As social norms begin to be restored across Europe, flexible working is fast becoming the modus operandi for many. The offer of greater fluidity for employees is not, however, without its challenges for those responsible for the safety and security of such environments and the personnel within. And as demand for flexibility grows, the need to monitor and protect premises and people becomes ever-more complex leading to a greater reliance on technology, automation and AI.
Not only do facilities, HR, security and office managers need to adapt to the regular coming and going of employees, but there is also a palpable upturn in the co-work space, a third dimension that sits between the office and the home-work set up. With health security a key concern, it is increasingly physical security systems in the cloud that will unlock critical insights to support business decision making based on intelligence derived from surveillance data. This represents an opportunity for the cloud-savvy physical security professional to help support the flexible working model.
Automated security processes
Digital transformation and the ongoing move towards cloud infrastructure and AI platforms has brought significant change to the world of physical security. The tired legacy solutions of the past, one-dimensional and capable of only the most basic functionality, are rapidly being replaced by their cloud-enabled successors, facilitating device interconnectivity and impressive data-sharing capabilities. Businesses can now protect their assets, premises and people with a wealth of security technologies operating on digital platforms.
Cloud enables many IoT devices and sensors to work together, which in turn improves the accuracy and reliability of any security solution. Such technology facilitates the automation of pre-set processes which can lead to efficient, streamlined operations and more precisely executed security procedures. In the event of an incident, such as a fire or criminal attack, security teams can be informed in real-time via the data from network surveillance cameras, helping them to identify the nature of an incident and act swiftly. Alerts and alarms, triggered by surveillance data and delivered via digital (IP) audio speakers, add to a coordinated security response.
Cloud physical security technologies also unlock many benefits beyond security to support the flexible working model. Using access control and video surveillance data, from cloud security solutions such as video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS), allows behaviours and usage patterns to be analysed and relevant changes implemented to improve operations. For example, insights about the number of people on-site and their movements within the premises can be used to make decisions about heating and lighting, better tailoring energy requirements to meet real demand and representing cost savings. Furthermore, insights into the number of people using a site can help with decisions around the use of space, such as considerations around potential expansion to support increased use.
Research into attitudes about the move to remote working as a result of the pandemic found that 74% of respondents expected remote work to become standard and that a significant 97% of employees don’t want to return to the office full-time. Indeed, many now deem the capacity for remote and flexible work to be the biggest draw for top talent. Now is the time for facilities, HR, security and office managers to adapt to the new model with haste and there is clear opportunity for physical security professionals to help them improve their security and business operations to meet evolving requirements.
Partnerships based on ethical principles
When seeking out appropriate tools and technologies, it is all too easy to use devices that have been manufactured cheaply and brought to market quickly, often hastily produced in countries with low levels of quality assurance and with poor transparency of labour laws. It is essential, therefore, to partner with a trustworthy provider that has a track record of success, as well as adhering to ethical practices and codes of conduct that are common across the EU.
Such partnerships will provide assurance of corporate governance and allow closer scrutiny of manufacturing processes. While speed of deployment to ensure comprehensive protection can be a key factor in partner selection, this should be balanced with a thorough process of due diligence to determine the integrity of vendor, technology and increasingly the supply chain.
With no costly alterations required to existing security infrastructure or disruptions to business operations, cloud physical security technologies, delivered in partnership with a trustworthy solutions provider, can offer a future proof and highly scalable system to support the success of the flexible working model in an ever-changing world.
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