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Remote servicing for security “likely to accelerate during Coronavirus pandemic and beyond”

30 October 2020

ACCORDING TO recent research conducted by JLL, more than three-quarters of businesses globally report that 80% or more of their employees were working from home during April and May as they navigated lockdowns and social distancing measures in a global pandemic. The need to stay at home, but in parallel maintain business continuity, has forced businesses to adopt remote working formats.

Business leaders have quickly begun to understand that having sufficient remote working capability is a vital aspect of business resilience, and especially so during a pandemic.

Anthony Brennan, president of Chubb Fire & Security, commented: “As a result of this shift in mindset, businesses are likely to expect the same from their service providers, demanding more remote service and support capabilities. This is a change that’s here to stay as businesses look to new solutions for employee well-being and safety amid the acceleration of digital transformation in the business world.”

In the last 20 years, the industry has been developing remote capabilities, such as monitoring building status and performance and conducting remote diagnostics. Today, in the fields of fire and security, technologies allow many services to be supported remotely for the end user. A vital part of the management of all customer facilities, whether it’s an office, logistic warehouse or Data Centre, is the maintenance of security and fire solutions that are essential for business continuity.

Benefits for customers and providers

“The introduction of remote solutions to the problems posed by 24-hour security and fire safety provides benefits for both customers and providers,” asserted Brennan. “Remote service providers can provide remote monitoring and control for security systems, in addition to remote diagnostics and remote corrective action, with most of the work involved able to be completed without on-site staff.”

As the world reverts to the ‘new normal’, businesses may try to reduce the number of on-site staff as contingency. There are various value-added services to help customers via remote monitoring centres, for example ‘video guarding’ and visual verification. Technology can also be used to recover CCTV images remotely following an event that requires further investigation.

According to Brennan, one of the key benefits of having remote capabilities is the reduced disruption to critical businesses and facilities. “For example,” he observed, “if a security system is being installed or upgraded in a hospital, traditionally installers or service providers would be on site and causing potential disruption. With remote capabilities, time and disruption could be reduced. After installing hardware, it’s then possible to conduct the majority of system configuration, testing and commissioning remotely, as well as adjusting access control systems to enable the smooth flow of key employees through the site with minimal fuss.”

The latter helps to speed up the work process, therefore significantly reducing time spent on site. This is also crucial for the safety of a solution’s provider’s employees, reducing exposure to risk such as during the recent pandemic. It also means that, once equipment is installed, the best talent can be allocated to ensure a favourable outcome for all clients.

Conversation on stability

In recent months, the conversation on sustainability has been shifting as the safety of the population is the highest priority. However, businesses will continue to address sustainability and remote services can help improve a business’s carbon footprint.

On that note, Brennan commented: “Increasingly, we see that responsible corporate entities are demanding environmentally sustainable solutions for every aspect of their business, whether that be a contract for fire and security monitoring or more sustainable strategies around waste and recycling.”

Cyber security is often referenced as one of the concerns of a remote service offering, but from Brennan’s experience, as long as system integrators choose products that have a sound security design and the system is kept up-to-date, the customer risk exposure is mitigated.

“It also requires all parties of the supply chain to take responsibility for cyber security,” he continued, “with the help of dedicated procedures and technologies that continually identify the risk of a cyber attack.”