AI delivers autonomous efficiencies

February 2019 Editor's Choice, Security Services & Risk Management

Active Track is a guard monitoring service provider that has captured a large share of the market for tracking and managing people. The company has now partnered with software development specialist Sugarplum Digital to improve the back-end of its operations with software enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI).

Active Track’s management device is a robust, handheld device that can be dropped (and should be dropped in emergencies as this action sends a panic alarm to the control centre) and knocked about in the rough guarding environment. It includes RFID, GPS and GSM functionalities, panic and silent call functions, and is supported via an online portal and 24-hour call centre. It also sports a battery life of up to 72 hours.

All activities captured by the device are transmitted to the company’s 24-hour control centre where they are monitored and, when emergencies occur, the operators can dispatch emergency response teams. As is common in all security control centres, operators are often tasked with dealing with false alarms or simple administrative tasks which takes their attention away from handling real emergencies.

Using Sugarplum Digital as its development partner, Active Track has updated its software to turn the system into a full management application instead of a guard monitoring system. Guards are still equipped with the Active Track devices, but the software now handles an expanded range of tasks autonomously, without needing human input.

As a simple example, Active Track’s Danie de Villiers explains that the system used to alert the control room if a guard had not registered their device at a certain location within a set time. An operator would then have to contact the guard or a supervisor to try to resolve the situation according to the client’s operating processes (OPs). Now the system recognises the problem, learns from the environment over time and follows the OPs without requiring human intervention.

The AI enhancements go further and impact almost all areas of the company’s operations, taking the boring tasks such as submitting reports to clients. It provides customers with a higher level of visibility into their security operations, tailoring its reports and communications to the person in question.

Sugarplum Digital’s Gerhard Furter says the AI system is not simply programmed to do routine jobs. It collects data and analyses it in real time, and is continually learning what is normal, what is out of the ordinary and what constitutes a real emergency – it’s like an occurrence book that is continually being monitored, updated and analysed. It then deals autonomously with the non-critical events, leaving trained human operators to focus on responding to important events and alarms. It is able to detect patterns emerging over longer periods of time in each environment Active Track manages in order to provide additional insights to the operators and/or the client.

Also designed and built by Sugarplum, Active Track is also in the process of building its own voice controlled chatbot. People will be able to communicate with the bot by speaking, and once again the AI system will automatically handle routine questions and tasks without needing human input. Sugarplum is rolling out a similar application to a manufacturer that will soon be able to take and fulfil orders autonomously.

For more information contact:

• Active Track, +27 11 551 1687,,

• Sugarplum Digital,,


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