Just think about how your employee will do his patrol without technology. He/she walks around the property with a pen and paper and writes down any issues discovered. At the end of the day, he/she may have to compile those notes into a daily activity report and get that back to the supervisor and the client. Other than what is personally written by the officer, there is very little in the way of evidence to show that the job has been done.
How can a client, or a supervisor for that matter, really be sure that the work is actually being done and your company is providing good value for money? How much time is wasted on Management’s end collating all the notes and getting out reports to clients? How much time and effort is spent in filing away and categorizing the reports to prepare for when the client comes back a year later and wants details?
With a Guard Tour System, the user visits a number of physical locations while out in the field. When they reach a checkpoint (location), the location is scanned and the time recorded. In the case of a smartphone based system, the user can also record details and take pictures. The more documentation the better! All this leads to a whole lot of advantages over a manual system. Key among these are efficiency, simplicity and accountability.
Make Management's Life Easier!
For a Guard Tour System to be great, it clearly needs to make your life easier. There are number of ways in which TourTrax does this.
Reduces Training Time & Costs: Because instructions can be made available to the user as needed when they reach a checkpoint, your training time is drastically reduced both for new, and experienced staff covering a shift. When an incident occurs, the system should display an easy to use form allowing the user to gather and input information as it happens, and even allow them to submit photographic evidence as needed.
Easier Reporting: The system will remove management overhead and save you time with report writing. TourTrax can save a lot of overhead through automation. Your staff are able to enter information as it happens, and make sure they get all the details into the system in a quick and efficient manner. This is made even easier today by the huge advances that have been made in voice-to-text technology allowing individuals to dictate notes directly, allowing them to record their observations on the go without stopping to type! You'll no longer be manually writing reports, but instead having them quickly generated on demand, printed out, or emailed out automatically without require
Improve Situational Awareness: You get much better situational awareness of what your employees are doing on a minute to minute basis when using TourTrax. Particularly with smartphone functionality, you'll be able to pinpoint on a map where your officers are at any given moment in real-time. You can also see incidents as they happen together with photographic and video evidence available within seconds to minutes of being reported. This improved situational awareness also translates into better officer safety. When an officer is in trouble, they can immediately initiate an alarm back to headquarters. Since you know where all the other officers are, it's easy to send backup, or inform authorities that the individual needs help.
Improve Compliance with laws and regulations: There are many laws out there (Duty of Care) that require you to keep detailed records of the hours worked by your employees.With the time and attendance features of TourTrax, you will not only have accurate records, but automatically keep them for as long as required by law without any extra effort on your part.
Paperless: The system can save you money by vastly reducing paper usage. It’s not just the triplicate and quadruplicate copies of paper forms that costs you money but the storage needed to keep it for years to protect yourself legally and provide records for clients who ask for it. By using a cloud based system, all your tours and reports are kept safely and indefinitely saving you a vast amount of effort and cost.
Understand "The Big Picture": By deploying TourTrax, you are collecting valuable information on which to do analytics. As an experienced security manager, you have a gut feel of where the issues are and how to deploy your staff. Wouldn’t be helpful to be able to validate your feelings with numbers? You will be able to see long term trends of just what type of issues are coming up at each client and deploy your force to better to deal with them. You will have a complete historic record of all tours and incidents so you can dig into specific details as well when you need to understand any issues around officer’s past performance
Better Employee Performance and Accountability: The truth is, people work better when they know they are being monitored. They are less likely to just skip that one hard place to get to in the middle of a rainstorm when they know you will easily find out. By deploying TourTrax, you are sending a clear message to your employees that you care that they are doing a good job. You are also providing them with a tool that will make it easier for them- a win-win situation!
Choosing the Right Hardware
There are two main types of Guard Tour systems, those based on proprietary hardware (often referred to as “wands”), and those based on smartphone technology. Our unique and highly flexible TourTrax.NET GTS web-based software platform caters to both.
In the case of a wand-based system, the checkpoints are typically RFID tags or steel “buttons”. Each button or tag contains a microchip with a unique serial number ID.Since they are the only form of input, the officer will have a personal button/tag to login/start, then will perform the patrol reading the checkpoints at each location visited. If there is an incident, he might be able to classify it using a different set of buttons specifically programmed for incidents. These devices are only designed to read buttons- there is no way to capture any other details of an incident. By the end of the patrol, or after several patrols, the wand needs to either communicate over a network or be connected to a computer (by means of a “Downloader” device) directly so the information can be transferred locally or to the cloud for reporting purposes.
In the case of a smartphone based system, the checkpoints are either QR/Barcodes or NFC tags. NFC tags work similarly to RFID in that they each have a unique ID that cannot be duplicated, while QR codes and barcodes are easier to reproduce and copy. In contrast to the buttons, however, location specific information and interactive elements can ALSO be associated with the NFC tag. When the checkpoint is read by the phone, information such as instructions, memos, digital forms and checklists can be sent to the user to view and complete as required. This really has a huge advantage in terms of training, and the officer can then enter details or even take pictures as needed. This data is sent in real-time over the internet to the cloud for reporting. With this solution, you combine simplified communication, efficient training and accountability with ease of use. That's not counting the smartphone's most obvious feature- it's a phone and therefore can be used to replace the need for carrying radios!
When deciding which path to take, you really have to look at several issues such as cost, durability and functionality. Wand based systems have one real advantage in that they are custom built and therefore rugged by design. On the other hand, smartphones offer a lot more in terms of functionality in that they have a screen, interactive capability, are connected full time to the internet, and have useful built-in hardware such as GPS and cameras.The ruggedness concern of a phone can often be mitigated by putting it in a suitable case.