No restraints

Mobile technology puts control where responders go


There is no denying the power of mobile applications. When you're able to take an important call while heading out the door to another meeting or view an e-mail message critical to that meeting, you can appreciate the flexibility and freedom mobile technology provides.

Now the security industry is beginning to reap the benefits of mobile technology with new advancements that free police and security officers, first responders and emergency personnel from behind their desks while providing the tools and data they need to do their jobs in a responsive and proactive manner.

For years, officers have been tethered to their desks watching a bay of computer screens and video surveillance monitors in a security command center. An officer, armed with a radio for communications and little else for situational awareness, could be sent to investigate incidents observed on a video screen. And, if only one guard was on duty, that guard would need to stop monitoring the situation to investigate, potentially leaving the facility vulnerable to further alerts, incidents or intrusions. Even worse, some could head straight into an ambush situation, without the forewarning mobile video feeds provide.

Mobile technology can free security officers from behind a desk or command center by providing access to all the information in the command center on a handheld mobile computer. For example, using rugged handheld mobile devices from DAP Technologies and a mobile application developed by Hawkeye Technologies, security details can access AMAG's Security Management Software wherever they are in a facility, campus or secured area. With the solution they can view live video feeds and photos, manage access control systems, clear alarm alerts, access personnel information, receive text data, maintain muster lists, enroll employees and more on a rugged handheld.

The officer gets up-to-the minute communications and real-time information on DAP's Guard System handheld computer, which is ergonomically designed and weighs about a pound. And if only one officer is on duty, that officer can continue to monitor the facility while investigating the incident, resulting in more efficient use of resources.

Security officers can also send data back to the command center. For example, an officer could take photos, record video to the security management server, or swipe IDs and transmit the information back.

While the solution is sophisticated enough to perform a multitude of tasks, not all organizations require the full solution and others have an evolving security strategy. The hardware's modular and flexible design allows it to be customized to perform only the tasks required by the facility and then upgraded later as needs change.

For example, if a facility is only interested in accessing live video feeds now, the hardware can be specified for only that task, while the software retains full functionality. If, a few years later, the facility decides it also needs mobile ID readers, that functionality can be easily added with modular components, without replacing the equipment.

The mobile security solution can be used online or offline. Mustering, mobile badging or checking IDs can be done online through a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, or offline by downloading data to the device.

Better communications and situational awareness results in the ability to respond more quickly and efficiently to incidents. In today's economic and security climate, everyone is looking for ways to streamline operations, protect assets, stay a step ahead of increasingly sophisticated criminals and shave costs. Response personnel can realize drastic improvements to their operations by integrating new mobile technology into their operations.

Len Schalkwyk is vice president of Worldwide Sales for DAP Technologies, headquartered in Quebec City, Canada. He can be reached at l.schalkwyk@daptech.com.