Emergency Management

Protect your people and assets with one smart platform


6 minutes read time

June 25, 2018

Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. Unless you do all your business on ledger paper and an abacus, it’s likely you know the constant pain of needing a new digital solution for this or that.

If you’ve noticed this, you might have noticed another interesting trend – the integration of everything. Look at solutions like Zapier or Station, apps with the primary function of connecting other apps.

This concept is going physical too. Or rather, what’s physical is going digital; we’re calling it the internet of things. The connectivity between machines, all integrated into one intelligent network. A network that’s expected to have more than 30 billion connected devices by 2020.

But where does this all fit in the safety and security landscape?

A growing need for safer, more secure buildings.

The global smart building market is expected to grow 34% between 2016 and 2024 – from a value of $5,800 million USD to $61,000 million USD. (Source: Zion Market Research).

Smart buildings have many benefits, from occupant comfort to reducing energy consumption. But perhaps the most important benefits to increasingly connected systems within our buildings are the advances in safety and physical security.

According to industry experts’ insights shared in the report, “intelligent security systems will be offering services that will be utilizing the latest technologies thus providing enhanced reliability.”

These systems will be embedded in the network of the building, expanding functionality and better protecting people and assets. An example of this in action is the integration of people presence management systems with physical access control.

 Related: WhosOnLocation + Brivo: Visitor registration meets access control

What is ‘people presence management’?

People presence management is a centralized system that encompasses the management of visitors, contractors, employees or incidents on-site. Visitor management is one component of people presence management software or cloud applications.

People presence management systems offer much more comprehensive safety and security features than its components can as standalone solutions. All in one system, you can run inductions, send live hazard awareness notifications, track and monitor lone workers and perform evacuations on a smartphone or tablet.

When integrated with an access control solution, the result is a powerful system suited to organizations with complex safety and security needs.

 Related: Why choose People Presence Management over Visitor Management?

Keep your facility safe and secure.

Visitor management, in some form, is accepted as a must-have in many industries. But tracking people who sign in and out is only one part of keeping a site safe and secure.

To ensure your workplace supports the safety and security of all employees, contractors and visitors, there is much more to consider, for example:

  • Hazard awareness, and safety training and/or site inductions where relevant
  • Qualification and permissions management, in particular for facilities with zones that require security clearance or additional safety training
  • Incident management, including things such as chemical spill protocol, live site hazard updates, or evacuations
  • The safety of people working alone, in isolated areas or after hours
  • The safety of people working off-site
  • Regular reporting of key safety and security metrics

The purpose of using a people presence management system is being able to centralize these functions, so that you can monitor them all in one place.

You can even set up alerts to notify you when something needs attention, for example if a lone worker has exceeded their expected duration in a freezer zone, or if a contractor has tried to enter a zone without the relevant safety training.

 Related: Employing a Lone Worker? Here are 10 apps that have got your back

Protect data, beyond cybersecurity.

An organization’s security is only as strong as its weakest link. A smart manufacturing facility might have ground-breaking cyber-security measures in place to protect confidential project information – but then use a paper-based sign-in sheet to check in visitors.

Any company serious about protecting their data needs to consider implementing a physical security system with zone access control above and beyond cybersecurity measures.

What does this look like? A people presence management system allows inter-zone kiosks to be set up at zone entry points, for example, the door to a server room. The system integrates with an access control system, and will only unlock the door if the person has the relevant permissions. If they don’t, security personnel will be notified that an unauthorized person tried to enter the server room.

 Related: Security: Reduce the threat of insider attacks

Comply with federal health and safety regulations.

To ensure the safety of every person throughout a facility or work site and meet U.S. regulations, organizations must have information about the identities and whereabouts of all visitors, contractors, and employees on-site.

A people presence management system helps organizations comply with federal health and safety regulations and serves to protect both the employer and the people in its duty of care.

Using a people presence management application, employers have central access to people presence data. This enables them to quickly and easily account for everyone in the event of an emergency. Additionally, floor wardens or emergency marshals can use the mobile evacuation function to track cleared zones, view requests for help, monitor real-time evacuation progress, and more. You can report on all this kind of information (and more) for post-incident reporting as well.

A note on GDPR compliance:
Make sure your solution allows you to be GDPR-compliant if you are processing data of EU residents. In fact, being GDPR-compliant is really best practice even if you’re not.

 Related: GDPR: What you need to know

The future of people presence management

Biometric authorization, AI answering visitors’ queries, coffee machines that make visitors a latté while they wait in reception… it’s all part of the future of people presence management. And it’s increasingly a reality with smart buildings already using integrating security systems.

Our vision is for a world where facilities aren’t designed for productivity and streamlined operations, they are designed for the comfort, safety and accessibility of all occupants – from full-time employees to first-time visitors. This is all possible with a people presence management system.

Increased safety, better physical security and more robust compliance are all core benefits of using people presence management. And as an added bonus, it’s likely you’ll notice a huge improvement in visitor experience and first impressions of your brand too.

Try WhosOnLocation at your organization for 30 days.