An Increased Balance
- By Ben Jobrack, Jasen Dunn
- Jan 27, 2022
Mobile app technology is part of our everyday lives. We rely on mobile applications to access calendars, to-do lists and to purchase food from a favorite lunch spot. The connectivity and flexibility that mobile apps are part of how people manage activities and responsibilities, whether they are personal or professional in nature.
Traditionally, the security industry has linked mobile applications with security technologies like large-scale enterprise access-control systems, where someone may need to manage users, or a video system to enable a security guard to view an incident captured on a security camera. Now mobile application capabilities have begun to trickle down the chain to encompass additional solutions, like intercom systems.
In the security industry, the rise of mobile applications has helped to drive demand for greater access and flexibility as it relates to technologies used to protect people, buildings and assets. Let’s say a door is locked and there is no one close enough to open that door. A mobile application connected to an Android or Apple smartphone or tablet can now handle that.
While security remains centralized for many facilities, at a college campuses, corporate offices, distribution centers or healthcare facilities, security directors within these facilities can now also easily incorporate a mobile app component within their intercom systems to provide enhanced access control flexibility and reporting capabilities.
Flexibility is Key
Mobile applications have become increasingly relevant for small to mid-sized businesses, who may not employ a traditional receptionist to meet and greet visitors. On one hand, these businesses still want to be responsive to their guests, yet they may not have the manpower to have a person in a general lobby area at all times.
Pairing an intercom system with a mobile application can provide a business with valuable flexibility without requiring a dedicated person to manage a front desk all day, but can still be accessible when a visitor arrives. This flexibility can extend beyond being in the office, including stepping away for other work duties, taking a lunch break or working remotely on a particular day.
Mobile applications, when integrated with an intercom system, enable facilities to maintain security protocols at all times. This can include vetting all visitors before allowing a person to enter the premises. The process could include visually confirming the identity of a visitor and then communicating with the visitor through a two-way communication system before unlocking the door.
Obtaining a complete picture of what happened following an incident can sometimes be a challenge. A surveillance system can record video, and specifically capture the dialogue between reception staff and a person waiting outside.
Mobile applications connected to an intercom system can provide enhanced security capabilities, including recording conversations through an intercom system. Having access to this audio file, via the cloud—thanks to the connectivity of a mobile device—can enable security staff to verify information should an incident happen before or after granted access. This audio file can be a valuable forensic resource, such as providing the ability to double check if there were signs of malicious intent that were missed, or if the person who requested entry also had another person with them.
Vertical Market Deployments
Corporate security directors across multiple industries recognize the value of mobile applications when connected with an intercom system. It is not always possible to have a person at the ready in the receiving area of a warehouse, mailroom or front lobby.
For healthcare facilities, a mobile application can enable nurses to spend more time with patients instead of having to stay at a central reception desk. For example, when a visitor comes to a specific unit in the hospital, an intercom system can alert staff that a visitor is at the door. Entrance can then be permitted remotely through one of the nurses’ mobile phones, after confirming the person’s identity and nature of their visit.
At warehouses and distribution centers, the receiving department can be extremely busy, making it a challenge for a warehouse manager to monitor and respond to all activities at once. A mobile application can enable the warehouse manager to receive a notification when a new truck comes to the entrance gate. After speaking with the truck driver and confirming that person’s identity, the mobile application can be used to open the gate and allow the driver to enter the premises.
College campuses in North America typically have a dedicated security team located in a central office from which security staff can monitor activities. However, when an officer steps away from the office to answer a non-emergency call, it can make it more difficult to respond to door entry requests from a student who may have lost a keycard to get into their dormitory building. A mobile application connected to an intercom system enables staff to identify a person via video and two-way communication, and then remotely allow that person to enter.
As we head towards a more flexible, technology-focused workforce and future, these mobile apps enable an increased balance in safety and versatility without sacrificing efficiency. Security professionals should keep in mind that one of the key tools that end users are looking to implement today are mobile applications that provide them with greater connectivity, flexibility, and ability to cater to changes in an ever-evolving security landscape.
This article originally appeared in the January / February 2022 issue of Security Today.