The WhosOnLocation Blog

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Tighten up your on-site security with WolScan

3 minutes read time

WolScan adds a further layer of security to your on-site visitor management. Our recent user interface update makes the scanning process simple and quick. Learn more about how to make your visitors’ registrations more efficient by using WolScan.

What is WolScan?

WolScan is an iPhone/iPad app that allows you to quickly and securely capture and register your visitor’s identity by scanning their photo ID. The information is automatically uploaded to your WhosOnLocation account, to either sign in as a new visitor or update an existing/pre-registered profile. There is no need to enter the details manually which speeds up the process for your front-of-house team.

Why use it?

For any organization that is security conscious, it is critical to ensure that only those with permission have gained on-site access.

By scanning your visitor’s photo ID you validate their identity and reduce the risk of unauthorized entry, making sure that your company property, information, and employees are protected. 

Imagine a scenario where a file with sensitive information went missing or intentional damage was discovered on site. WolScan allows you to keep a verified record of who has had access to your premises.  It is also an excellent way to reassure your auditors and insurance providers that you have a valid visitor management process in place and you have done all that is necessary to mitigate risks.

How does it work?

To verify and register visitors simply scan their photo ID using the WolScan app on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 10 or higher. Once ready, the information is automatically uploaded and saved to your WhosOnLocation account. Simple, fast, and secure!

Which documents are compatible?

WolScan allows you to automatically upload the information from all passports. It also supports driver’s licenses from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

You can also scan generic photo IDs. The photo will be stored in your WhosOnLocation account, and you have the option to enter any other details from the photo ID that need to be retained.

How do I know the data is securely stored?

We take data privacy and security seriously. We are ISO 27001 certified and GDPR compliant. When using WolScan, the visitor information, including captured images, is sent directly to the WhosOnLocation server. No data is processed by a third party. You can also decide how long the visitor’s information is retained and set an automatic data deletion after a set period of time.

Ready to get started? 

WolScan is available to enable in your account today and is priced per device. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on getting started. 

New to WhosOnLocation?

Get started with a FREE 30 day trial today. No credit card required.

Read more.

4 minutes read time

Why Emergency Management is Important

In an emergency, having access to critical data of who and where people are within your organization can mean the difference between life and death. This is why it is extremely important to have an up to date evacuation plan to make sure you know who is on and off-site at all times. At WhosOnLocation, we want everyone to know that there is a safer way to manage emergency evacuations.  

Are you prepared?

If an evacuation or natural disaster were to happen at this very moment would you and your company be prepared to get out safely? If the answer is no, you need to do something about it before an evacuation event becomes a reality. The problem with evacuations is that no one knows when they are going to happen, therefore we always have to be prepared to the best of our ability. 

To prepare for an emergency you must have a plan in place that can vary if needed due to the unknown nature of the event that can occur. Here are four steps that will help you create a well-constructed plan for an emergency evacuation:

1. Mitigation and Prevention:

Prevention is the most important step of all. If this step is done well, the less damage control that will need to take place in the future. Ask yourself – what can I do to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury/damage to people and property?

2. Preparedness:

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Plan for the absolute worst-case scenario so you are ready for anything. Appoint emergency roles such as floor wardens, and have regular drills and trainings.

3. Response:

Follow the emergency plan (evacuation steps, communication, and leadership roles) but allow for flexibility when necessary.

4. Recovery:

Provide a supportive environment post-emergency, deal with any post-emergency communications, and discuss learnings. This will loop back into Mitigation & Prevention and inform the plan for future crises.

Emergency Management Technology

Our emergency management tool WolEvac helps you account for everyone on-site in the case of an emergency. You can track cleared zones, allow people to self-verify their safety via SMS, view requests for help and monitor real-time evacuation progress all within the WolEvac mobile application.

WolEvac syncs a snapshot from your WhosOnLocation account of who is on-site at the time the evacuation event is created so first responders, wardens and safety marshals have accurate information about who is on-site in an emergency. These users will be able to share critical messages, view real-time verification progress and manually verify the safety of anyone on-site. This makes evacuations effective and easily managed in what can be a high-stress situation.

Why use it?

WhosOnLocation actively encourages businesses to use evacuation management technology to run evacuations. An effectively exercised and accessible emergency response plan can minimize the impacts of an emergency on employees, the environment, and infrastructure. It can make all the difference not only around emergency services response time but the general organization of evacuation events.  

The benefits of emergency management technology:

  • Inexpensive

WolEvac is included in all WhosOnLocation subscription so you don’t have to worry about any additional costs. 

  • Instant updates

When an emergency takes place, as soon as you create a “WolEvac Event” it takes a snapshot of who is on/offsite at the time. This critical information will account for everyone, making it easier to ensure their safety.

  • Efficiency

It is simply more efficient. Businesses are constantly changing, therefore, there is a need to maintain up-to-date response plans so you are always prepared. This technology will remove the time-consuming administration and eliminate repeat updates.

Get testing!

Use this chance to ensure your emergency processes and procedures are as effective as they can be before an emergency event happens. The risk from natural disasters, not to mention building fires and other events, is real, and there is a good chance your office building will have to be evacuated at some stage. Don’t leave the safety of those you are responsible for to chance.

Implement visitor/evacuation management technology today and make sure everyone is accounted for in an emergency.

4 minutes read time

Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Printing – Which Is Right For Your Organization? 

Have you ever wondered if your organization is better suited to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi printing? So have many of our customers. To ensure we have options to meet our customer’s needs we’ve recently added Bluetooth to our printing capability. 

To help you decide if Bluetooth or Wi-Fi printing is best for you we’ve pulled together the benefits of each. 

 

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth uses a low power wireless network to connect devices within close range. The maximum range for Bluetooth is ten meters and the devices have to be in the same room – walls and objects could cause interference. Bluetooth networks have the advantage of being easy to maintain because all you need is two Bluetooth compatible devices. No routers or other networking equipment is necessary.

Using Bluetooth printing would be ideal for smaller companies that have a weak wireless network that isn’t reliable enough or if it is difficult to connect to your printer due to your company’s high level of security. 

Benefits of printing with Bluetooth

Free up your Wi-Fi network

Is your Wi-Fi network working overtime? Free up some space (and hopefully gain some more speed) by moving your printers to Bluetooth instead. 

Avoid connection loss and drop outs.

It is not uncommon for Wi-Fi printers to have connection problems. Depending on your situation Bluetooth connections could have less interference, especially if they are within the ten-meter range.

Print it right the first time

Wi-Fi printers can have slow print times and print errors if the network is busy, if there is interference in the network or if there is low signal strength. Bluetooth will print quickly and efficiently without any interference. 

Set up printing in seconds

Wi-Fi printing can be quite complicated and time-consuming to set up, especially if your organization has a particularly secure network to navigate. Need to get up and running quickly? It might be easier to use Bluetooth. 

Easily fixed when problems occur

Bluetooth is less technical than Wi-Fi, therefore, it is easier to locate the issue should something go wrong or your printer stops working.  

Save Power

Bluetooth may save your battery life because it has lower power consumption.

 

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi printers are accessible over a Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi normally uses a similar radio band to Bluetooth, but with more power. Devices that connect over a Wi-Fi network must be within about 100 meters of a central wireless access point, though with repeaters the range can be greatly extended. Generally speaking, if your computers all have decent access to the Internet over Wi-Fi, they should have no problems accessing a Wi-Fi printer, provided that the printer is within range of the Wi-Fi router as well.

Wi-Fi is ideal for companies that have a strong wireless connection and a secure and easy way to connect to the printer. 

Benefits of printing with Wi-Fi 

Greater signal range available with Wi-Fi.

You can be further away or have more options of where to put your printer because of the bigger range available with Wi-Fi. With multiple access points, the signal range can be extended.

Print directly from handheld devices 

It gives you the ability to print directly from handheld devices such as tablets and mobile devices.

Set up

Set up is more complicated the first time around, but once it’s up and running, you won’t have to do it again.

 

Comparing the specs

  Bluetooth Wi-Fi
Hardware requirement Bluetooth capability or adaptor on all the devices you are wanting to connect.  Wireless adaptors on all the devices of the network, a wireless router and/or wireless access points.
Range 0-10 meters With 802.11b/g the typical range is 32 meters indoors and 95 meters (300 ft) outdoors. 802.11n has a greater range. 2.5GHz Wi-Fi communication has a greater range than 5GHz. Antennas can also increase range.
Power consumption Low  High
Ease of use Fairly simple to use. It can be used to connect up to seven devices at a time. It is easy to switch between devices or find and connect to any device. Complex and requires the configuration of hardware and software.

 

Which is better?

So which is right for your organization? There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to choosing between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for your organization’s printing needs. The decision will come down to your company’s situation – the security level of your organization’s network and the strength of the Wi-Fi connection being the main factors.  For more information on how to set up a Bluetooth printer visit our helpdesk. 

 

 

5 minutes read time

The Future of Facilities Management

Technology makes it possible for facility managers to apply additional accuracy, simplicity, and efficiency to almost every function within a building. HVAC optimization, space planning and equipment analysis are just a few ways technology could improve energy consumption and increase productivity levels within your workplace. The majority of buildings have not yet reached a high level of efficiency but this is the direction facilities management is heading in.

What’s Trending?

Facial recognition 

Facial recognition is an application that helps identify a person more securely than a password. It has become a rising trend especially ever since Apple released the new iPhone X that allows you to use your face as the digital password. Aside from unlocking your smartphone, facial recognition will speed up your processing and enhance your security by eliminating human error.

The Cloud

Moving virtualized workloads to the cloud, or cloud migration is either a reality or a near term goal for the majority of businesses. It has become very popular to have your business in the cloud because it simply works better than on-premise. However, the main drivers of cloud migration are disaster recovery, ease of management, and archival. The cloud has also come along way in recent years, businesses can now feel at ease when migrating to these servers because it is no longer a risky product – it is highly reliable and available. 

Privacy policy 

With the introduction of GDPR in 2018, it’s now more important than ever to keep your data protected. It has become a huge issue in our society that no one knows who has access to their data and how it is being used. GDPR was a huge step in the right direction but what else can be done to ensure our customers their data is protected? ISO 27001 certification demonstrates that your company is following information security best practice, and provides an independent, expert verification that information security is managed in line with international best practice and business objectives. 

The Future!

Technology is far better at predicting behavior than the human mind which is why it’s no surprise that the most prominent theme throughout all future FM functions is predictability. Through accurate data facility managers will be able to predict energy consumption, heating and cooling needs, equipment breakdowns, and even what areas need more cleaning attention. It’s hard to even imagine such an efficient and organized workplace but this is the direction that we are heading in and has already been achieved in some high profile cases. Here are just a few things that will be implemented into buildings in the near future:

M&V

Energy monitoring and measurement and verification (M&V) is a great example of AI because it takes what can be a very complex set of calculations (creating a building’s performance model) and automates them. Then, new variables, like weather and occupancy, can be used to provide energy consumption estimates using the same model.

HVAC optimization

AI can provide cost savings by pre-cooling or preheating a building in the early mornings based on calendars, meetings, and historic occupancy data. The building’s HVAC system would start early in the morning, when energy is less expensive, and begin cooling or heating the space for the day ahead, all without human intervention.

Equipment analysis

Pulling data from complex machines found in buildings can be overwhelming for facility managers. However, when these data streams are analyzed by an AI solution it will be easier to identify trends. This analysis could indicate a high likelihood of failure based on the condition of the equipment and estimations of operating use. This will give the facility team enough time to plan upcoming maintenance, reduce unexpected equipment outages, add predictability to the budget, and keep occupants comfortable.

Cleaning management

Staff typically clean all occupied spaces regularly and to the same standard. This approach is appropriate for busy spaces that are consistently used. However, with more flexibility in how occupants interact with spaces, some spaces will likely be used more than others. There is an opportunity for spaces to be cleaned only when they need it, based on actual use. 

WhosOnLocation is constantly evolving and innovating to make your business the safest and most secure it can be. Here are just a few things we are doing to make this happen:

  • WhosOnLocation has a near term goal of moving to cloud computing with AWS. AWS is the largest and most dynamic ecosystem with millions of active users and tens of thousands of partners globally. It has also been architected to be the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today and is innovating at an unmatched pace. This is why it is safe to say we’ll be in good hands when we make the move to cloud computing. 
  • Apart from becoming GDPR compliant WhosOnLocation is also heading towards becoming ISO-27001 certified. After passing our first internal audit with flying colors we are well on our way to achieving this goal. 
  • WOLScan adds a further layer of security to the way you greet, manage and maintain your on-site security. Using the app, you can automatically capture visitors’ information by simply scanning their passport, driver’s license or generic photo ID information at sign-in. The photo will be automatically stored in your WhosOnLocation account, and you have the option to enter any other details from the photo ID that need to be retained.

4 minutes read time

If it’s not broke, maintain it!

Facility management involves identifying maintenance needs, prioritizing deferred maintenance, and strategizing for long-term building and equipment requirements.  However, instead of proactively managing the growing list of maintenance, many organizations take the approach that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. This could be the result of ignorance or the fact that they just simply can’t be bothered. Either way, it is not a good approach. Preventative maintenance (PM) will help prevent the costly and timely emergencies that will inevitably happen without one.

Starting and maintaining an effective PM program is not a short-term fix. A successful program takes time and conviction to stay on course until reactive maintenance work begins to diminish as a result of the PM efforts taking effect. Here are some tips you should follow if you want to start and maintain a successful PM program.

Change the culture

One of the leading problems maintenance professionals are faced with is the culture and lack of support in their organizations. This is a consequence of the underlying problem of poor leadership. Maintenance generally is only talked about when things go wrong when production stops, or worse, someone gets hurt. Managers need to create a leadership culture with strong beliefs about workplace accountability and discipline on preventative maintenance. More often than not discipline and accountability are the two components that are missing. For a PM program to work the leaders have to execute both components well to get everyone else on board; it all starts at the top.

Set goals and reach them

The most effective way to begin developing procedures for PM programs is to start with the end in mind. PM programs should reflect an organization’s future goals and integrate best practices of planning, implementation, and evaluation. Start simple, raising the goals as you go. To keep employees accountable insert the PM goals into their annual performance appraisals. Tie their raises and bonuses directly to performance. You will be surprised at how fast the PM program grows and improves as a result.

Schedule maintenance and stick to it

Managers should never allow a late or canceled PM procedure. Discipline and accountability are exactly what you will need to achieve this seemingly impossible task. This will be difficult as you will still be dealing with ongoing emergencies because you are still putting preventative measures in place, but it needs to happen. Once you get past this difficult period you will begin to reap the benefits.

Focus on the team

Develop a dedicated PM team, or at least allocate a percentage of weekly man-hours to PM procedures. This process is a simple way to keep managers and supervisors from pulling people away from PM work and assigning them to emergencies and other reactive work every time an emergency arises. This step must have some discipline and accountability designed into it, or it will fail.

Measure maintenance

Develop performance measures for your PM process with an emphasis on measuring the amount of PM work completed compared to all other work. World-class PM programs represent 60% or more of all maintenance activity, and firefighting is not a daily challenge. Total PM hours should be the highest percentage of all the department’s maintenance work.

Depend on data

Information can help managers determine the best approach when it comes to motivating employees to get on track with a well-run PM program. When you add up all of the costs involved in emergency and reactive maintenance work, it would generally cost a lot more than PM work would. That factor alone should be enough motivation to establish an effective PM program.

Preventative maintenance programs help organizations improve quality, reduce costs, increase equipment uptime, increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and more. The focus shifts from reacting to problems and a “keep it running” ideology to performance analysis and continuous process improvement.

Whatever the excuse is that your organization uses to avoid a PM program, it’s time to start thinking about ways to overcome it and begin to embrace a proactive approach.

 

Use this facility assessment checklist to get you started:

 

 

 

7 minutes read time

Trail talk – the best ideas usually start with dirt: An interview with our Chief Technology Officer, Tom Peck. 

Regular exercise isn’t just good for your health, it could benefit your company as well!

In order for a business to thrive, we need our employees to thrive and it all starts with health and wellbeing. In recent years a health and wellbeing workplace culture has become a core focus for organizations in an attempt to increase productivity levels. 

Like most SaaS companies, there are multiple problems to solve on a day to day basis, which becomes relatively difficult if you’re sitting at a desk, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This is why our Chief Technology Officer, Tom Peck, is an advocate of creating a work culture that promotes health and wellbeing. Read the interview to see how regular exercise could benefit you individually, and your company.

Would your company benefit from health and wellbeing programs within the workplace? 

I sat down with Tom to discuss how he manages stress, thinks up ideas, and solves problems all with a little help of daily exercise. 

You’re running 60 – 70 kilometers each week, do you think the distance you run makes a difference?

To be honest, it is completely dependent on the amount of time I have during the day, but generally, the more I run the more time I have to think. I can create more ideas and solve more problems the longer I run. 

Would you say that running has a positive impact on your life?

Most definitely. It’s only been 3 years since I really started to become consistently active and I have nothing but benefited from it. I think more clearly, I am less stressed and most importantly I can eat what I like (laughs). 

Would you now say that running has become a necessity in your life? 

A lot of my time is spent sitting down during the day because it involves being in front of a computer or in a meeting room. This is why I need to get outside to do some form of exercise, otherwise, I’ll go crazy. Therefore, I do think it’s a necessity because I wouldn’t be able to do my job as well as I can without exercise. It is important to me to continually grow professionally but also make sure I have a healthy lifestyle so I can keep up with my three young kids! 

Do you actively think about ideas or do they just pop into your head when you run?

Well because I am running in part to create these ideas and solve problems the answer would be yes I do actively think about ideas. However, there are times where I would purely run for leisure, to clear my head rather than think about work. Both scenarios benefit work because if I am not thinking about work on my run, I have a clear head to carry on the day. It’s not always perfect, however, at times I forget what the great ideas were if they come early in a run so you have to come up with ways of remembering them – turning them into a mantra can help!

Is the problem solving and idea creation better when you run with Andrew (Chief Security Officer) or by yourself?

When we have a problem that relates to both of us it is definitely better to run together and share our thoughts. We are constantly bouncing ideas off each other, even if they don’t end up sticking, it’s a great way to work through complicated technical problems. 

Have you always used running to solve a problem?

Running is sometimes just a way of switching off and putting off problems. Some days I’ll run at a leisurely pace to think about the issues we currently have and other days I’ll be more focused on the running, making sure I don’t twist an ankle and building up my endurance for an up and coming race. I haven’t always used running, as it has only really been 2-3 years since I started running consistently. Now that I do use running to help solve problems, I’ll never look back.

Do you find other forms of exercise helpful or is it just running that gives you the best ideas?

Just running really. I do also have a bike that I use to get to and from work but that is to get from A to B rather than ideas and problem-solving. Obviously, I have to be more alert when I am on the road so realistically it isn’t the best time to be in a daydream. 

Do you notice a difference with your mood or stress levels when you haven’t been for a run in a while?

Yes absolutely. As I mentioned before when I go for a run to just run, I am able to think more clearly when I am at work, which is a good way to relieve stress. I feel less grounded if I haven’t gone on a run. Having three young kids at home can also be stressful, therefore running is a good way to take the edge off.

What immediate benefits do you get from running regularly:

  1. I have a lot more energy.
  2. Eat what I like.
  3. Feel more focused because of the way you feel after a run. 
  4. The more you do it, the more addicted you get. It has now become an outside of work hobby of mine. As addictions go, it’s one of the better ones!

What benefits do you think the company gets from you promoting a healthier work culture? 

It encourages other team members to get on board. We currently have most of the development team joining in on the lunchtime runs and a number of employees join in on the out of work activities like when we completed the mud run over the past 3 years. It is really good for team bonding as a team we’re definitely showing signs of improvement as our productivity has increased from last year (since introducing a health and wellbeing workplace culture). We still have a bit of work to do with the other teams at WhosOnLocation to get them into the hills at lunchtime (laughs), but it shows that it can help within the company so its something I’ll remain persisted on! 

Do you think age is a factor when it comes to staying fit and healthy?

No, I don’t. As I got older the fitter and faster I’ve become and the more important it is. But it’s not really about speed, it’s about getting out there to give you time to reset and think more clearly. Running also shows that the more time and effort you put into something the better it becomes. It has taken me four years of progression to reach number 1 in the mud run (Wellington Tough Guy & Gal Challenge) (16th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st). This is exactly how we work at WhosOnLocation – iterative processes of incremental improvements. 

The thing I love about running is the simplicity of it. All you need is a good pair of shoes and some local trails to run around. We are very fortunate to be based in Wellington, New Zealand and be surrounded by amazing hills and greenery. The next race I have planned showcases a number of these – the WUU2K (Wellington Urban Ultra) which Andrew and myself are both competing in. 

Try WhosOnLocation for 30 days.

4 minutes read time

Why you should be using webhooks

Webhooks can be an overwhelming concept, however, they can be an extremely powerful method of data transfer, allowing your online applications to communicate with each other in real time. This means webhooks will automatically send data as soon as a specific event happens, without the need to request or wait for it.

Webhooks have proven to be a very useful tool with dozens of applications, across several different industries. With web automation apps like Zapier, which support hundreds of apps, you can effectively implement webhooks into your applications to make the management of data easier and more efficient.

Webhooks vs. API’s

First of all, webhooks are simply more efficient. Webhooks are sometimes referred to as reverse API’s because data can be transferred in real-time without any lag, rather than polling API’s for the latest updates. An API is a good way to communicate between applications when you need to ask a question, but if you want to be notified when something has changed it becomes inefficient. A webhook-enabled API would be more methodical as it will automatically transfer data when there is new data to send, saving your system valuable resources.

For example, a feature on your sign-in and out application could include contacts, each of which has a name, email address, and phone number. As soon as someone new signs into your building, a new contact is added to your application. However, another application may want to use that data to either send a text message, look up their email address, or back up the contact data. Whatever it is, without a way to alert these applications when a new contact is added, you force them to constantly poll for new data which is inefficient and unsustainable.

How can webhooks benefit you?

When analyzing data, it is important to work with up-to-date information and data. The frequency of your API would limit this, as information isn’t updated in real time. Webhooks, however, give you the option to update the information instantly, while still being able to request your API’s for more information if needed.

It is worth noting that webhooks are used for sending information, whereas our API can be used to update or change information. For example, when someone signs in, a webhook will send information to another system to let it know that this specific event has happened. This system will then use our API to get more information about that event and update information as required.

Are webhooks hard to set up?

You’re probably thinking that webhooks must be difficult to set up, but in actual fact, webhooks are incredibly easy to create, much easier than building an API.  

When would you use webhooks?

To give you a better idea of when webhooks would be useful, here are some ideas:

WhosOnLocation

With WhosOnLocation, any data associated with a sign-in event can be sent using a webhook. Some examples of what your third-party applications can do with the data include:

  • sending arrival and departure notifications via Slack,
  • opening doors and gates via an access control system
  • recording sign in and out information for time and attendance applications
  • sending additional information to guests such as the Wi-Fi password or health and safety information.

It is also possible to use webhooks to connect WhosOnLocation to the internet of things (IoT). An example of this could be when the first person signs into the office the lights, heating or even the coffee machine will automatically turn on. The possibilities are endless!

Google Sheets

Webhooks can connect WhosOnLocation to Google Sheets through Zapier. Next time a visitor signs in, you will be able to keep track of and use the information they give you to update your spreadsheets. This could be anything from email addresses to the hours your employees worked.

MailChimp

If you are looking to grow your marketing mailing list when people sign in, MailChimp could be the integration you need. In order to do this, you will need to create a custom question at the Kiosk asking the visitor if they want to be added to the mailing list. The webhook will then automatically update MailChimp with the new email address, ready for a new email to be sent out without having to enter addresses in manually.

Webhooks are the only practical way to get up-to-the-second access to new data. Webhooks allow pre-requested information to be passed to other applications when the specific event occurs, in comparison to manually polling API’s for new information. This will add value to your systems because it will give you the ability to connect third-party applications through Zapier, saving time and increasing efficiency in your workplace.

4 minutes read time

3 Ways to make your reception safe and welcoming

A busy reception with employees, contractors, visitors, and deliveries passing through can quickly become chaotic – and a chaotic environment can quickly become unsafe. Whether you have a full team of front-of-house staff or a small, unmanned reception area, here are some simple ways to make your reception a calm, welcoming and safe environment.

1. Remove the language barrier

As the world of business becomes more international, the need to communicate clearly is more important than ever.  Whether your facility is a manufacturing plant, a construction site or a small office, the chances are you’ll welcome employees, contractors or visitors from overseas at one stage or another.

The use of a multi-language guest sign-in/out system like WhosOnLocation can improve safety in your workplace by ensuring clear communication. Depending on why your guests are visiting, they could be asked to read and answer a number of questions, be made aware of on-site risks, complete an induction and/or sign an NDA to ensure their safety while on-site.

It’s important that any information you are asking a guest to read, understand and sign is properly answered and understood. Your Security or Health & Safety Team is responsible for ensuring policies and procedures are followed by everyone on-site, so remove the language barrier and induct your visitors in their native language.

Multi-language is especially helpful if you have a small, unmanned reception area. Visitors signing in through your self-serve Kiosk can easily switch between your default language and any of the other languages without the need of front-of-house staff to guide them through the sign-in/out process.

WhosOnLocation Multi-Language feature offers 11 different languages for signing in via a self-service Kiosk or with the front-of-house team

2. Create a welcoming space

Keep the front desk looking professional and tidy by digitizing your processes and keeping traditional ‘paperwork’ to a minimum (or removing it altogether). A well-organized, digital filing system can help your front-of-house stay efficient (and tidy!).

With multiple deliveries passing through a reception daily, it’s important to ensure mail doesn’t clutter the front desk or pose a trip hazard for your employees and guests. A system that allows your delivery agents to sign in packages is a game changer for front-of-house teams.

A good delivery system will:

  • Allow the delivery agent to register the delivery via a self-serve kiosk, leave it in a designated area and be in and out of your organization quickly
  • Automatically alert the recipient that a delivery is ready to collect
  • Help prevent deliveries from building up in the guest waiting area
  • Free your front-of-house team to focus on other tasks.

3. Pre-register guests

Pre-registering guests is a great way to help your front-of-house team manage their time, and create a fantastic visitor experience for your guests.

Empowering your team to pre-register their own guests when arranging and sending a meeting invite allows the front-of-house team to prepare for visitors in advance, pre-printing visitor badges, organizing parking or keys and equipment needed while on-site.  

Your front-of-house team are not the only ones who are empowered with the right information when pre-registering a guest; so are your guests. When pre-registering a guest, you can also send a pre-meeting email, including:

  • Google maps showing the location
  • Nearby or on-site parking options  
  • Where to find the nearest cafe
  • Where to go when they arrive on-site
  • QR code for ease of signing in at an unmanned reception

WhosOnLocation has an extensive list of features with each subscription; including multi-language, deliveries and guest pre-registration. Give your front-of-house team the tools they need to make the best customer experience and ensuring your guests have all the information they need up front.  

Take a free 30 day trial of WhosOnLocation and revolutionize the way you welcome guest on-site.

3 minutes read time

3 Ways To Keep Your Sign-In Process Secure

Last month, visitor management became a hot topic as IBM posed some questions around Kiosk and reception security.

Here at WhosOnLocation, security concepts and techniques have been integral to our design right from the beginning. We continue to invest heavily in security improvements and we regularly carry out security audits, including third-party audits.

Further to these robust processes, and in light of IBM’s recent findings, there are some steps you can take as a customer to make your sign-in process even more secure.

Capture Identifying Information

The first concern IBM raised is how easy it might be for a visitor to sign-in without any identifying information. The WhosOnLocation application offers a setting for “host badge pass authorization”, requiring the host to verify the visitor before their pass can be printed. Your WhosOnLocation administrator can turn this feature on for you.

For further security, we also offer WolScan.

ID scanning for visitor management

This WhosOnLocation add-on provides an extra layer of security to the sign-in process. Using the app, the host can scan a visitor’s passport, driver’s license or other photo ID to capture their information and verify their identity.

Get granular with your access rights

The second concern IBM raised is how easy it is to access other people’s information within a visitor management system.

At the Kiosk, access to the WhosOnLocation application is incredibly limited. Both employee and visitor privacy controls restrict the information available to users when signing in and out from a Kiosk.

In addition to this, no data is stored on the Kiosk itself, so if a visitor was able to gain access to the device, they wouldn’t be able to retrieve any of your WhosOnLocation employee or visitor data.

Within the WhosOnLocation application itself, all access to data is governed by access rights and every user attempting to access your WhosOnLocation account is authenticated by username and password.

So how can you further secure this information? Your WhosOnLocation administrator can define granular access privileges to individual users, so make sure you use this feature. Be selective with who can access data, and make sure only essential access is granted to each user.

Secure your Kiosk

Lastly, IBM questioned is how easy it is for a visitor to break out of the application at the Kiosk and interact with the operating system.

Even if your hardware only hosts your visitor management software, giving visitors access to the operating system could pose a security threat. If a visitor is able to exit the application, there’s a chance they could use tools to install remote access malware.

We’ve been looking into the best way to secure your Kiosk by locking the screen to the application. While this process is quick and easy for iPads, Windows devices can be a little trickier to secure, and may require the help of your organization’s IT team.

To help you on your way, we’ve updated our helpdesk article.

Try WhosOnLocation for 30 days.

3 minutes read time

6 Ways Technology Can Improve Safety & Security In Your Facility

On April 28, the International Labour Organisation will look back over 100 years of progress for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This year, there’ll be a clear focus on the future of occupational safety. How can you use new technology to make your workplace safer than ever before?

Here at WhosOnLocation, we dedicate our working lives to answering this question. So if you’re looking to update your safety procedures, you’ve come to the right place. 

1. Use people-tracking software

The first step you can take to secure your facility is to use people-tracking software. Applications like WhosOnLocation can not only help you understand who’s on-site in real time, but they can track which zones they’re in, too.

So when you need to account for your employees and visitors, you know the information is all in one place.

2. Keep your lone workers safe with an app

Whichever way you define a lone worker, the chances are you’ll need special processes to keep them safe.

A variety of apps offer an easy solution for keeping tabs on lone workers. For example, WhosOnLocation includes features like mobile sign-in, GPS geolocation and lone worker reporting. If you’re interested in finding the right app for your workers, take a look at our guide here.

3. Centralise your contractors’ documentation

Keeping track of when a contractor’s insurances, qualifications or induction processes need updating can be difficult in any organization. With WhosOnLocation, you can grant your contractors access to the Service Provider Portal, so they can fill in their own details. You’ll also receive notifications when their documentation needs renewing, so you know you’ll always be on top of contractor safety. Even better – these automated updates will save you some time, too. 

4. Use Photo ID Scanning to verify a visitor’s identity

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”9190″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In high security organizations, just signing a visitor in using their name might not be enough. With WolScan, you can add an extra layer of security to the sign-in process by capturing the information from your visitor, contractor or employee’s ID card.

Not only does this allow the host to better verify the identity of those coming into the facility, it also makes sign-in a lot faster!

5. Make safety inductions more engaging with interactive training

The OSHA rules and regulations can be a stiff read, so it’s important to make your safety inductions as interesting as possible. We recommend using engaging formats – whether that’s induction videos, tasks or even interactive training modules.

One option is to use WhosOnLocation to create an eLearning Induction Course. You can even set restrictions using triggers, so anyone who’s failed to complete the course is unable to enter the organization.

6. Get your evacuations running like clockwork with collaborative, cloud-based apps

OSHA warns that workplace emergencies are often more common than people think, so it’s important to have a robust evacuation plan in place.

Employers need to be able to account for everyone on site quickly and easily during an evacuation to minimise risk. This can be tricky, especially if your employees and visitors are working across a multi-zoned or multi-level site.

By using a cloud-based evacuation app, you’ll be able to work collaboratively with other floor wardens or safety marshals to verify the safety of everyone on-site.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

6 minutes read time

SaaS Stories: What happens when users hate your shiny new release?

Like most SaaS companies, we use the Agile framework to develop features and release them into the wild.

We’ll get a customer request for an enhancement and it will go through to the Agile team, who will then decide whether or not we’ll build it.

If yes, we’ll include it in the backlog, formulate a sprint, test it, write up documentation, and release it into production.

But it’s not how we build the features that’s important, nor is it the speed to market, or the efficiency or our development team… it’s why we’re building them in the first place.

And sometimes even if you get the “why” right, you can still get it wrong in development… as our Head of Technology, Tom Peck, learned in 2018.

What happens when it doesn’t work?

We chatted to Tom Peck, Head of Technology, to hear about some of WhosOnLocation’s ups and downs in Product Development.

Do you have a feature that didn’t work so well?

TOM: It would probably be “Inter-Zone” (April, 2018).

As a bit of background, when we’re developing WhosOnLocation, we have to consider MLP (Minimum Likeable Product). What this means to us is that to release something that is bare bones it still has to be complete and be “liked” by our customers. It can’t be something half-baked. On the flip side, it shouldn’t be so over-engineered that the release is overly complex and people struggle with it.

“Our team were so focused on having their heads down making sure existing Kiosks continued unaffected by the release that we failed to see the complex beast that we had created.”

Why would you say Inter-Zone didn’t succeed?

TOM: So yeah, unfortunately with our “Inter-Zone” release, we went down the over-engineered route. What started off as a simple improvement to Kiosks (to allow for people who are currently on-site to switch zones via an Inter-Zone Kiosk) ended up being a massive rebuild of Kiosks, a complex data migration and an introduction of sophisticated zone-based rules to the mix.

Funnily enough though, as time went on we started to realize that Inter-Zone actually fixed a lot of bugs. As with all software development companies, we have a backlog of bugs to address.

The development of [Inter-Zone] spanned many months, numerous sprints and multiple workshops. After the release, as we started working through the bug backlog, we found a number of them were no longer reproducible and were therefore “fixed by Inter-Zone”. This phrase has stuck with us with and become a meme for any bug that can no longer be reproduced – “perhaps it was fixed by Inter-Zone?!”

And what learnings did you take from that?

TOM: The Inter-Zone release was met with excitement but also some confusion by our existing customers. Not only had we introduced the concept of “Inter-Zone” we had also introduced the concept of zone-based rules – allowing a Kiosk to be configured with a specific set of questions based on the zone and location a guest was visiting. Our team were so focused on having their heads down making sure existing Kiosks continued unaffected by the release that we failed to see the complex beast that we had created.

Upon reflection and after receiving a number of struggling customer queries, we took a step back and with a few small tasks we were able to revise the setup and configuration process, greatly simplifying the interface.

What recent feature has been the most successful?

TOM: I would actually have to say that our best feature so far has been Inter-Zone too. [Laughs]

And why do you think it was such a success?

TOM: Once we learned from the initial release and ironed out the issues, it’s actually been a really successful release. We knew our customers wanted it, and they were really excited when we initially released it. It was just too confusing. We can tell it’s working a million times better now by the number of queries and requests for support, and by the kinds of things our users are asking.

It’s also just objectively a much better user experience. We realized we had been looking at UX “frame-by-frame” rather than considering the user’s journey through the whole feature.

So now it’s a Minimum Likeable Product?

TOM: Several iterations later we definitely believe so! This is why we love what we do. We can release, take a step back, gather feedback, iterate, release again and repeat. You can’t get it right the first time, every time!

How to build a feature your customers will love

The #1 most important question is:

What value will this feature have for users?

Ultimately, our product boils down to 3 key benefits for users…

  • It saves them time
  • It enhances their site security
  • It makes their site safer

And every feature we build must give the users value in at least one of those key areas.

For example, we have recently released ID Scanning. The benefits of this feature are:

  1. To make it faster for people to enter their details; and
  2. To improve security (so that our customers know that people are who they say they are).

If lots of people request a feature or product, that’s a really good indicator that a significant chunk of our customers will use it – the higher the benefit and customer demand, the higher priority.

Where we can, we’ll also include some customers in the process to get feedback on user experience as we go. Sometimes, if we’re considering building a big feature, we’ll survey our users before we begin the process to make sure we know what they want.

The #2 most important question is:

How will we measure the success of this feature?

The success of a feature can be measured by the number of people using it, and the reported impact of the feature (direct from customers themselves!).

When possible, we’ll ask our users what kind of impact our product (or a recently released feature) has made for them.

“Using WhosOnLocation has saved me at least 4 hours a day, the ROI speaks for itself”
– Shanyn Fox, Facility Contract Coordinator,
Gold Coast Private Hospital

On the flipside, if the feature has low usage or we’ve received complaints or questions from confused users, we know there’s still work to be done.

And as we’ve learned, listening and reworking can bring back almost any feature from the reject bin!

Check out how Inter-Zone works:

About WhosOnLocation

WhosOnLocation provides people presence management software that monitors the safe and secure movement of people through buildings and work sites. Our powerful, cloud-based solution unites visitor, contractor, employee, and emergency management, enabling organizations to secure their facilities and ensure the safety of every person on-site.

Armed with a rich, unified source of people presence information, our users are empowered to make more strategic, data- driven decisions that mitigate risk, reduce overhead costs, and streamline operations.

WhosOnLocation serves organizations in 35 countries around the world, and manages over 13 million secure movements through thousands of locations each year.

Try WhosOnLocation for 30 days.

4 minutes read time

5 Ways To Make Your Site Inductions More Effective

As part of compliance and good governance, many organizations require employees and contractors to go through an induction process.

Inductions typically cover things like health and safety information, security policies, emergency procedures and a bit about the organization’s safety culture. You can also take the opportunity to talk about employee and contractor OSHA rights, how to report an injury or incident, and who to go to with feedback or concerns.

Inductions can be delivered via PowerPoint, paper-based course booklets, guided site walkthroughs or videos.

A good induction process will…

  • Create a positive opinion of your organization’s brand and safety culture
  • Make new employees and contractors feel welcomed
  • Help new employees and contractors get to know your organization
  • Clearly articulate policies and procedures
  • Address any FAQs

Here are 5 ways you can make your inductions more effective:

1. Use an induction management tool

If you’re still managing and running site inductions manually, consider using an induction management system or app. Instead of sending around new presentations and training documents to site induction managers whenever there’s an updated process or new regulation, you can simply make the changes in one place and know it’s ready to go straight away.

2. Make your inductions engaging and memorable

According to IWH researchers, “almost 80 percent of workers who were in their first year of employment could not remember receiving any workplace safety or orientation training.” Learning is more likely to be memorable when you use a variety of media (videos, images, quizzes etc) rather than just print-outs or a slideshow full of text.

New Zealand airline AirNZ is famous for its health and safety briefing videos – and the procedures really do stick!

3. Run inductions at sign-in (and include an option to let people complete inductions before they arrive on-site)

When you’re looking for an induction management system, choose one that integrates with your visitor management system (or better still, choose an application that combines both). This way, if it’s someone’s first time working on-site, they can go through the induction when they sign-in for the first time. You can also choose to send out an induction link so people can complete it before they even arrive on-site. This is a huge time-saver, especially if you have multiple contractors arriving on-site and not enough kiosks to go around!

4. Segment people and show tailored inductions

Use custom groups or segments to make inductions more relevant. Contractors and employees might see different inductions. And contractors working on off-site locations might see a different induction again. Making your inductions more tailored to the audience will help boost engagement and make the information more memorable.

5. Let people know what to do next

Beyond the induction, what are their next steps? For example, let people know if they will they need equipment training before they start work, when will this happen and who will be training them.

 Related: Employing a lone worker? Here are 10 apps that have got your back

Case Study: Gold Coast Private Hospital

Gold Coast Private Hospital have a large number of contractors coming in and out of their facilities on any given day of the year. They wanted to find a reliable cloud-based application to free up resources so they could focus on their day to day role and ensure accurate tracking and records.

The biggest benefit of implementing WhosOnLocation for GCPH has been gaining an efficiency in employee time of about 25 hours per week.

With the old paper based system, extra time was spent on-site completing paperwork. GCPH now send the induction link to the contractor prior to coming onsite as most have smartphones and can complete it before site arrival. It’s a win-win for both employees and contractors.

Read the full case study.

Try WhosOnLocation for 30 days.

Title image: Jesse Lora, NAVFAC (Source)

6 minutes read time

The Top 18 Facility Management Software 2019

Updated: March 2020

From keeping tabs on assets to managing incidents, here are 18 facility management software designed to give you data and reporting for compliance, operational visibility, and better decision-making.

More than ever before, organizations expect Facility Managers to drive value in efficiency and processes to reduce operations costs, drive sustainability initiatives, and improve health and safety on-site.

The challenge for Facility Managers? To maintain visibility over all these objectives and collect actionable data for decision-makers. Facility Managers who successfully collate data and create actionable insights can better identify problems and deliver strategic direction.

You can’t effectively manage operational data with notebooks, spreadsheets, and emails – especially if you’re a Facility Manager with a portfolio of buildings in multiple locations. And without a way to maintain accurate records, run meaningful reports and conduct expert analysis, your data has no strategic purpose.

The good news? Ever-advancing IoT and automation technology mean that Facility Managers can provide reporting for everything from visitor sign-ins to expired service provider qualifications.

Here are the 18 facility management software that will help you gain visibility of processes and generate meaningful insights from data.

Service Provider, Contractor and Vendor Management

Facility Managers are often under pressure to find service providers or vendors in a short time-frame. However, you still need to be confident that all requirements, like qualifications and insurance, are met. A contractor management system ensures you tick all the boxes before the contract begins.

Not only will it help you with the sourcing process, but it will also minimize the risk for existing service providers too. Your contractor management system will notify you when insurances are about to expire, or when contracts are up for renewal.

Benefits: Compliance, Safety, Security

Contractor Management Software & Apps

ServiceChannel
ServiceChannel provides Facilities Managers with a single platform to source, procure, manage, and pay for repair and maintenance services from commercial contractors across their enterprise.

WhosOnLocation: Contractor Management
Manage contractor presence in and out of all your sites, including remote locations and construction sites. Store contractor documents and ensure qualifications or inductions are valid and up-to-date.

ARCUS SIM
Designed to support a variety of contractor and contractor processes with the aims of maximizing the use of your established contractor base and protecting your organization from contractor-induced risk.

Nimblex
Nimblex features a complete audit trail of all user activity, automated contracts, as well as sophisticated reporting to provide transparency and control for managers.

 Related: 5 Ways To Make Your Site Inductions More Effective

Asset Management & Maintenance

Monitor asset maintenance schedules and costs, and receive notifications when an asset is performing below a certain efficiency level (or has malfunctioned). This way, you’ll minimize the risk of on-site injuries and have insight into the long-term value of assets.

Some asset management software can automatically send a service or maintenance request to an authorized contractor when an issue is detected.

Benefits: Safety, Cost-Reduction

Asset Management Software & Apps

Asset Panda
Asset Panda helps people track, manage, and support their assets throughout their life cycle. Their software is configured to the way our clients work, secure, and leverages the mobile devices your employees already carry.

MEX
The online platform provides a control center to effectively monitor anything & everything related to maintenance. Modules include an Asset Register, Requests, Work Orders, History, Preventative Maintenance, Inspections, Readings, and more.

Maximo
Maximo, when combined with the power of IoT data from people, sensors, and devices, can provide warning signals from assets. With this data, it also enables near real-time visibility into asset usage across multiple sites, extends the useful life of equipment, and more.

Visitor Management

Strengthen the security of your facilities and assets, and protect intellectual property by preventing unauthorized or threatening activity with robust visitor tracking and reporting.

Visitor management gives you visibility of people signing in and out of your facility while providing a slick brand experience. Some visitor management systems require additional hardware purchases, and others allow you to set up kiosks on existing computers or tablets.

Benefits: Compliance, Safety, Security, Brand Image

Visitor Management Software & Apps

Proxyclick
Proxyclick is a cloud-based visitor management solution suitable for small, midsize and large enterprises. Key features of Proxyclick include visitor registration, instant pictures, badge printing, instant notifications and reporting.

WhosOnLocation: Visitor Management
Ensure the safety and security of site visitors and meet compliance requirements. Make sure visitors have completed any relevant steps before being approved on-site, such as acknowledging hazards or signing any waivers or NDAs.

Sine
Sine is a cloud-based visitor management solution that serves small, midsize and large businesses. Key features of the solution include visitor registration, automatic notifications, badge printing, reporting and analytics.

The Receptionist for iPad
A cloud-based visitor management solution that serves businesses of all sizes across all industries. Primary features are visitor logs, visitor badges, visitor notifications (via SMS, email and Slack) and two-way communication with visitors.

Environment & Energy Management

A global shift to more responsible environmental practices is driving corporations to focus on energy consumption, water usage, carbon emissions. Facility Managers have been tasked with the monitoring and tracking of environmental data to assist strategic decision-making, compliance and cost savings.

Environment management software help Facility Managers manage processes, store documents (such as permits and and legals), track incidents and report on data all in one place.

Benefits: Cost-Reduction, Brand Image

Environment Management Software & Apps

Intelex
Effectively manage your organization’s environmental data and processes. Easily manage, track and report all of your environmental metrics, streamline environmental incident reporting, and facilitate compliance.

Gensuite
Manage key environmental aspects of air, water and waste compliance. Deploy a flexible waste and environmental management system to meet permitting requirements, equipped with pre-built reports to meet local, state and federal reporting regulations.

Airsweb
The Airsweb environmental software solution provides an effective, flexible business tool to record, report, and analyse resource consumption (e.g. water, energy and raw materials) and production output.

Incident & Emergency Management

Facility Managers need to work closely with Health & Safety and Human Resources to develop comprehensive emergency and incident processes. Whether the incident or emergency is safety- or security-related, you need to be able to account for everyone on-site and communicate mass updates.

Emergency management systems will give you visibility of what happened, at what time, and where. You’ll also be able to see who was verified safe and by whom. Run detailed reports on this data, post-incident, to provide valuable insights into the efficiency of your emergency procedures.

Benefits: Compliance, Safety, Security

Emergency Management Software & Apps

MissionMode
MissionMode Situation Center enables you to pre-populate your organization’s BCM plans, templates, contact lists, and more into an easy-to-use collaborative incident management solution that speeds communication, tracks progress, and simplifies project management.

WhosOnLocation: Emergency Management
Quickly and easily account for everyone in the event of an emergency with the mobile application. Track cleared zones, allow people to self-verify their safety via SMS, view requests for help and monitor real-time evacuation progress.

Veoci
An all-in-one emergency management software tailored to any organization’s specific needs. All of your emergency management tasks and responsibilities are streamlined with increased, real-time communication and situational awareness.

Smartplan (by TRP)
TRP’s proven web-based, database-driven approach will enable you to streamline and customize your company’s preparedness program based on “best practices”, company protocols, and regulatory requirements.