Current trends predict that companies do more with their security solutions than just secure their people, assets or data in the near future.
By Neil Cameron, Johnson Controls area GM: building efficiency – Africa
Security solutions are providing critical links to drive automation, increase access, accuracy and the efficiency of key business systems, facilitate and improve compliance, and create better experiences for employees. As it becomes clearer just how valuable these additional capabilities are, companies acquiring new security systems will demand them.
Consider the possibilities for automation of processes if access control systems can hook into and update time and attendance and payroll systems in real time as workers enter and leave a facility. At the same time, consider the implications for better compliance with Health and Safety policies if the access control system can create and deliver alerts in response to rules and policies as they apply to individuals entering a facility.
For example, if a worker has not attended a required safety course, the access control system can, in response to a notification from the HR system, deny access to the facility and redirect the worker to the admin office to take the course.
What’s spurring this trend is the growing ease with which multiple systems can connect. Built using open formats, it’s now possible to easily share data across systems using multiple technologies, from Web services to XML and database scripting. With improved integration and communication between security, facility and people management systems (for exampe HR, payroll), numerous opportunities for value add are opening up.
Security systems are now also playing a key role in fulfilling growing demand for personalised services in the workplace–helping to enable environmental and concierge services, driving productivity and energy savings while improving employee and partner experiences.
Productivity, efficiency, concierge services
How hard can it be to assign a hot desk? More organisations are doing away with static employee seating arrangements and implementing hot desks but managing this can become challenging.
In addition to being able to assign available desks with the correct technology capabilities to staff as they enter the facility by matching desks to profile requirements, the access control system can communicate with HVAC and lighting systems to ensure these systems are functional. This will create a comfortable environment conducive to productivity. When the occupant signs out, the security system ensures services are switched off, saving energy costs.
In a digital business environment, information is everywhere and having the right information to hand delivers advantage. Some organisations are making better use of it than others.
Consider the experience of a first-time visitor to a facility. An security system can assist an external person invited to a meeting through the whole process, from issuing an access pass to directing the visitor to the meeting room. The access control system can also be a conduit for relevant information from the HR and other systems, providing a list of the people attending the meeting and notifying participants or the host as they arrive, and providing access to background documentation. It’s an inexpensive and reliable way to add value to the business.
Big data inputs – a better experience of the working environment
Organisations are also leveraging security solutions to provide employees with a better experience of the working environment. This is happening in surprising ways through the addition of third-party software. For example, in Ireland parking is at a premium. Staff are thus kept abreast of train schedules and traffic trends via security systems that track their location, feeding them real-time information from public transport and other systems in the environment. Expect to see the first security systems with built-in third party software of this kind arriving in South Africa very soon.
This technology is available today and it’s being used globally to meet the needs of organisations. By creatively combining these technologies and services with security systems, security and IT managers can drive enormous value for the business and its people.
It is not difficult to do–with an advanced security platform in place, there is minimal effort involved in integrating internal and external systems to create new or value added services.