Every day thousands of people enter and exit high-rise office buildings and it is essential to protect each of these users. Three of the biggest challenges that need to be addressed in order to achieve this goal are managing the surveillance rounds, making sure that all fire protection equipment complies with the inspection and maintenance regulations, and optimizing the planning of the spaces, as well as the general use of the building. In that sense, reliable identities can be used to automate and improve each of these processes.

By Edson Yano *

The management of the security rounds has to do with three elements: it is necessary to track the keys, the guards must visit all their control points in the most efficient way possible and there must be a process to audit the billable hours of the contractors . It is possible to use an identification alternative that combines reliable labels with NFC technology (near field communication) and an authentication system in the cloud to automate each of these processes, thus integrating, in a single solution, key management services , security rounds and contractors. The resulting system allows you to safely perform a presence test with authentication in an agile way, while providing more accurate and usable information in real time. It can also be implemented using the existing IT infrastructure of an organization along with smartphones, tablets and other conventional mobile devices with NFC technology.

To implement an automated key management solution, organizations can use reliable NFC tags in order to equip keys with unique identifications. The way the system works is simple: to provide a physical key, the user first taps a tablet or other mobile device with the trusted NFC tag and enters an authorized ID; then, a notification about when to return the key is sent to the user and he / she re-taps the tablet to return it. Automated key management significantly reduces the time and resources used to manage and replace lost or stolen keys. Organizations can account for the location of each key in real time and have access to the history of loan and return activities so they can better understand which keys are most in demand.

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Connected surveillance rounds and contractor management
To manage rounds and surveillance tours, several label formats must be placed at each control point of the rounds throughout the building. High-strength service labels can be used to designate outdoor control points. As of that moment, the guards only have to touch with their NFC technology phone at each control point they visit. The system identifies each control point according to the name and automatically loads the information of the date and time, and updates the databases in real time, providing digital evidence that a security round was performed in one place and at a time determined. It is possible to activate alerts in case there is too much time between one control point and another. If a guard finds an incident, he can use the smartphone to generate a detailed report, including photographic or video evidence and, if necessary, to transmit the activity to a superior, according to the protocol. Knowing how to give a simple touch is the only training necessary to guarantee the effective implementation of the system.

The automated management of the surveillance rounds allows the guards to deliver more detailed and detailed reports, while reducing the time it takes each round. Those responsible for the physical plant of the companies that are currently using these systems also highlight an improvement in the management of their contractor partners. The use of a similar "proof of presence" system for contractors has resulted in a more precise control of attendance and working time, as well as guaranteeing that those in charge of the facilities are paying only for the services provided. Contractors are guaranteed that they will get fair compensation for the work they have done. In the reports, all the necessary information about the visits to a certain site and the activities is exposed in detail, which allows to obtain management information along with the confirmation of the invoices of the contractors.

Simplification of inspection and maintenance of fire protection systems
Similar improvements are obtained by combining reliable labels and authentication platforms with computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) to simplify inspections and regulatory compliance of fire protection equipment. With these solutions, the people in charge of the maintenance and regulatory compliance of the equipment can guarantee that physical objects such as water valves and various sprinkler equipment can perform operations in a safe way to provide a "proof of compliance with regulations" and "proof of presence. " This allows field technicians to easily record and respond to each digital inspection, in a safe and reliable cloud environment.

To use these systems, a technician simply has to tap, with his smartphone or other NFC device, on a label that has been embedded or attached to the fire protection system equipment. Each touch is a digital evidence of each inspection report and allows the technician to easily access online service requests and automated maintenance records. With this same touch, the identity of the worker or field technician is also verified, and it is ensured that the skills or credentials of that person do correspond to the competencies necessary to provide technical service to a specific team, and that the field worker who is making maintenance to such equipment is suitable.

This type of system has numerous benefits. First of all, it automates the maintenance and inspection process, reduces the field inspection time and accurately reports the compliance tests, which translates into a quantifiable cost saving, thanks to the reduction in the hand of work. In addition, work orders are performed faster and there is a general reduction in the number of visits to the installation site. Both benefits help increase overall cost savings. The labels can work in different environments without compromising their readability, and adhere to various types of surfaces, shapes and sizes, among others, round and metal objects such as alarm and control valves.

Create connected experiences in the workplace
The demand for cloud authentication platforms that add confidence to "presence testing" applications to improve building security and comfort is increasing. Infrastructure managers can accurately track security checkpoints and immediately send guards to address and report fraudulent activities throughout the building. Security guards can patrol the areas more easily and efficiently with automated surveillance stops that replace the manual login processes. Organizations can also tag fire protection equipment to connect to the Internet, so technicians can use their mobile devices to tap the label and access CMMS applications in the cloud, track activities and automate all processes, which were previously manual, necessary to ensure that these assets are ready in the event of an emergency. A combination of trusted labels, cloud authentication platforms and location service platforms helps make buildings smarter and safer: from each of the guards' checkpoints to each fire protection team and the way in which that the users interact with the buildings and services of the organizations.

* Edson Yano is sales manager of the IDT unit of HID Global for Latin America.

Santiago Jaramillo
Author: Santiago Jaramillo
Social communicator and journalist with more than 15 years of experience in specialized digital and print media for Latin America. Currently Editor of the Security Sales, Building Management and Academic Coordinator of the TecnoEdificios Congress.


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