By Michael Brookes
It is true that protection of a company’s assets has traditionally been a standalone security function within the business and has often been seen as a sunk cost, or a have-to-have. This is changing. We are seeing the emergence of the CSO (Chief Security Officer), an executive position charged with protecting their organisation’s tangible and intangible assets and faced with the challenge of balancing the correct levels of business risk versus business opportunity. We are also seeing IT more heavily involved in decisions concerning Physical Security – what is the security system’s impact on the Network? How do we ensure that the Security Policies are not compromised? How can we integrate with the Identity Management/Provisioning solution? Can we use the same infrastructure and save money? These considerations are driving Security Convergence at a technology level which is also exposing exciting new levels of business opportunity.
No longer are terms like IP, Wi-Fi and Authentication restricted to use by the IT guru’s, similarly Perimeter Detection, Surveillance and Access Control no longer equate to a security guard sitting in the office staring at a screen. There has been a paradigm shift which requires the identification of security risks and interdependencies between business functions and processes within the enterprise, and the development of managed business process solutions to address those risks and interdependencies. This is also leading to a new way of thinking; what more can be achieved?
In a world where everything exists within an App, there are growing opportunities to take advantage of the technology, once restricted to the security control room, and offer new services to the business and its customers. This is surfacing in solutions such as visitor and contractor management, intelligent parking systems, and interactive digital signage. No longer is technology integration limited to the facility, it is reaching customers in their own homes.
Gone are the days of visitors and contractors arriving at a facility and manually signing-in through a paper based system, a time consuming and inefficient process. Through the use of a web-based visitor pre-registration form, visitors are registered in advance of their site visit to ensure an efficient visitor processing experience. When completing the visitor pre-registration form, a location, escort and visit start and end date / time can also be allocated. This approach enables bulk processing of contractors visiting a site, with a simple approval process saving a great deal of time. The visitor management system should be integrated with the access control system on site in order to allocate visitor access to defined areas of the facility during a specific time frame. These solutions also enable a process of contractor reconciliation, providing the ability to match invoices with actual time spent on site; this in itself is driving significant savings for the business.
On-site, visitor management kiosks can be used to confirm the identity of the people attending site, and through integration with OH&S workflows, provide the required level of induction training prior to granting access to the facility. Similarly, the same system can be utilised to notify staff of any refresher training that is required and revoke access to areas of the facility until the training is completed.
Paid car parking for visitors is another area of opportunity for some businesses, and is already done in the healthcare and entertainment industries, as an example. New advances in city parking solutions are seeing wirelessly connected networks of sensors and computer systems that accurately track the availability of parking spaces and enable variable pricing that changes with demand. The idea is to better inform drivers about where they can find parking to help reduce congestion on streets, up to a third of which has been blamed on drivers searching for open parking spaces.
It is not a stretch of the imagination to take this concept to the multi-story carpark of a convention centre, integrating advanced video analytics such as number plate recognition with smart sensors and a smartphone App, enabling the customer to pre-pay for parking and then allowing them to ‘top up’ when required without needing to return to their vehicle. This may uncover percentage increases in parking revenue as it collects from unpaid parking not detected through enforcement. In turn, it can increase enforcement opportunities.
We now live in an age where we expect anywhere, anytime access to information. Digital signage presents the opportunity for businesses to bring information to life in new and exciting ways. In public spaces or within an organisation’s workplace, it’s a way of enhancing an environment, improving mass communication and influencing positive behaviour. Whether across an airport, a university campus, a stadium or a retail branch network, it is easy to connect and centrally control large, disparate systems, yet tailor content and messages to specific locations and communities. This will drive additional revenue streams by providing dynamic content to help customers get directions and maps to local attractions, look for a place to eat or go shopping, review area entertainment options, check in for their flights and print boarding passes, even access the Internet, if so desired. This same signage can integrate with security systems, act as an emergency warning display or display intermittent security and safety messages.
More than ever before, technology is enabling outcomes that are bounded only by the imagination, and the good news for many organisations is that much of the infrastructure is already in place supporting traditional security and business functionality. The key to harnessing this capability is through the deployment of an enterprise knowledge management system, incorporating people process and technology, to create strategic competitive advantage. Honeywell’s integration platform, EBI R430, reflects our continued dedication to delivering innovative and integrated solutions. EBI R430 firmly puts the power of integration in the hands of our customers by making it easier to connect diverse systems onto a single, intelligent platform. By introducing new features to streamline everyday tasks with intelligent automation and optimised mobile access, EBI R430 gives you enhanced control of your facility, promoting immediate business outcomes.