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Tips to Deliver Accountability Through Geofencing and Breadcrumbing

By Mark Folmer, CPP, MSyI

Your gut may have known it already, and our 2016 survey confirmed it: Your security service client is, above all, looking for Accountability, Reliability, and Transparency from their provider.

When you automate your security guard reporting, you are able to take advantage of many features, one of which is Geofencing, that deliver on those three criteria.

Today, I will focus on accountability and how two GPS-based TrackTik features support it with precise data. These features, called Geofencing and Breadcrumbing, will enhance your security program, give your clients more of what they want, and are easy to take advantage of. But what exactly do these features do? How can you and your clients benefit from them?

The answers follow.

 

What is GPS?

Before continuing, a brief review of what GPS is and how it works will be helpful in putting the two TrackTik features in context.

Geofencing and Breadcrumbing - GPSThe “Global Positioning System,” or GPS, uses a network of satellites to help people navigate. These satellites broadcast a synchronized time code. When a device (such as a mobile phone) receives these time codes from different satellites, the device calculates its location on earth.

In a perfect situation, the location can be accurate to three meters. In the real world, accuracy can vary dramatically due to barriers between the mobile device and the sky, e.g., tall buildings, the interior of buildings, a canopy of trees, mountainsides, or canyons. Essentially, you get the best results when you have a clear view of a sizable portion of the sky.

Mobile phones are also generally less accurate because they do not have high-quality GPS antennas. Therefore, they are even more affected by barriers than dedicated GPS receivers.

How TrackTik Uses GPS

Tracktik retrieves location data from Google Location services. Google combines data from GPS, cell tower, and Wi-Fi to determine the phone’s location. Although this combined data improves your location information, accuracy still cannot be guaranteed.

Get the most out of GPS

Here are some suggestions to minimize GPS inaccuracies:

  • If an option, then don’t use a case or pouch for your phone.
  • Make sure your phone is carried as high up and unobstructed as possible, instead of buried deep in a pocket.
  • Keep the battery charged. When the battery charge is low, the phone may turn off GPS more frequently to save power.
  • After starting the TrackTik app, give your phone at least 60 seconds, with a clear view of a sizable portion of the sky, to fully acquire a GPS signal before you move.
  • If your GPS location is very different from your real location, then reset GPS.

 

The Benefits of Geofencing

Geofencing and Breadcrumbing - FenceGeofencing involves setting a virtual perimeter to an area that you want to identify. In TrackTik you can set one, many, or none, depending on your site and needs. Furthermore, geofencing provides multiple notification methods and options that can be tailored to support coverage expectations for any site. The triggers work seamlessly with the virtual barriers of the geofence and you can stay in control with real-time SMS and/or email notifications.

4 reasons why you would geofence:

  1. You want to be alerted when your security staff either enters or exits a defined area.
  2. Your guards should not enter a sensitive area within the facilities.
  3. It is vital to security that your staff not leave a certain area.
  4. Safety demands that you be alerted of entry or exit from an area.

 

Breadcrumbing Can Save the Day

Geofencing and Breadcrumbing - Data PointAs a security guard performs tasks, his or her movement leaves behind a list of data points. This list is called breadcrumbing. With breadcrumbing, there is no action to take. You simply get data you can consult when needed. In contrast, geofencing requires you to define areas and locations that you want flagged.

4 reasons why you would breadcrumb:

  1. Support dispute resolution regarding the location of a security officer.
  2. Display distances covered by a patrol driver during their shift.
  3. Show the work performed or area covered as part of a security review with a client.
  4. Review routes that a security person took.

How do you breadcrumb?

To set up breadcrumbing, there is actually nothing to do!

TrackTik allows you to access a history of both activities and GPS breadcrumbs for as long as you have been a customer. These data can be accessed by shift, site, or employee and are displayed on a timeline with an easy-to-use menu.

Cost benefits

In addition to the advantages noted above for these two GPS-based features, you may see cost benefits because they can:

  • Reassure your insurance provider by demonstrating concretely that you have measures in place to automate and back up where your security staff was active.
  • Boost staff retention by showing personnel how you support employee safety without weighing them down with burdensome processes and procedures.
  • Empower you, as a business owner, to use data, automate, and be more confident in the service you and your team deliver.

These GPS features should not be considered as stand-alone items. They are part and parcel of your automation process, which clearly responds to your client’s needs for more Accountability, Reliability, and Transparency.

Special thanks to my colleagues Graham Hussey, Product Manager, and Ricky Donato, Product Owner, for their contributions to this post.

Want to become a “Powered by TrackTik” user that can easily track guard activities with GPS and Geofencing? Contact us for more information at [email protected].

 

Mark Folmer, CPP, MSyI
Vice President, Security Industry
[email protected]
Twitter: @markfolmer

 

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