Security guards are on the go, which means that they can be (and feel) disconnected from their companies. However, technology means security guards can stay in touch with the office instead of being lone wolf operators.
It may not provide the human touch, but mobile apps mean security guards don’t need to be on their own and input their shifts and other data manually on a cumbersome spreadsheet. With the touch of a button these apps give guards the ability to be more efficient with their reporting and gives business owners peace of mind when it comes to tracking, time management and data storage.
Destiny has a range of patrol software services, which offers reporting, tracking and communication solutions.
Pros: It boasts a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system which allows you to add people and vehicles. Other features include a vehicle light control system, automatic licence plate recognition (ALPR), post orders, GPS and there’s a handy PC version called Adam602 which works well on laptops. The system has a lot of boxes to include information. It enables you to search for people and vehicles as well as save reports and do them later before uploading. You can also clone uploaded reports to modify if need be for resubmission.
Cons: Everything is server side. So no internet means, no Destiny. However, it will still do everything if disconnected. You will just need to re-establish connection to upload data or search uploaded reports. The mobile app is notoriously slow and pretty much not usable.
Incident management and reporting: Available
Pricing: Contact the company directly for pricing.
Connecteam is a mobile app that allows companies that manage non desk employees to communicate, manage tasks, share documents, and track and report time. The app is offered for a fixed monthly fee, starting at $29-$72 for up to 200 users.
Pros: It’s very versatile and easy to use. You can have your entire force on the app and ready to go in 15 minutes flat. Through the mobile app they’ll have access to their documents, training modules with quizzes and surveys. They can track their time and clock in out. They can request shift and time off, and they can chat using the built in chat function.
Cons: While there is a desktop based dashboard available for managers, called the Launch Pad, employees are required to use the mobile app.
Incident management and reporting: Available
This independent and privately owned software company, which started in the United Kingdom and then turned into an international business, caters to the facilities management and support services industries, including the security sector and alarm response service providers. They offer support for various solutions including Timegate, a workforce management solution; Servicetrac an auditing tool and Portertrac, which enables users to load tasks and resources.
Pros: As they are independent they can provide you with objective advice and an understanding of the total costs involved, especially when it comes to hardware.
Cons: They only have certain hardware in stock. If you need a more specialised product it can take between 8-12 weeks to be built and delivered.
Incident management reporting: Available
Pricing: Servitrac starts from £600 ($442,50)* per year; Timegate packs range from £1,000-3000 ($737,50 – $2,212,50)* per year and Portertrac packs range from £1200 ($885)* a year.
TrackTik is a security workforce management platform, which offers mobile and cloud based software. Their solutions include Guarding Suite, which will help to digitally manage operations; Mobile+ Suite, a live dashboard which can be used to assign and track dispatch activities and Back Office Suite an office management solution for tracking and managing its admin tasks, invoices, audit reports. Good also for timekeeping, schedules and contracts.
Pros: Not much is needed equipment-wise – just a desktop computer and mobile device. The software is available for iOS and Android.
Cons: You need a license to activate the app. Only one guard can log into the mobile device at any particular time. It can be transferred to another guard once the original guard has logged out of the device.
Incident management reporting: Available
Pricing: Pricing is based on the size and structure of your company and the modules you need. Pricing is available on request.
This company creates affordable and easy to use software for the security guard industry. Track your guards, conduct paperless reporting and create schedules. The app can be downloaded on smartphones and is available through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. It is also available for computers and laptops.
Pros: It offers a 30-day free trial so you can decide whether this particular offering is right for your business. There are no contracts or cancellation fees. Guards cannot trick the system by pretending to be at work as the app verifies their location through GPS. Officers can be trained to use the software in under 30 minutes.
Cons: If your guards monitor multiple sites the monthly bill can escalate as charges apply per site visit.
Incident management reporting: Available.
Pricing: If you want to road-test this software you can kick off with a free 30-day trial. Otherwise, you pay a monthly subscription fee per site. Standard subscriptions can cost $50 per month for 1-15 site visits, or you get charged $40 a month for 51-100 sites and so on. Meanwhile mobile patrol subscriptions (for officers that drive from one client site to another) cost $15 a month for a minimum of 3 sites visits or pay $500 per month for unlimited site visits.
Some security guard mobile apps try to offer an all in one solution, but others work best when used in unison with other useful apps, including:
Dropbox, in case you’re not familiar, is a file hosting service which enables you to store digital files in one central place. It can be accessed across all your devices and is available at any time.
Pros: It’s easy to use, has one of the best backup capabilities as well as good security.
Cons: The free plan has limited storage and only a few additional features.
Pricing: A basic account is free and includes 2GB of storage space. If you need more space you can, at a price, get Dropbox Plus which will give you 1TB. Other paid for packages include Dropbox Professional and Business, which also give you more space and functionality. You can choose to pay annually or monthly.
It’s better known for giving people the ability to send messages cheaply through their mobile devices but there’s no reason why the security industry can’t make use of this handy app. You can make voice and video calls even if the person you are talking to is in another country. WhatsApp is launching a free business app, which is now offered through a closed pilot programme.
Pros: As it makes use of your company’s internet connection there won’t be any expensive calling charges to contend with. Using this app is generally faster and more efficient than email.
Cons: The business app is not widely available yet. There’s also talk that the business offering won’t be free for large corporations, but that it will be for small and medium sized enterprises.
Pricing: Depends on what your internet charges are.
This app allows companies to track their teams work, share tasks, and manage projects.
Pros: It’s an easy to use and great for giving you that ‘big picture’ overview.
Cons: If you’re just doing the basics then it’s free but if you want something more powerful you’ll have to pay for the Premium or Enterprise versions. Critics say that as it hasn’t got any micro level management tools used for budgeting, so its best for communication and reminding teams about deadlines.
Pricing: There’s a free basic version, otherwise there’s Premium ($9.99 per month) and an Enterprise version – price available on request.
Waze is a community based GPS, maps and traffic navigation app. If your guards need to find the most efficient route to various premises, then this is perfect. Users have access to road reports, accident information, police traps and other road hazards.
Pros: It’s community base helps to ensure that the app adapts quickly to new information and provides users with the fastest route possible.
Cons: Can be quite draining on your data and battery. Complaints also centre around the fact that the app can become quite cluttered.
US Fleet Tracking is a privately owned business that offers GPS solutions that enables companies and individuals to monitor their car fleets.
Pros: It can send out alerts to the account owner for e.g. if guards are exceeding the speed limit or entering and exiting a specific area. There are no contracts and you can cancel the service at any time.
Cons: If you want the information to update more frequently you pay more.
Pricing: For a device that updates every 10 seconds you are charged $29.95 a month. If you want one that updates every 5 seconds you pay $39.95 a month.
The best security apps are the ones YOU need
When it comes to apps aimed at security firms there’s a fair bit of competition out there but it’s essential to ensure that these software companies can provide you with the tools you need to manage your business effectively. There are other apps that are more general but there’s no reason why businesses can’t use them too. If they’re free, which many are, they’ll help to drive down costs. But bear in mind that these free apps can only do so much and if you need specific, customisable functions, you’ll have to pay for these.