Round table contributions
Finding the exact right technology to solve an end user’s problem is challenging, but the rewards are great when an integrator gets it right. A wide range of available product types, price levels and added features increases the likelihood of identifying a technology to solve any problem. But with so many technology and product choices in the marketplace, identifying that one solution can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. We wondered whether a vast range of product choices is always a good thing. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Are security integrators and end users overwhelmed by “too many choices” related to security equipment and systems? How can they make sense of it all?
Social media is part of our everyday lives, and increasingly it is also part of the security marketplace. Social media can be used for effective marketing and to communicate with customers, and it can be leveraged as a tool to make us all more secure. Communicating information in a crisis is another role social media can play to promote security. To elaborate on social media’s increasingly vital presence in the security marketplace, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What role can social media play in security?
Enterprise customers provide a large, and very lucrative, business opportunity for the physical security market. These customers include big global companies with plenty of revenue to spend and employees and facilities to protect. As a group, enterprise customers also tend to be a demanding lot, requiring systems that are large, scalable, that can operate across a wide geographic area, and that provide top-notch system performance. Enterprise customers set the standards of performance for the entire market, and they challenge manufacturers to up their game. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable to reflect on the industry’s biggest customers: What are the security challenges of the enterprise market?
It seems there are more “bad things” happening than ever before. We hear news every day of workplace shootings and terrorist attacks, of smash-and-grab thefts and child abductions. Beyond the possible human tragedy involved, such events pose a persistent question to anyone involved in the realm of security: Could we have prevented it? The first step toward prevention is to predict or foresee an event before it happens. Too often, technology enters the picture after the fact, most commonly the use of forensic video. Isn’t there more our industry can do before such events occur? We put the question to this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can security systems be used to predict bad things before they happen?
There’s a huge cloud hanging over the physical security market, but in a good way. Cloud-based systems, whether for video, access control or another category, are on the verge of taking the industry by storm. The benefits of that mythical “cloud” are well-known, or certainly well-touted, in the market. It’s almost as if the word “cloud” has become a buzzword that can mean different things, or at least whatever the customer wants it to mean (as long as they buy!). We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable to define the term more specifically, and to comment on the industry’s understanding of the terminology. Specifically, we asked: Define what we mean by “the cloud.” Is the definition universally understood in the market?
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are an important vertical sector in the physical security market. Protecting healthcare facilities is a rich opportunity to leverage the value of physical security systems that range from video to access control to newer location and asset protection systems. But understanding how technology can excel in the healthcare vertical requires that we first identify and understand what these institutions need. Therefore, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the physical security challenges of hospitals and healthcare?
Technology is changing at a break-neck pace, and the security marketplace is currently being bombarded by a wealth of new capabilities and innovations. But what will be the impact? Which of the currently-hyped new innovations will have a major impact, and which will fade over time? And even acknowledging the long-term significance of various technologies, what can we expect to be the more immediate effect? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new security technology is poised to have the greatest impact in the second half of 2017?
Rapid changes in technology span both the consumer and the physical security markets. In the consumer market, technology innovation is nowhere more apparent than in the palms of our hands, where we all hold the latest smartphones and mobile devices. Simply put, the unprecedented power and capabilities of today’s smart phones have changed our lives. No wonder they are also having an impact on our business of physical security systems. Although a consumer product, smartphones increasingly play a role in security. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How are smartphones impacting technologies in the physical security market?
Articles by Todd Piett
With the recent tragic events in Florida, it’s evident that schools require more tools to help ensure their students’ safety. With that, school and municipal officials all over the country are looking for more advanced ways to combat gun violence. While there is no perfect solution for the myriad of threats and emergencies with which our schools are confronted, many have looked to technology to help improve communications before, during and after incidents. For schools across the state of Arkansas; Nassau County, New York; Snohomish County, Washington; New Castel County, Delaware; Limestone County, Alabama and scores of others, the answer was the implementation of technologies that connect school personnel directly with local police, fire and EMS, and designated individuals at the school. Communication tools have proven invaluable when a potential active shooter situation was being discussed on social media Key to these schools’ choice in technology was the recognition that while the most traumatic of threats is the active assailant, any technology investment should be just as effective in handling the more frequent day-to-day incidents. Communication technologies for incident management How have technologies such as mobile panic buttons and anonymous texting helped impact school safety? Here are a few examples: In Limestone County, Alabama, 9-1-1 Director Brandon Wallace led an effort to implement technology tools across the county to help prevent and more quickly notify personnel of possible emergency situations. Communication tools have proven invaluable especially when a potential active shooter situation was being discussed on social media. Advanced technology integration The technology not only connected directly to emergency personnel, but also ensured that school faculty were able to communicate with one another during a potential emergency and account for students. Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the school superintendent Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr. chose to make communication technology a part of their new safety plan. The integration of advanced technology has given staff and teachers a greater sense of safety with not only active shooter events but also events like medical emergencies that require fast action and a quick response from public safety officials. Trainings ensure that staff and students are prepared for any type of situation and be on the same page in an emergency situation Implementing enhanced safety measures What are some lessons learned from these schools that can be applied to protect students in other areas? Here are some tips for implementing more safety measures into schools: Make sure your solution has a daily use. Unfortunately, many great technologies have sat unused when emergencies struck simply because those involved weren’t familiar with them or were under extreme duress and forgot about them. Training is an obvious necessity, but finding solutions with daily use cases (such as value in medical emergencies) can have a huge impact not only on ROI but also during an incident. Evaluate past incidents. Response during past incidents can always help future plans. Whether incidents have been handled well or have room for improvement, it’s important to continue to develop incident responses. For Limestone County, Alabama, the use of technology in their response plan was first tested during a medical emergency which helped to confirm the continued use within the school. Knowing the ease of use and responsiveness of emergency response tools, the county decided to build upon the technology already in place to help thwart future incidents. Train staff on the newest measures. Snohomish County, Washington holds trainings with teachers and staff, alongside local emergency personnel to prepare for active shooter incidents. Trainings ensure that staff and students can be prepared for any type of situation and be on the same page in the event of an emergency. Especially as new technology is introduced, integrating the tools with staff first will help ensure greater adoption throughout the process. Integrate practice drills. Fire drills are a common part of the school year; why not implement practicing other scenarios which may affect your school? Not only will this help with preparedness but will also highlight any measures that might need to be adjusted. New tools can then be tested to ensure that all staff and students are comfortable in the event they will need to utilise it in the future. Expand those involved in your drills to be those who will actually be involved in an incident. All too often, drills are siloed and don’t include outside agencies. Re-evaluating safety procedures Schools across the country can learn a lot from districts that have implemented and actually used new communications technologies addressing school safety, which are leading the way in how teachers and faculty are preparing to keep students safe. However, it will remain important to re-evaluate safety procedures and integrate technology to help ensure that these steps remain effective. As the tools continue to advance, the available safety measures will only continue to grow.
The upgraded Rave Guardian app now integrates with Rave Alert and allows college communities to easily connect through a custom mobile app. Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), a trusted partner for safety software protecting millions of individuals, revealed updates to its Rave Guardian platform to better equip students and staff to communicate vital campus updates. Rave Guardian, a safety app available for students to stay connected with campus safety officials, faculty and other students, now integrates into Rave Alert, allowing higher education institutions access to both offerings in a single platform. Rave Guardian has been updated to better reach and engage students on mobile devices since they find email and phone calls to be outdated. Students aren't interested in Facebook and Twitter; rather they prefer closed messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp. In fact, Generation Z students are three times more likely to open a chat message through a push notification. However, in a recent survey of higher education institutions, Rave found only 38% of respondents offer a mobile safety app for their campus communities. The lack of institution-backed app adoption on campus shows the opportunity for colleges to implement innovative technology, like Rave Guardian, to better connect with students. Integrated geo-targeting notifications The new Rave Guardian platform ensures that all tools, from two-way texting features to content directories with information such as specific safety procedures, are united in a single application. Unlike any other communications application available, Rave Guardian provides geo-targeting notifications so campus safety officials can target certain areas of campus with specific alerts. Those alerts are even available when students and faculty may not have cell signals. The app also allows for students to share a live stream of their location with campus safety if they feel they're in a dangerous situation. "Since adopting Rave technology, the ability to quickly and accurately share information has made all three of our campuses safer," said Charles S. DiSalvo, Emergency Manager at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. "We have seen a 22% increase in the use of Rave Guardian, so it's become integral to how we communicate public safety information." With a push of a button, students can either directly connect to 9-1-1 or campus safety in an emergency Rave Guardian campus communication app With one app to access campus communication tools, resources and key contacts, colleges don't have to rely on outdated communication methods to interact and engage with students. Additional benefits and features in the new version of Rave Guardian include: One platform: In two steps, anyone in your campus community is instantly authenticated and can register. Students can update their Rave Alert profiles and always keep their contact information up-to-date. Content portal: Emergency procedures, shuttle schedules and other key resources can be shared with the campus community in a configurable content library to help them stay safe and informed. Call directory: Enable students and staff to easily find assistance and resources through a call directory of important numbers that can be updated and added to in real time. Routable chats: Two-way communications can now be routed to different departments to ensure they're only seen by the appropriate officials. In addition, departments can enable custom auto-responses when their offices are closed. Push notifications: Alongside SMS text and email capabilities, push notifications allow schools to provide messages to students and staff even without cell service and capture more attention. App customisation: Schools can customise Rave Guardian's interface and features in real time to create a user experience that will drive more interaction with their community. Emergency call button: With a push of a button, students can either directly connect to 9-1-1 or campus safety in an emergency. Even when they dial 9-1-1 from the app, the school is notified through the incident management console. "The update to the Rave Guardian platform offers our university and college customers with essential tools to promote safety across their campuses," said Todd Piett, CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. "These latest features will drive greater adoption by students and will promote more participation with campus safety."
As security and employee safety remain at risk, unpreparedness is still affecting many corporations according to the Trends in Corporate Security survey from Rave Mobile Safety. Rave, provider of critical communication and data platform solutions trusted to save lives, has released the findings before attending the ASIS International 63rd Annual Seminar and Exhibits (ASIS 2017), held in Dallas, Texas September 23-28. Completed anonymously by 150 managers in corporate safety and security, employee safety, physical plant security, IT security and business continuity, respondents identified factors driving corporate safety and security decision making. According to the data, even with growing awareness around risks in the workplace, there is a continued unpreparedness in corporate security. Inadequate emergency preparedness “The results of this survey highlight the work that must still be done across corporations to better protect employees during emergencies,” said Todd Piett, President and CEO of Rave Mobile Safety. “Organisations continue to face threats from medical emergencies to weather events and prepping with emergency plans, safety technology and clear management roles appear to be clear missing pieces for our respondents.” Unpreparedness may lie in the fact that corporations have not chosen a singular department to lead their safety procedures. According to the survey, the responsibility for business and employee safety lies with a number of different departments, with corporate security (51 percent), facility security (39 percent) and human resources (30 percent) selected most frequently by respondents. Within these departments, 28 percent of companies do not have a single person in charge of corporate security and six percent of those companies the ownership is completely unclear. Of the current emergencies affecting safety/security today, companies were most unprepared for situations involving an active shooter Non-standardised emergency plans Along with confusion over department responsibility and lack of management of safety/security programs, emergency plans are not standard amongst the respondents of the survey. Of the current emergencies affecting safety/security today, companies were most unprepared for situations involving an active shooter (25 percent). Emergency plans were also not standard for medical emergencies (18 percent), natural disasters (12 percent) and fires (8 percent). Employee safety and security awareness More than half of respondents revealed that employee awareness and training (58 percent) as their biggest safety/security challenge. Even further, smaller companies (2500 or fewer employees) indicated a higher instance of this challenge, with 71 percent indicating employee awareness and training as their biggest challenge. In the area of communication technology, mass notification was still not adopted by 21 percent of respondents. Companies are also failing to utilise multiple methods of communication during emergencies. Email (21 percent), text (20 percent), voice calls (21 percent), building alarms (20 percent) and social media (65 percent) are currently not being utilized by respondents as a form of communication during emergencies. The complete findings from the Trends in Corporate Security survey, including details on the management of safety/security, past and present impact on security/safety and the technology being used to assist emergency situations will be revealed during the ASIS International 63rd Annual Seminar and Exhibits (ASIS 2017), held in Dallas, Texas.