares will offer extra protection for people walking alone late at night. SafeZone protection will also extend to designated areas off campus, for example, for individuals on field trips, research projects or international placements, anywhere in the world. Distributed command and control platform SafeZone will equip the University with a cost-effective, people-centred safety solution plus an effective distributed command and control platform for managing response and mass communication during small or large-scale emergencies. All staff and students will be able to download the free smartphone app that makes it easy for them to raise a location-based alert at the touch of a button, so eliminating potential language or communication barriers. "SafeZone will enhance our ability to respond appropriately to any event, whether it’s a call for first aid, fire alarm, or a major incident" Ideally suited to dispersed estates, SafeZone is fast and easy to implement, alleviating the need to invest in additional physical security measures such as help points. It will give Swansea University access to zero-cost, targeted mass notifications, privacy-compliant group management functionality and a host of features like lone worker check-in. These force-multiplier capabilities will significantly improve its ability to enable collaboration between security first responder and volunteers such as building wardens during critical incidents as well as improving the efficiency of everyday team operations. Integrated security strategy Darren Chalmers-Stevens, from CriticalArc said: “It is great to be working with Swansea University as our first Welsh University. The team at Swansea University share a similar vision for real time situational awareness to us and have a great vision for the solution to include collaborating with local authorities and private organisations alike for a smart city which is envisaged will lead to further safety and security initiatives that will benefit staff and students alike. We very much look forward to a close working relationship with Swansea University as an industry leader in this space.”Russ Huxtable, Head of Resilience & Business Continuity at Swansea University said: “We have implemented an integrated security strategy for our University in order to provide, as far as practicable, a secure and safe environment for those who use, study, or work at the university. We are always looking at innovative ways to further mitigate risk, enable rapid response readiness, and fulfil our duty of care. By complementing our existing health and safety measures, SafeZone will enhance our ability to respond appropriately to any event, whether it’s a call for first aid, fire alarm, or a major incident. Using SafeZone to ensure a consistent security approach across our campus locations and beyond will provide an extra level of protection to give all students and staff added peace of mind.” SafeZone went live at Swansea University in September 2016, initial reaction to the service is extremely positive matched by a strong continuous uptake for the scheme which is only expected to increase further when the new University term begins in September 2017.
The mobile app also helps Newcastle University to continue providing efficient response to incidents at any scale Newcastle University security is launching a new app to provide around the clock reassurance to students and staff on campus. Benefits of free campus safety app Going live on the 15th February, the SafeZone mobile app will be available for free to students and staff. It allows students and staff to summon assistance, while enabling security teams to implement a fast and coordinated response to every day events through to full-scale emergencies. Featuring mass notification and monitoring for users working alone, SafeZone improves the effectiveness of security teams, while improving compliance with policies and procedures. With the app rollout, the University joins forces with Northumbria University and other local agencies, including Northumbria Police, to maximise the benefits of the SafeZone service as part of Newcastle’s Safe City initiative to extend emergency response services. Shed Coulthard, Estates Security Manager, Newcastle University, said: “The personal wellbeing of students and staff is our top priority and while we uphold an impeccable record on safety – in a city widely regarded as one of the safest places to study in the UK – we are always open to innovative use of technology to ensure that we continue to deliver the best possible student experience.” “While our campus is already very safe, the SafeZone app will give extra reassurance to our students and staff. It will also help us to work closer with partners across the city and to continue providing efficient response to incidents at any scale.” CriticalArc SafeZone cloud-based service Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Director EMEA at CriticalArc, developers of the app, said: “Newcastle University is part of a growing number of universities in Europe and Australia to offer SafeZone. The app will complement the outstanding work of the University’s security team while giving staff and students a simple and quick means to request assistance when they need it.” The cloud-based service will be supported on campus and geo fenced safe zones in the city, including popular routes between campus buildings, halls of residence and parts of the city centre. Users will be able to check the app to see if an area off-campus is monitored as a safe zone.
SafeZone is a cost-effective, cloud-based emergency response solution and free smartphone app CriticalArc recently announces that it will be exhibiting for the first time at Intersec in Dubai where it will demonstrate its pioneering SafeZone™ safety solution. SafeZone™ is a cost-effective, cloud-based emergency response solution and free smartphone app that is transforming the ease and efficiency with which leading organisations in the Middle East, Europe, North America and Australia are protecting employees and improving 24/7 safety for individuals to whom they have a duty of care including lone workers and global travellers. CriticalArc sees rising interest in SafeZone CriticalArc will be exhibiting on Stand S1-F45 with Building Defence Systems, its strategic Middle East partner. Since establishing its presence in the region in 2014, CriticalArc has seen rapidly rising interest in SafeZone from global corporations and regional organisations in sectors including government, education, industry infrastructure, defence and ex-patriot residential communities. The first deployment of SafeZone in the region was at Al-Bustan Village in Riyadh, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious residential compounds, making it the first western-style security and safety solution of its kind in the Middle East. Other deployments include a global aerospace and defence company operating in the region. SafeZone equips security teams to manage safety across a wide range of domains; optimise resource management; improve collaboration and coordination during major incidents; and run everyday security operations more efficiently. Deployed in hours without no need for upfront capital investment, it combines mobile command and control with real-time location intelligence, both in the field and in control room environments. By creating a force multiplier effect, SafeZone dramatically increases the capacity to respond effectively to incidents on any scale, from an individual request for medical assistance to full-scale emergency management in the event of a major critical incident. Free SafeZone app for immediate emergency support SafeZone safeguards corporatereputations, enables preparednessagainst environmental and physicalthreats and minimises disruption toroutine business activity For end users, the free SafeZone app provides a help point in their pocket to summon immediate emergency support, first aid and general assistance via a single discreet tap on their smartphone. This raises an alert that transmits their location, identity and any special requirements to the security team or local emergency services, while eliminating language barriers to ensure the best outcomes and support health and safety (HSE) compliance. SafeZone’s broad functionality can enhance safety in a wide range of scenarios. Powerful lone worker check-in features offer users additional personal monitoring and support while working or travelling alone. Organisations can easily set up geofenced safe zones where users can access the same level of emergency response support while travelling anywhere in the world as when on home territory. Multiply redundant communications via satellite, wi-fi and mobile networks ensure the highest degree of resilience, even in the most remote desert areas. For large-scale threats or incidents, a mass-notification feature enables security teams to instantly broadcast security alerts, warnings or context-specific updates to keep users informed as a situation unfolds. Using the latest push notifications along with legacy SMS and email messaging, all users can be notified, whether they have a smartphone, feature phone, tablet or PC. SafeZone minimises disruption to routine business activity Darren Chalmers-Stevens, CriticalArc Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said, “We are seeing unprecedented demand for the benefits that SafeZone can deliver across the Middle East. Driving significant efficiencies and cost savings, it extends existing security infrastructures by safeguarding personnel beyond physical perimeters while optimising the performance of manned services teams. SafeZone also safeguards corporate reputations, enables preparedness against environmental and physical threats and minimises disruption to routine business activity in the event of an incident. We look forward to welcoming anyone with an interest in improving safety across their organisation to come and meet the team at our first Intersec show.” Intersec 2016 runs from 17-19 January and will feature four major security and safety conferences with 27,000 visitors from more than 100 countries. The exhibition will open from 10am to 6pm daily, in Halls 1 – 7, Trade Centre Arena and Sheikh Saeed Halls 1 – 3 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Event will feature presentation about introducing SafeZone to manage threats CriticalArc announced that it will headline sponsor the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUSCO) Annual Conference at Loughborough University on 14-16 April 2015. The event will feature a presentation by the University of Zurich on their experience of introducing SafeZone to manage threats and safeguard 26,000 students and staff dispersed across the city of Zurich. Significant growth for CriticalArc with new customers The AUSCO conference follows a period of significant growth for CriticalArc with new customers including CQUniversity Australia, Northumbria University, University of York and the University of Zurich having all rolled out SafeZone this quarter. This rapid adoption is a clear indication that the higher education sector is recognising SafeZone as a cost-effective, next generation people-centred safety solution as well as an effective distributed command and control platform for managing small or large-scale emergencies on university campuses. Darren Chalmers-Stevens, EMEA Director at CriticalArc, commented, “Since launching SafeZone in Europe last year the positive feedback has been phenomenal from both staff and students. The solution is helping universities combat a range of safety and security challenges, as well as providing the ultimate preparedness to deal with any event, from health and safety issues through to major incidents. In addition, it is providing peace of mind to prospective students and their parents, particularly those from overseas, which in turn gives universities a clear competitive advantage.” Safety and security issues faced by universities CriticalArc also announced that it has published a whitepaper which discusses the safety and security issues faced by universities as learning environments transition to 24/7 operations. The paper considers the implications for campus security and workplace health and safety, and provides practical, cost-effective ways that managers can respond to the challenges or rapidly changing operational characteristics. Fast and simple to implement, SafeZone™ alleviates the need for additional physical security measures such as help points. With zero-cost, precisely targeted mass notifications and a lone worker check-in feature, SafeZone enables collaboration during critical incidents as well as making everyday team operations more efficient. Well suited to dispersed estates, SafeZone is helping higher education establishments safeguard reputations, gain competitive advantage, and ensure preparedness against environmental and physical threats.
The SafeZone system allows security or first aid personnel to pinpoint the location where help is needed The University of York launched CriticalArc’s SafeZone on the 8th January to provide round-the-clock safety reassurance to students and staff. York is the first University in the Russell Group to roll out the simple-to-use, free application designed to help those on campus to summon security or safety assistance via their mobile phones. The SafeZone system allows security or first aid personnel to pinpoint the location where help is needed. It also provides students and staff with a way of summoning general assistance swiftly from the Security Services help desk through a simple tap of an on-screen button. Nearly 20,000 students and staff will be able to access three main features using SafeZone -- emergency, first aid and general help. Emergency and first aid options will bring security or first aid officers to the location of the call, while the general help button connects directly to the Campus Services Helpdesk. The SafeZone system will also help the University send targeted notification messages to students and staff in the event of an incident in particular areas or buildings on campus. Security staff across campus have put SafeZone through exhaustive trials for more than a month and the University will stage a series of roadshows this week to explain how students and staff can sign up for the app. SafeZone works within designated zones covering Heslington West, Heslington East, the King’s Manor and the University Boathouse. Denis Fowler, the University’s Director of Health and Safety said: “Our campus is already very safe but SafeZone gives students and staff extra reassurance that assistance is no more than the touch of a button away. “The system allows us to monitor the positions of security personnel and first aiders so we can deploy them swiftly and efficiently to provide assistance and support where necessary. Previously, in the event of an emergency many students automatically called 999 but SafeZone™ provides a more targeted method of summoning assistance on campus.” The University has worked with the developers of SafeZone, Australian company CriticalArc, to introduce the system. Darren Chalmers-Stevens, EMEA Director, CriticalArc, said: “SafeZone’s adoption at the University of York is testament to how it can revolutionise the way education institutions manage their day-to-day security and safety operations, while ensuring a safer learning environment. “SafeZone provides security teams and first responders with the right information quickly, to improve their ability to react to situations efficiently and appropriately. By providing an unobtrusive security application versus traditional physical security equipment, we’re empowering the University to mitigate risk and improve brand reputation through enhanced duty of care, while gaining significant efficiencies through the improved deployment of manned response teams.”
The University selected SafeZone to reduce costs through increasing the efficiency of everyday security operations CriticalArc recenlty announced that Northumbria University has rolled out its revolutionary distributed command and control solution, SafeZone™. The University selected SafeZone to enhance staff and student safety while reducing costs through increasing the efficiency of everyday security operations across its six campuses. Through unparalleled situational awareness, SafeZone enables the University’s security team to coordinate its response to incidents quickly and efficiently. The intuitive SafeZone app makes it easy for Northumbria’s 30,000 students and staff to summon security or safety assistance via a simple tap on their phone, so allowing security personnel to pinpoint their exact location. The SafeZone app has three main features which can be accessed by staff and students at the tap of a button for emergency, first aid and general help. Pinpointing their exact location, security officers are dispatched quickly and accurately to emergency and first aid requests, while the general help button connects directly to the Campus Services Helpdesk. Students and staff can also “check in”, to make the University’s security team aware of their location while working alone or after hours. The cloud-based SafeZone system shares situational awareness across the whole security team, giving officers access to operational intelligence on the move, enabling more agile decision-making. As events unfold, all team members have complete visibility of the incident and the locations of their colleagues on smart devices. Superseding slow, unreliable and costly SMS, SafeZone’s mass notification is fast and efficient, allowing the University security team to send alerts to all staff and students. Specific instructions can be sent to response teams, or targeted messages to specific groups such as wardens or people at a particular location. Mass notifications can be accompanied by loud tones to warn users campus-wide or a discreet pulse to those perceived to be in the proximity of a threat. John Anderson, Head of Security said: “We needed to consider what resources we had available to us to support initiatives like 24/7 access. When we investigated SafeZone, we were impressed with the features and how it could adapt to meet the needs of the University and the community.” “Using this campus safety system demonstrates a proactive step to differentiate ourselves and provide a leading example of how the health and safety of our stakeholders is high on the University’s agenda. We hope nobody has to use it but I feel 100% confident that the resources we have in place, both technological and human, show our commitment to staff and student safety. Northumbria University is a safe place to work and study.” Darren Chalmers-Stevens, EMEA Director, CriticalArc, added, “Northumbria University’s decision to implement SafeZone demonstrates their commitment to ensuring a safe learning environment for students and staff. This is a strategic win for CriticalArc with more to follow as we are continue to educate the market and work with universities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.” Well suited to campuses and collegiate universities, SafeZone eliminates language difficulties and enables the fastest possible response to incidents to ensure the best outcomes. Driving significant efficiencies and cost savings, SafeZone safeguards university reputations, offers competitive advantage, and ensures preparedness against environmental and physical threats.
The refreshed branding reflects the evolving functionality of CriticalArc’s SafeZone CriticalArc recently announced a revamped identity along with significant new SafeZone product features. The rebranding follows a period of expansion for the Australian-based security technology business, in particular across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The rebranding also includes a new website using the new visual identity. The refreshed branding reflects the evolving functionality of CriticalArc’s SafeZone and the increasing demand for cost-effective distributed command and control solutions, driven by the need of large and multi-site organisations to improve their response to critical and everyday incidents, optimise security operations, and protect staff as well as physical assets. Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Director of EMEA, CriticalArc, commented: “Our look may have changed, but our mission hasn’t. We continue to combine cloud computing technology with a deep understanding of security operations to challenge the traditional methods of securing multi-site and dispersed facilities. In doing so, we are strengthening and streamlining the capacity of our customers to be more responsive to threats and incidents while increasing efficiency. We will continue to enhance and develop SafeZone and extend its capability to enter new regions and markets.” Delivered to customers this week, SafeZone’s new real-time Heat Map further empowers security and safety teams with intelligence needed to optimise operations. Heat Maps show the physical presence of a team over time, enabling security coordinators to see where personnel have visited, quickly identifying any gaps in coverage. Under increasing pressure to do more with existing resources, managers can now streamline operations with the confidence that they are using available team resources most effectively across their estates. "As a technology led organisation, we are committed to build-on and extend SafeZone’s powerful capabilities, taking advantage of appropriate new technologies as they happen" Glenn Farrant, CriticalArc founder and CEO, added: “As a technology led organisation, we are committed to build-on and extend SafeZone’s powerful capabilities, taking advantage of appropriate new technologies as they happen. Our customers are guaranteed that they will be employing the very best solution to increase their operational service efficiency, close security gaps and respond faster, more effectively to incidents without adding resources or fixed infrastructure. We will further extend the new SafeZone real-time Heat Map functionality with reporting tools and management dashboards as one of many innovative developments on our product roadmap.” Deployed in hours, SafeZone delivers truly mobile and flexible command and control out in the field as well as in control room environments. The field functions are so powerful, many CriticalArc customers have cancelled plans to build control rooms, with huge savings. For end-users SafeZone represents having a Help Point in their pocket, so any further capital investments in fixed Help Points are completely unnecessary. With zero-cost mass notifications and a lone worker check-in feature, SafeZone enables cross-campus collaboration and coordination during major incidents as well as making everyday team operations more efficient across multiple sites that can be located anywhere globally. CriticalArc is headline sponsor at the Tertiary Education Management Conference in Cairns, Australia on 31 August to 03 September 2014, where CriticalArc customer, Dominic Marafioti of the University of South Australia will present a paper entitled, “Implementing a Smartphone Based Incident Coordination & Control System at Six Australian Universities”.