Geopolitical upheaval, national events driven by socio-political unrest, as well as everyday violent and petty crime, is a reality for many. Without fear-mongering, it’s not untrue to assert that there is always a risk of a dangerous threat on a macro and micro level. Whether institutional, commercial, or residential, the need for security ebbs and flows yet remains constant, just like the omnipresent security guard.
For ages, the security guard has resembled a bastion of safety and been a security staple. However, as the Fourth Industrial Revolution speeds ahead, it brings the relevance of some jobs, such as in-person security guards, into question. For some, the monetary cost, efficiency provided, and admin required isn’t worth the price.
Naturally, they’re not going to disappear overnight, and there are contexts where security guards are very much needed. Still, in many commercial and residential instances, technological alternatives to security guards exist. And these solutions work just as well, if not better, and that’s not even considering monetary expenses.
Modern Surveillance Cameras
We’re all familiar with the movie scene cliches of sleeping security guards who don’t notice an intruder. Then there are the scenes that show police officers reviewing grainy CCTV footage rendering unidentifiable criminals. However, in recent years, thanks to improved ultra-HD and multi-focal technology, security cameras have a much more comprehensive range of view and record footage that is discernible.
Some security cameras have 360-view or use fisheye lenses that support 180-degree monitoring, for instance. In addition, their night vision capabilities allow them to capture footage just as well in the dark in both exterior and interior environments, and they even have facial recognition.
And what about security cameras that can talk? This is especially useful from a commercial property owners’ perspective, as they can now scare off intruders without approaching them in person. Historically, security guards have been prized for their ability to defend others against harm. Now, life-threatening risks can be evaded altogether with suitable surveillance cameras.
Security cameras have always acted as additional eyes for security guards. They still do, but their capabilities are better. Security personnel can’t be in every place at once. Security cameras installed at strategic access points can cover multiple vantage points that your staff can’t. Anywhere you can mount a camera, including awkward spaces, distant areas, and hazardous sites, can become a remote security monitoring option.
Of course, large companies tend to adopt a mixed approach of tech and personnel, depending on their needs. Realistically, they also have the market spend to hire a bigger team of personnel to reinforce integrated security efforts. Smaller companies and commercial properties may not have that kind of money, nor the need to have a massive security team, but they still require a level of security.
Lastly, humans are also more fallible than technology. When it comes to evidence, nothing can beat clearly captured footage. Memory isn’t foolproof, and statements may lack crucial evidence needed, which footage easily provides. Meanwhile, security guards can typically only combat immediate, nearby threats.
Smart Access Control Systems
Forget sign-in books – they can get lost, and their handwriting is often ineligible. Key fobs, access cards, keypads, mobile apps, and biometric devices offer many advantages to antiquated paper trails. These technological advances are more secure and reliable. Plus, they provide easily accessible control and attendance solutions, which are helpful for educational institutions and large commercial companies.
Smart access control systems are advantageous if you have an organization or business with a lot of foot traffic or vehicles passing through. There’s a good chance you likely have someone at a boom gate or reception to oversee authorization. But for the most part, security personnel merely denote an authoritative presence and nothing more. And, they can’t truly take on additional responsibilities as they have to oversee entries and exits, which increasingly seems redundant. That’s where these security guard alternatives can come into play.
Key Fob / Keypad Access
This is the most basic kind of access control, whereby users are given a disc, pin code, or access card with built-in-data authentication to open door readers at any entry point that require management. Additionally, you can grant access to anyone with a fob/card/pin code or a select view.
Mobile access control systems that work off apps are scanned at door entry and exit points. Those that use Bluetooth technology require phones to be waved in front of sensors at specific entry points. These apps are controlled via the cloud, making them easy and efficient to manage, as passcodes can be safely encrypted and sent directly to users’ phones.
License Plate Recognition (LPR)
Dedicated high-tech cameras utilize license plate recognition technology to capture and keep a record of any vehicle entering and your premises during the day or night. This is an excellent method for adding another layer of security to apartment blocks, commercial or retail property.
Biometric two-factor authentication systems scan fingerprints or use facial-recognition software to grant entry. They offer the safest and most sophisticated form of authorized access control. The aforementioned types of access control still require a person to have an object, which could get into the wrong hands, whereas biometric devices provide access based on who a person truly is.
These entry control alternatives are advantages for several reasons. First and foremost, your trusted personnel can revoke permissions without any physical altercation. Second, you can program doors to shut after business hours, increasing security efficiency. And, they provide faster emergency responses because access points can quickly be locked to keep people safely in or outside.
Formidable Perimeter Fencing and Lighting
The first line of defense for all safety measures is putting up appropriate perimeter fencing and lighting. Fencing will keep unwanted loiterers and vandals off your property. There’s also the option of perimeter beams, which for some is a better choice as it doesn’t alter a building’s aesthetics, or because they can’t afford to construct a robust wall.
For small retail businesses, a robust gate with a buzzer can deter criminals, as they are more likely to target vulnerable businesses that are easy to access when entering and exiting. In these instances, display window sensors are also a good idea, as not all smash and grabs require entry over door thresholds.
Strong lighting is self-explanatory. It offers visibility, and no one can hide in the shadows.
As a preemptive measure, bright lighting surrounding an entire building is a good starting point. If you want to avoid leaving lights on 24/7, you can install those with sensors that only come on if something moves across them.
Smart Alarm Systems
Old alarm systems often don’t provide the information or services you need for effective crime alert and prevention. In many cases, an alarm’s grace period allows criminals to commit theft. The point of grace periods was to enable people to disarm the alert before a phone call was made to authorities to avoid false alarms.
Today’s best alarms offer more than intruder alerts and are integrated into comprehensive security systems. In addition, environmental alerts and perimeter sensors linked to the cloud and smartphones provide real-time activity access. As such, large buildings benefit significantly from up-to-date alarm systems technology.
Modern alarms have sophisticated dashboards with many capabilities. Not only do they offer a bird’s-eye view of security, but they can also remotely unlock or lock doors and send security alerts to the proper personnel. Coupled with security camera surveillance, they provide a reliable, affordable security guard alternative.
Moreover, these security cameras use wireless technology, making them less vulnerable to accidental damage. Additionally, it’s impossible to disarm them because the system alerts everyone connected to it and/or the police and alarm company if a security breach occurs.
Is Remote Security Monitoring Truly a Trustworthy Security Guard Alternative?
Previous on-site functions like shopping and banking are performed remotely. If it’s more advantageous, why should security be any different? The purpose of surveillance equipment and security guards is to provide a visual determent. Both reduce crime, but neither guarantee 100% safety. There is and will always be a risk. However, alternative remote security monitoring offers much of the same advantages, if not more, at significantly reduced costs.
Indeed, manned security doesn’t typically require an enormous upfront cost. However, technology-based security guard alternatives do reduce staff payrolls over time. Additionally, this solution helps decrease potential HR issues that are bound to crop up with staff in general.
Practically, cloud-based security systems reduce the need for physical security documentation and storage space. Cloud storage data cloud isn’t as easily lost, and automated systems enable optimized archiving methods devoid of human error.
Choosing remote security monitoring as a security guard alternative eliminates an abundance of fears that business owners face. Cutting-edge CCTV technology provides the option to view multiple locations 24/7. These security cameras are especially useful in hazardous or distant areas that require extensive costs to staff.
Above all else, they do provide greater safety. A camera can always be replaced, but a human life cannot, which raises the necessity of liability coverage. Employing extra staff costs hundreds or thousands of dollars per day. Added to managing payrolls and additional insurance, the cost of staffed personnel can be substantial.
Being in the midst of a world health crisis has also affected private security businesses. Staffing issues may persist with lockdowns and the spread of contraction of COVID-19. If part-time or temporary workers are employed to fill the gap, they may be inexperienced and impact the level of security provided.
Consider SentriForce’s High-Tech Security Guard Alternatives
Today’s surveillance offerings provide unrivaled sophistication and coverage that’s hard to beat with security guards. Many companies, institutions, and organizations still require manned guarding but are leveraging and investing more in affordable alternatives. Electronic security offers greater efficiency, increased safety, and lower costs than security guards and other alternatives.