In my first role working for an FM company in London, my job was to trial the very first Blackberry’s (yes, the B&W ones). The fact they were so simple was what won them so much loyalty.
The trial was so successful that it was near impossible to have all the units returned at the end of the trial – never had I seen a piece of technology so quickly adopted.
Fast-forward 17 years and today we cannot be without our phones – they are definitely an extension of our physical, mental and social beings, with some people spending a third of their waking hours using them.
Today there is an app for everything – each part of your daily activities in your waking and even your sleeping hours can be “optimised”.
It therefore stands to reason that there are apps for safety and security too.
Historically security systems were designed by engineers for engineers, but the rise of apps has forced manufactures to be aware of UX – User Experience. It means that systems have become far more intuitive.
In most corporate environments access cards are the traditional means of entry. Nowadays, a smartphone app can now take care of this and is in many ways even better than a card: if someone picked up your phone, they would still need your PIN/Fingerprint/Face to be able to activate it in the first place.
Best of all, people seldom leave home without it and should it ever go missing, people are more prone to report their phone missing than admit they have misplaced their access card “again”.
Another big advantage is that out of hours contractors don’t need to be given a card to gain access to a building, they can simply download an app to let them in. This cuts out the need to physically give someone a card, and being on site to programme it.
ID Creation & Checking
With apps, you can create a new photo ID user with a few clicks of your phone, all updated in real time. The same functionality can be used by security for checking access cards and privileges on the go.
This is particularly useful for health and safety where apps can be used to verify an individual’s credentials before they start work, by checking to confirm they have the most recent training certificates.
Alerts & Integrations
Most FMs are constantly on the go and rarely at their desk. With these apps, you don’t need to be – you can sort out all your security issues on your phone, and if you set up the triggers and alerts, you’ll only ever be notified if there is an issue.
And once you’ve integrated them, the app can even pull up an individual camera for you to check and verify before taking action.
As FMs take on responsibility for an ever increasing number of locations, technology gives you the advantage of presence and awareness without the need to be physically on site.
What’s your visitor experience like? You only get one chance at a first impression, so hopefully you are putting your best foot forward to curate the most impressive and seamless welcome for your Clients and VIPs.
Visitors can be sent their own personalised visitor pass so their phone can activate entrance barriers / turnstiles and even lifts. This seamless approach also simultaneously lets the host know to their visitor has arrived. This lessens the burden on reception so they can focus on delivering great service.
We have come across systems that even allow your visitor to select their preferred drink and identify any AV requirements.
Emergencies & Evacuations
Working alongside both Access Control & Visitor Management is the all important evacuation report. For smaller organisations it’s less of an issue. You take your visitors book to the muster point and check everyone off. But what if you had a big team, across multiple buildings, and several fire wardens spread across multiple muster points? How would you know who was where – and quick?
Fortunately many access control and visitor management apps enable you to check people off, with each member of the team using their own devices, updating in real time across all locations.
A major advantage of these apps is they can keep all staff updated about the latest situation, whether they are in the building, on their way to the office or working from home. Best of all, they can even mark themselves “SAFE”, which is particularly useful in situations where you have remote workers or a globally distributed team working in multiple regions / territories.
With recent security and terror related incidents, your colleagues will at all times know what to do and what’s going on, real time.
In the “old days”, intercom systems had to be set up with a dedicated handset, which is ok if you have a receptionist who never left the desk. In the modern office, this may not be practical.
This is where intercom apps have come into existence. The ability to instantly engage with your visitor, see them through the app and remotely release the lock to let them in the building means ultimate flexibility.
These systems are particularly useful in co-working environments where tenants are constantly changing, you just add the necessary number of apps you need – the potential is limitless.
There are three key advantages of security apps:
Peace of mind: having the power to see / interact with your critical systems, in the palm of your hand, accessible 24/7.
Convenience: once the technology is set up, FMs can confidently take advantage of flexible working, staying on top of the latest developments and interacting with their security system.
Empowerment: having information and evidence at your fingertips means you are more in control to make the right decisions.
You’ve already got a phone, you’re comfortable using apps to manage your life, so why not offer your organisation the convenience of all these benefits to make both your, and their lives easier?
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