Optimising guarding through technology

Residential Security Handbook 2021: SMART Estate Living Security Services & Risk Management

Ever since technology was first used in the security field, the idea that human resources would be replaced by products and programs has always been highlighted in various publications and discussions. The reality is that, while certain human functions can be replaced, most technology has served to enhance the guard’s efficiency as well as provide customers with proof that all operating procedures have been followed. Of course, different technologies also include panic buttons to allow guards to call for help in an emergency.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions was given the opportunity to ask Wahl Bartmann, CEO, Fidelity Services Group for his insights into the use and utility of technology in today’s guarding operations.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: When it comes to optimising the guarding function, how important is technology in the delivery of an effective service? Can you give examples of how technology can improve performance?

Bartmann: Technology is a valuable tool in the guarding industry. Today many of our officers do not need to report to their employer’s office first as has been the case in the past. Many are ‘self-posting’. Technology has streamlined the process so that with biometrics and app-based clock in systems, officers can register that they have posted to work without having to physically report in for duty. This has negated the need for a supervisor to visit every site to ensure the officer has arrived for duty and removed any grey areas or inconsistencies in operating standards.

Technology ensures that officers conduct their duties in the manner intended. We can detect and monitor patrol routes and mobile panic devices should they need them. We also utilise real-time guard clocking devices to monitor patrols and body and live vehicle-cam cameras to monitor interaction with customers.

The technology plays a dual role and also assists our officers. Strategically placed CCTV cameras linked to the guardroom can allow the officer to do virtual patrols. With normal patrols, the officer would have been visible to the intruder. This not only placed the officer at risk, but could negate detection. Our officers normally patrol ever hour, but with a virtual patrol, the same area can be patrolled and checked every 10 minutes. Properly programmed and recorded virtual patrols can cover a larger area in more detail without the intruder even knowing of the surveillance.


Wahl Bartmann, CEO, Fidelity Services Group.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Body-worn cameras have been available for some time, but they are not widely used. What role can this technology play in the guarding service and how can this be done without huge cellular data costs for video transmission? Is video footage important in today’s guarding market?

Bartmann: Body cameras have not proved as popular in South Africa as they have in other countries such as the United States and parts of Europe. This is mainly due to privacy concerns and our POPI Act. The cost of data transmission for video is also a large contributing factor as well as the nature of self-posting which makes it difficult for security providers to collect video footage manually from a site on a consistent and regular basis.

This does not mean body cameras don’t provide many benefits, especially when it comes to incident reporting and monitoring. For example, the data can be used to verify aspects of an incident and also used for training purposes. The value of the technology is undeniable, however in South Africa currently, the logistics and implementation thereof are costly and cumbersome. We believe this technology will find greater traction over the coming years.

We have also found that it is not necessary to live stream body cameras when customer interaction is recorded and stored on a SD card if required.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What tracking and tracing technologies are available to ensure guards follow their assigned routes in the required time? What services and functions are available in these technologies apart from simply badging in at various locations?

Bartmann: As previously mentioned, there are phone-based apps and devices which can track GPS location, this helps to record times, routes and the specific routes of officers at a site. This information can be collated to determine the most effective route an officer should take, how often they should patrol and also whether there are any vulnerabilities in the current security measures.

The latest development is an ‘all-on-one’ mobile device whereby a customer or security manager can task an officer to attend to certain duties during a shift, i.e. patrol a specific area, check contractor sites etc. This device will not only monitor the movement of the officer, but allow him/her to gather photographic evidence of actions completed. This is then immediately electronically mailed to a customer/manager in the form of a breakfast report.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What about emergencies? How can the technologies above (and others) assist in helping guards and residents when an emergency occurs?

Bartmann: Most officers are equipped with panic buttons, but where newer technology, devices or apps are utilised, these can include panic features. These devices can be video and audio enabled allowing the control room to see and hear what is going on around the officer during an emergency.

This also reduces the reliance on wired devices affixed inside the guard hut/guard room and alerts other officers onsite to possible issues. We also issue officers with a PTT radio that has a panic function linked to the control room.

Many of the cameras have analytics programmed to provide for line and grid crossing outside the perimeter to detect intruders before they even enter the complex. CCTV technology can also be used by drones for high-risk area patrolling which is an asset for our officers as well as residents.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What technologies and solutions does your company supply that can assist in supporting the efficient delivery of guarding services, and, of course, helping estate residents at the same time?

Bartmann: We can provide any form of CCTV surveillance equipment which can be linked to the control room and open with a variety of triggers, including officer panic systems, resident alarms, electric fence activations, and any other intruder detection system. The video control room is in direct contact with our armed aesponse teams. They can be quickly deployed according to the live footage and perceived risk identified.


Credit(s)




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

SMART and secure estates in Cape Town
Technews Publishing Axis Communications SA Gallagher DeepAlert Nemtek Electric Fencing Products Editor's Choice
In February 2024, SMART Security Solutions emigrated to the Western Cape to host its first SMART Estate Security Conference in the region in many years. For the day, we took over the prestigious D’Aria Wine Estate.

Read more...
Integrated, mobile access control
SA Technologies Entry Pro Technews Publishing Access Control & Identity Management
SMART Security Solutions spoke to SA Technologies to learn more about what is happening in the estate access world and what the company offers the residential estate market.

Read more...
Natural catastrophes and fire risks top concerns
Security Services & Risk Management Asset Management Residential Estate (Industry)
Natural disasters are the highest risk in the real estate industry, followed by fire and explosions, and then business interruption. Estates must prioritise risk management and take proactive measures to safeguard their assets, employees, and reputation.

Read more...
New ransomware using BitLocker to encrypt data
Technews Publishing Information Security Residential Estate (Industry)
Kaspersky has identified ransomware attacks using Microsoft’s BitLocker to attempt encryption of corporate files. It can detect specific Windows versions and enable BitLocker according to those versions.

Read more...
Building a solid foundation
Alwinco Security Services & Risk Management Asset Management Residential Estate (Industry)
Understanding the roles of a Risk Assessor and a Risk Manager is like building a solid and secure foundation in the security world. Andre Mundell makes it easy to understand.

Read more...
SMART Estate Security returns to KZN
Nemtek Electric Fencing Products Technews Publishing Axis Communications SA OneSpace Editor's Choice News & Events Integrated Solutions IoT & Automation
The second SMART Estate Security Conference of 2024 was held in May in KwaZulu-Natal at the Mount Edgecombe Estate Conference Centre, which is located on the Estate’s pristine golf course.

Read more...
Using KPIs to measure smart city progress
Axis Communications SA Residential Estate (Industry) Integrated Solutions Security Services & Risk Management
United 4 Smart Sustainable Cities is a United Nations Initiative that encourages the use of information and communication technology (including security technology) to support a smooth transition to smart cities.

Read more...
Enhancing estate security, the five-layer approach
Fang Fences & Guards Residential Estate (Industry) Integrated Solutions Security Services & Risk Management
Residential estates are designed to provide a serene and secure living environment enclosed within gated communities, offering residents peace of mind and an elevated standard of living.

Read more...
Creating employment through entrepreneurship
Technews Publishing Marathon Consulting Editor's Choice Integrated Solutions Residential Estate (Industry)
Eduardo Takacs’s journey is a testament to bona fide entrepreneurial resilience, making him stand out in a country desperate for resilient businesses in the small and medium enterprise space that can create employment opportunities.

Read more...
From the editor's desk: Just gooi a cable
Technews Publishing News & Events
      Welcome to the 2024 edition of the SMART Estate Security Handbook. We focus on a host of topics, and this year’s issue also has a larger-than-normal Product Showcase section. Perhaps the vendors are ...

Read more...