Boosting operational control for HE security

Security operations in the university sector are increasingly looking for clever ways of planning and managing teams of guards

… according to Paul Ridden, CEO of SmartTask

Paul Ridden says there had been growing demand for employee scheduling, patrol monitoring and workforce management tools in the past 18 months as universities look to better protect their staff and students in campus estates that can be incredibly difficult to keep secure. “The technology has become increasingly available and affordable over the last couple of years, making it relevant and appealing to more and more campus security operations,” he explains. “Advances in smartphone technology and the introduction of cloud-based software solutions have made these tools easily deployable and scalable, whatever the size of a campus.”

Workforce management tools have been around for some time, helping universities to capture proof of time, attendance and work completed, enabling them to monitor the status of their teams centrally. Now there are systems that bring all of these components together in a single package along with the other key back office functions required to effectively manage security teams. They provide peace of mind that personnel are safe and available in the event of an incident, as well as support security management to ensure staff are where they need to be as requirements change.

Intelligent rostering streamlines the planning and scheduling processes, significantly reducing the time and cost required to prepare rotas, while interactive dashboards support control rooms with a live view of the operation. Also, based on a framework of electronic proof of attendance, it is becoming possible for security guards located at remote sites to effectively take on additional tasks such as inspections or audits, as well as report and capture supporting data for any security incidents using a smartphone app.

Technology in action

The University of Wolverhampton selected SmartTask’s easy-to-use employee scheduling and mobile workforce management solution to provide effective visibility and control for its campus operations and estate management. It is now used to coordinate and monitor static and mobile teams across its reception desk, security, caretaking and cleaning, ensuring resources are optimally planned.

In particular, the University’s security team is currently using SmartTask to simplify its reporting processes. As a result, supervisors and guards are using a combination of electronic forms and NFC tags for a range of daily, weekly and monthly patrols and audits, such as car parks and other public areas, along with safety equipment checks. Using a SmartTask-enabled smartphone, guards can simply scan the tags, as well as capture any supporting data or photos, which has enabled the University to achieve 100% visibility of its security tasks since implementing the system.

Along with the normal security activities such as patrols, guards are required to inspect 12 defibrillators as part of health and safety regulations, so NFC tags placed on the equipment are used to monitor legal compliance. The weekly inspection includes a dedicated incident report, which enables officers to alert the appropriate task coordinator of any problem involving a defibrillator with an automated email notification. In addition, monthly checks of lift intercom systems and emergency response kits are also recorded, as well as arrange daily checks for the control room, officer uniforms and vehicles. 



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