Security leaders must proactively implement technology that improves their physical security operations, emergency preparedness, and team collaboration.
Security guards, dispatchers, armed incident response teams, executive protection teams, GSOC analysts, and more all require advanced technology to combat today’s elevated threat landscape. However, many teams lag in adopting technologies that strengthen incident response against these rising risks and threats.
One of the most significant risks in the security industry is relying on limited communications technologies like radios or simple first-generation push-to-talk (PTT) apps. Each lacks the innovations of today’s intelligent solutions and cannot meet the full requirements of an enterprise-ready solution.
Security operations centers (SOC) still struggle to communicate with personnel in the field, and teams in the field struggle to communicate with each other. Further, many teams turn to multiple devices to meet their complete security communications needs opening their teams up to inefficiency and data security issues.
Instead, security operations would greatly benefit from the radical advancements of PTT. PTT starts with standard push-to-talk functionality, including voice, text, videos, and files such as PDFs. It then builds on the basics with advanced features that innovate operations in ways limited apps, first-generation PTT, or radios can’t meet.
Here are seven ways the newest advances in PTT security technology can help to future-proof physical security communications and operations:
#1 Expanded Operational Control for Security Operations Centers (SOC)
Advanced location services give security leaders visibility into asset tracking, staff locations, team preparedness, and effectiveness. SOCs have a complete view of their real-time operations and are always in communication with their field teams and distributed personnel working in dynamic environments. This centralized visibility and intelligence improve oversight and, ultimately, decision-making.
Mapping guard locations can also help to assure accountability during routine operations and confirms full and timely surveillance of a property or campus. Executive protection teams also benefit from ensuring teams are prepared and in place to mitigate threats. All security teams are always ready to respond to dynamic or urgent situations.
#2 Connectivity No Matter the Distance
PTT can connect over Wi-Fi or LTE, supporting real-time connectivity worldwide. The seamless ability to communicate no matter the location means teams are always within reach and communicating with their GSOC.
Security teams often operate distributed across campuses or a network of campuses. Executive protection teams often have local, regional, or transnational duties. Each scenario requires a single solution on one device that supports communications, no matter the location.
#3 Seamless, Real-time Communication During Critical Situations
The ability for teams to communicate 1:1, through groups or organization-wide is critical to incident response. When teams can communicate 1:1 or with specific groups, they ensure personnel only receive information relevant to their incident response function while other team members remain undistracted and focused on their tasks.
Combining a security technology like PTT with ubiquitous connectivity also means incident responders can add anyone to the collaboration environment to assist with emergency response. Security teams can communicate across departments to update janitorial utility, fleet, mechanical personnel, etc., to start safety protocols.
Further, security teams can bring in emergency responders like police, fire, or public safety teams via any smart device. Off-duty personnel can participate and respond immediately, creating a force multiplier without needing multiple devices or scanners. All teams receive the same information and work together to respond faster in an emergency.
#4 Encryption for Secure Communications
End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is non-negotiable for today’s security communications. Radios show time and time again that bad actors can hack frequencies, and limited PTT apps did their best to add on E2EE after the platforms were already built. Both of these scenarios create vulnerabilities.
Security leaders need to know that bad actors aren’t listening to sensitive communications and that only their team members can access team data. E2EE is foundational to PTT and ensures secure communications without limiting functionality or inhibiting field intelligence and data. All media types, including voice, text, photo, video, or file, remain encrypted on any device.
#5 Improved and Digitally Archived After Action Reports (AAR)
PTT can assist with automating After Action Reports (AAR), ensuring that critical information is always captured and available for review instead of languishing on paper in boxes. In addition, security teams can use these digitally-available AARs to increase productivity and accountability through analysis of quality reporting and actionable insights. Voice-driven daily activity reports (DAR) can also help officers to stay heads-up while documenting their observations so teams can focus on response and not writing reports.
#6 Automation for More Efficient Incident Response
PTT can deploy voice artificial intelligence (AI) bots and integrations that support teams in the field as they do more with less. Teams can use voice AI bots to augment situational awareness, streamline SOPs, and improve safety. Voice AI bots can help security teams increase operational efficiency by responding to voice queries, commands, events, or actions to kickstart simple and complex workflows.
These beneficial workflows are tailored to support physical security requirements. Emergency workflows like fire or man-down trigger safety protocols such as alerting management, sending additional support to the incident location, or escalating to local police.
Geofence or location-based bots kickstart workflows like preparing for the arrival of an executive at the office or ping a guard to check in if they have not moved locations for a set amount of time.
#7 Integrations that Increase Situational Awareness
PTT supports third-party integrations that can enable team members to use voice to access critical information or systems. Teams stay heads up and informed with information that improves situational awareness. Examples include using voice to leverage critical data from high-value solutions and emerging technology like Andriod Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) or enterprise systems like ESRI.
Security leaders can leverage this high-value data in real-world scenarios to improve decision-making, and field teams have the information they need in real-time to be safer and more effective.
The Future of Physical Security Communications
PTT security technology can help to transform how security teams communicate and respond to today’s threats. All physical security personnel can benefit from improved communications. With PTT, physical security and executive protection teams will be prepared to meet evolving communication and collaboration requirements for years to come.
This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security magazine. Subscribe here.