Morphean’s CEO, Rodrigue Zbinden, looks at the benefits of implementing smart, cloud-enabled solutions to better prepare SMEs for business and security challenges.
In March this year, when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a government enforced lockdown, cloud services, such as web-based video conferencing platforms, proved invaluable for keeping people connected and businesses afloat. Although the threat has not yet dissipated with the number of infections beginning to rise once more, the capabilities of cloud have been fully demonstrated. Those businesses that were considering a move to cloud platforms before the pandemic began are now looking to accelerate adoption, taking advantage of the many benefits that cloud has to offer, and better equipping themselves for future uncertainty.
An area in which cloud brings many efficiencies is physical security. Legacy technologies such as dated CCTV systems and manually activated access control points have been transformed by the advent of cloud, into powerful digital solutions capable of high levels of security and protection. Internet of things (IoT) connectivity also enables these devices to sit on a network and share data. This data, when processed through an analytics engine, can be used to generate powerful insights, informing decision making around site security, or identifying areas of improvement from an operational perspective.
Where traditional CCTV was a closed, standalone system, and access control required direct human involvement to physically monitor and control access points, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS) benefit SMEs by providing fully automated, intelligent solutions which provide high levels of comprehensive security and protection. In the current climate, frictionless access control, removing the need for physical contact altogether, offers businesses a totally hands-free solution, removing the cross-contamination risks associated with touching shared surfaces.
From a security perspective, an automated system provides peace of mind. An access control solution which is linked to HR records, for example, can check the swipe of an access card, or use of a QR code on a mobile phone screen, against staff records, using advanced diagnostic capabilities. A staff member who is flagged as being on leave, absent with sickness or no longer employed by the company will trigger an automated alert to security personnel or the authorities. With surveillance cameras able to provide secondary authentication through visual clarification of an individual’s identity, the integration of physical technology and cloud connectivity proves a powerful combination.
Unlocking operational insights
The possibilities for such use span industries and sectors, and there are many examples. Within an office environment, video surveillance technologies can ensure that employees do not breach health and safety guidelines, while competitive advantage can be created by understanding working preferences or how employees move around the building, derived from a combination of access control and video data. The resulting intelligence may influence hot desking and home working policies, or the introduction of energy efficient lighting applications.
Elsewhere, the healthcare industry has greatly benefitted from positive applications which have improved health, safety and security. Within hospital environments, door control systems, installed at the height of the pandemic, have enabled clinicians and patients to communicate safely using video intercom capabilities, limiting the need to enter and reducing the risk of viral spread. In a busy retail environment, data obtained from store surveillance cameras and combined with access control information from the stock room, allows facilities and operations managers to make decisions around product placement, the allocation of staff, and a number of other factors which can help increase productivity and enable the business to run more efficiently.
Remote management and monitoring
Many buildings were left vacant during the lockdown, or manned by only essential key workers. Security and operations teams benefitted from having on-site visibility through remote management of sites, removing the need to contravene social distancing and lockdown regulations. Data from the access control and video surveillance systems can provide an overarching view of any environment. Intelligence from the system can be delivered via mobile app, removing the need to physically enter premises unnecessarily, which is a key benefit in the current climate.
SME managers can have full confidence in VSaaS and ACaaS because each system is backed by a regular rollout of software updates and firmware upgrades, ensuring continuous operation. Unlike a traditional capital expenditure model, requiring large upfront investment and ongoing physical updating of systems, both VSaaS and ACaaS are based on an operational expenditure model, requiring a monthly fee for solutions that are quickly installed and fully vendor supported. This removes the need for on-site manual maintenance, and results in a solution that is always up to date and always online; of critical importance to today’s businesses. Such solutions can equip SME teams for the challenges they face today, as well as offering a fully customisable and scalable solution to meet future challenges.