Coronavirus Opens Commercial Security Opportunities

Providing security systems to commercial clients during the pandemic is vital opportunity to help those businesses stay ahead in uncertain times.

Dave Mayne 

Originally published in CE Pro

Owning and managing a business day-to-day is challenging in normal times. But in a global health emergency like the coronavirus where tens of millions of workers are being told to stay home, customers are keeping their distance and supply chains are in a state of upheaval, the combined challenges can seem overwhelming.

Buildings are empty or operating with a skeleton crew. Assets are being left unattended. The familiar faces who deliver goods on a regular schedule are being replaced by strangers who come and go at different times.

Business owners are concerned not just about the security of their operations, but about keeping business moving along in a world that changes constantly.

Security integrators can help them on both fronts.

In the new business landscape, where face-to-face interactions are not an option, remote control, remote access and full visibility into properties and assets have become critically important. Enterprises that use fully integrated, cloud-based security systems will find the day-to-day challenges less daunting.

With the right technology in place, businesses can worry less and get back to doing what they do best: serving the customer.


Integrated Security Helps Overcome Challenges

Social distancing rules during the pandemic mean businesses of all kinds face a fearsome new hurdle: keeping operations going with few or no people on site while serving customers who don’t dare venture outside the house.

But commerce goes on, after a fashion. People still access properties to perform necessary work, although they’re discouraged from interfacing with others. And properties and assets—which are more vulnerable now–still need to be kept secure.

For many businesses, securing the operation means using some combination of intrusion prevention, video surveillance, access control and energy management. Some businesses use four separate systems with four separate interfaces to handle these critical functions.

Four separate systems is complex enough on a normal day, but during an emergency that upends daily life and keeps people home, patchwork systems like these quickly become untenable. And they also don’t offer a complete view.

Access Control, for example, will show who entered a specific segment of the building, but doesn’t see movement inside a property.  Cameras can detect movement, but they can’t determine if they’re seeing an authorized person or not. It is through interactions between systems that a more complete picture is formed.

Additionally, in a fragmented security setup, security and access systems are set up to run according to a certain set routine, which in normal times might be easy to stick to. But if a single routine changes—for example, if a delivery schedule changes—all four of these systems must be updated to account for the change.

And since the pandemic started, constant change has become the norm. Staffing levels and schedules have changed. Access patterns have changed. And because of social distancing protocols, personnel are scattered and working at different times, which means people may need access to places they didn’t use before.

Business today is a fluid situation, and every change four times is not just inefficient and prone to errors. Today, it’s next to impossible.

Combining all of these functions into a single interface is the way businesses can resume some version of normal operations. It’s also the way the security integrator goes far beyond the role of watchdog, and helps business owners manage the day-to-day functioning of their business.

Go Beyond Just Access Control

The way for them to get these features without piling cost and complexity on top of an already difficult situation is to use a solution that unites all of these functions in a cloud-based system, and offers them on a single interface.

Disparate systems are complex even when things are going smoothly, and it may be awhile before things run smoothly again. Marrying the various critical functions of security, access and building management is a necessity now, but will remain immensely valuable long after the pandemic has passed.

Alula’s cloud-based security platform has been giving businesses simple remote control of their operations for years, and we’ve recently extended our platform in a way that’s especially useful in the new business climate we’re only now beginning to see play out. We’ve expanded and tightened the integration on the intrusion side. Beyond just remote control, we now view all sensor and user activity. We provide full remote visibility into a broad range of intrusion systems

Partnering with Brivo, the global leader in cloud-based physical security, means offering a maintenance-free, cloud-to-cloud API integration that makes it easy for integrators to install and configure both systems quickly.

Intrusion detection, access control and interactive features like video and energy management can all be accomplished remotely, and from a single interface.

This is the kind of flexibility and simplicity that businesses need in a fast-changing situation where all of the normal processes have been turned upside-down.

Business owners, for example, can now remotely manage unattended delivery, allowing the delivery person to access a portion of a property without risk of generating a false alarm, and getting verification that the delivery occurred – even including visual verification of the package.

New or temporary employees can now disarm a security system without having to share a code, managing this all through the access badges every employee receives. Video events can now be tagged with details of specific security and access control events, making it easier to sort through weeks of surveillance video.

Business owners and managers need to focus on how to serve a customer who’s needs have dramatically changed – leaving little time to constantly configure and change multiple different security and access systems.

While this type of integration is prompted by the current challenge, early adopters will find it offers benefits long into the future.

Dave Mayne is Vice President of Product Management at Alula, the leader in smart home security and automation systems for professional installers and the award-winning inventors of the Connect+ Platform. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn.