Security firm introduced digital patrol and field service solution based on Windows Phone 8.1 and Arantico Service Pro software to provide a more efficient service
Banks, retail stores, financial services companies, and thousands of other commercial and government organisations rely on Brinks to patrol and secure their premises, transport cash and valuables, and keep their most precious assets safe. In business since 1859, Brinks is synonymous with trustworthiness and today its 70,000 employees serve customers in more than 100 countries.
Despite its unmatched pedigree, Brinks has to compete fiercely for business, because the security services market has become crowded, commoditised, and price-driven. Noel Boyle, managing director of Brinks, knew his company had to do something to break free from the competitive pack. “There are hundreds of companies providing security services, which have become commoditised,” he says.
Alan Durnan, Brinks director of security services adds: “As prices have been driven lower, most of our competitors have cut back on training and equipment to boost their margins.”
Brinks – one of the largest security companies in Ireland with 1,000 employees and many prestigious accounts – decided to take a different approach. Rather than reduce investment in its people, it decided to invest in modern technology and employee training as a competitive differentiator.
Brinks’ security guards, like its competitors, used electronic patrolling devices to record checkpoints as they made their rounds at customer premises. This process, however, did not integrate patrol data with back-end systems and produced reams of paper reports that were difficult for customers to read and customers could only find out about a security incident or patrol non-conformance up to a month after it happened. The paper-based process was also open to error and could delay billing.
In addition to its Irish team of 650 security guards, Brinks has a large contingent of field technicians who service ATMs, security cameras and other security equipment. These employees carried bulky laptops, which could be cumbersome in the field.
Arming guards with super-smart phones
In 2013, Brinks began to look for a more efficient way for guards and field technicians to document patrols submit reports, and perform their jobs. Brinks sought a mobile solution that would keep customer information secure; provide rapid data transmission; enable real-time information and device management; and operate on low-cost, user-friendly devices. It selected Arantico Service Pro software running on Windows smartphones.
Arantico Service Pro is a field service application that Arantico heavily customised to meet Brinks’ needs. It took advantage of the near-field communication (NFC) technology in Windows Phone 8.1 to collect data digitally. NFC is a set of smartphone standards that enables devices to establish radio communication with one another by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.
“All of our back-end business systems are Windows-based, and we thought that Windows Phone was the most secure operating system and far less expensive than other smartphones on the market,” says Durnan.
Brinks guards collect patrol data by simply passing their smartphones over NFC contact points rather than recording checkpoint status on paper logs. The data is immediately sent to Brinks’ back-end systems for analysis, reporting, and billing. If a patrol checkpoint is late checking in, an alert flashes in a central control room and operators contact the officer over the smartphone and ask if everything is OK. If there is no response, they immediately send assistance.
Brinks field technicians are using the same solution to replace laptops and spreadsheets as they do for receiving assignments, accessing technical documentation, submitting completion reports, capturing customer signatures, and more. “Everything our field engineers need is on the smartphone,” Durnan says.
Brinks has deployed Windows Phones to 150 guards and field engineers, with plans to roll them out to all Security Service customer locations in Ireland.
Deliver real-time reports to customers
With the Windows Phone solution, Brinks can get more accurate reports to customers in real-time. Instead of receiving a 50-page report four weeks after a patrol, a customer gets real-time notification of a security incident through e-mail or text message. The officer also has the option to incorporate a photo in the alert.
Improve efficiency, speed billing and cash flow
The digital solution eliminates paper and associated costs. “By using our Windows Phone patrol solution, supervisors no longer need to collect patrol logs and create reports,” says Boyle. “Our supervisors have achieved significant efficiency improvements, giving them more time to work with security guards and develop customer relationships. We’ve also been able to accelerate our billing cycle by automating patrol reports.”
It takes just 15 minutes to train guards and technicians on the new solution. “Most people know how to use a smartphone, so the Service Pro solution is easy to pick up,” Durnan says. Also, the Windows Phone platform gives guards the ability to use familiar Microsoft Office programs to receive and respond to e-mail, receive procedure updates, and stay connected to corporate news while on patrols.
Differentiate services and gain competitive advantage
Service Pro is a key differentiator for Brinks Ireland in a very competitive market. Since launching the solution, Brinks Ireland has won more than €1 million in new business and retained key clients. “Our Windows Phone solution helps us stand out from the crowd,” Boyle says. “It certainly gets us on the shortlist.”
Originally posted on TechCentral.ie