It’s an information world even for guard tour systems. New generation equipment lets enterprises get more information and do more with it – for security, life safety and facilities management.
Recent guard tour product offerings take all customers’ needs into account. Some devices are mirroring cellular phones. Mobility is the key. For instance, Wackenhut has developed its own guard tour system. Last year, the firm launched Secure Trax, a security administration application using PDA units. Built upon the latest mobile computing technology, the units optimize security programs for clients by providing detailed and reliable incident notification in real-time.
Such technology adds value to other areas of the organization such as facilities and risk management, legal, safety, engineering and building services departments, by capturing and disseminating valuable data that is often vital to these functional units and was difficult or impossible to capture in real-time in the past.


In another example, Walter Chan, with the City of Toronto, corporate security division, also sees business benefits in the use of a guard tour system called TourTrax from Digital Security Concepts.
“Our business unit, under the facilities and real estate division, is the corporate body responsible for setting security standards and partnering with city divisions for the protection of city employees and assets. This is completed using a mix of proactive and reactive security measures. The sharing of resources, knowledge, and expertise allows for security to be provided in a standardized and cost-effective manner,” Chan said.
“We are committed to supporting and enhancing the safe delivery of city services. We do this by providing and maintaining an appropriate level of sustainable proactive and reactive security and life safety measures through highly qualified, knowledgeable, trained security professionals, contracted services and current technology.
Chan helps provide a wide range of security staffing options through in-house and contracted services for City-owned and leased properties. These options include:
  • Security mobile alarm response.
  • Security mobile patrols
  • Contract security guard management.
  • In-house corporate security officers.
“To enhance the delivery of security staffing services in a comprehensive multi-site municipal environment, we initiated a project that instituted an enterprise guard tour system” that enabled harmonization of processes, common reporting, a single database, and supporting:
  • Multiple tour routes;
  • Different types of tours (i.e. fire, security, etc.);
  • Tours of multiple buildings at multiple locations;
  • Random tour routes – guards may change their routine and arrive at different tour checkpoints in a random order;
  • Full reporting capabilities and integration with corporate security’s existing enterprise incident reporting software;
  • Reliable, anti-vandal and durable, and easy-to-use equipment
  • Network based synchronization facilities for transmitting data between hand-held devices and the core application;
  • An intuitive user interface;
  • The ability to annotate or enter follow-up commentary for any event recorded while on tour;
  • Tour checkpoints able to withstand outdoor weather conditions;
  • Alerts and notifications for tour non-compliance; and
  • Multiple security permissions, controlled through the application to access reports, reporting areas and administrative functions.


Protecting the hospital’s staff as well as the patients and their visitors is a clear priority for Bernard Scaglione, director of security for the New York-Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Campus. And to help him achieve this goal, he relies on an efficient and comprehensive physical security solution that includes state of the art key management and guard tour systems from Morse Watchmans.
“Hospitals are traditionally designed for ease of access and use and this provides a challenge when developing and maintaining security strategies,” said Scaglione. “The systems give us more control in providing a safer environment and better address the requirements for protecting today’s health care facilities.”
New York-Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching facility of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. Its security solutions must effectively protect patients, staff, visitors and facilities without interfering with hospital operations and must also be convenient and simple to assure compliance with various government regulations such as JCAHO (Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and IAHSS (International Association for Healthcare Security
& Safety).
“The hospital has been using these solutions for over ten years because they meet these challenges and requirements,” added Scaglione. “Their systems have allowed us to increase security without negatively impacting convenience for patients, staff and visitors.”
A PowerCheck guard tour system with multiple tour capabilities, integrated functions and reporting options is an integral part of the hospital’s security regime. Scaglione explained that stations are set up around the facility, and as the officer walks by with the handheld device, the system reads and records the time. The device can be programmed to prompt either sequential or random tours for the officers, so their movements can’t be predicted, and the officer can enter a standardized code at any station to report incidents instantly.
Just as physical security information management (PSIM) is impacting security operations (See this issue’s cover story.), guard tour is going beyond collecting and reporting. Technology from ForgeHouse, for instance, runs on the enterprise network or through the Internet. Rules based, the security leader sets what the officer has to do for each post, inspection or maintenance task. It’s really dynamic post management. Specific to event response management, events are gathered from multiple systems and presets within the system understand that the event is at this site and that it needs this response.
Systems such as those from ForgeHouse can track assets as well as inspect environment and fire systems.
The bottom line: guard tour systems can secure staff, critical infrastructures and business continuity.

SIDEBAR: What About the Keys?

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has deployed a unique system to keep track of hundreds of keys used at its various bus garages, maintenance shops, an operations control center and a money-counting facility in and around Philadelphia. KeyWatcher cabinets from Morse Watchmans installed in the multiple facilities automatically record the access history of each key, including the user, date and time of checkout or return. The system releases assigned keys only to users with the proper authorization code, and cannot be manipulated or easily tampered with.
“Our reason for having the system is to minimize our risk and exposure,” said Chris Ruhl, surveillance systems specialist for SEPTA. “We need to know who took what key and when, and the system is a very honest employee. It literally lives up to its name as a key watcher.”