Morphean CEO Rodrigue Zbinden looks at how understanding and using occupancy data to support operational decision making is key to helping banks remain open.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges across all industries. From the customer perspective, retail banks have been able to continue to operate online, thanks to mobile apps and cloud connectivity providing customers with full access to their accounts remotely. However, it is the investment banks and wealth management companies that have suffered as a result of lockdown measures, and today need to ensure that large numbers of staff can continue to work safely. Considerations should be given to the necessary steps required to conserve a safe environment in which this can continue to be possible.
Hygiene and social distancing measures will certainly be at the top of any priority list. Banks are under pressure to monitor all aspects of safety and health while continuing to offer the same high amounts of professionalism and reliability. With management without doubt looking with interest in the tactics employed by those providers of essential services who have remained open throughout the pandemic, it's apparent that, alongside the safeguarding of individuals, banks must also factor high levels of security into any solution.
Gaining insights, unlocking intelligence
In comparison to the dated CCTV technology and manned access points of history, modern security solutions have numerous capabilities, both from a security and business perspective. Cloud-connected network cameras are made to provide high quality surveillance video, both externally for perimeter protection and internally, for real-time monitoring. Utilized in conjunction with access control systems, video can offer a second factor of identification, granting access where positive identification is made, through a system that it more trustworthy than access cards or keypads alone.
In addition, today's network cameras and access control systems, linked online of things (IoT) produce data that may be analysed in the cloud to create powerful insights. This information can be used to inform a variety of business decisions, particularly in an environment where staff move freely around premises. Data concerning the most often frequented or congested areas can enjoy a vital part in finding a solution, within the current climate, to streamline operations while minimising risk from a health and safety perspective.
Effective people management
Using fraxel treatments to determine, control and measure occupancy levels can prove invaluable. Understanding and being able to react to occupancy data is an important part of not only improving onsite security and situational awareness, but is also integral to ensuring high standards and services information, resourcing tasks appropriately and maintaining a secure environment.
Through the use of sensors placed at entrance and exit points, staff numbers can be effectively monitored, with downward placement ensuring GDPR compliance by performing a head count rather than identifying individuals. Additionally, frictionless access control mechanisms ensure a fast and hands-free method of admitting staff towards the premises, using surveillance cameras, QR codes, or cell phone identification to avoid touching keypads, manned gates, or any other procedures that will delay staff and cause unnecessary queue 'bottlenecks' at entranceways or on stairwells.
Audio equipment, attached to the surveillance system through simple IoT plug and play connectivity, can be used to issue messages, either pre-recorded or live in real-time, to remind staff of the importance of maintaining a safe distance from each other. In addition, failure to comply with social distancing regulations can trigger an automated alert which plays an alert message while simultaneously making security personnel conscious of the situation, so that appropriate action can be taken as required.
Taking a long term view
With a larger need for the banking industry to be able to guarantee staff safety in the present climate, it's also necessary to have a long range view of business decision making, in which data around occupancy, coupled with surveillance and access control information can play an important role. This data may be used to prove that a bank has had appropriate measures, providing documented proof of full compliance. Systems can be created bespoke and tailored specifically for the bank's requirements from site to site.
While of great benefit in these changing times, intelligent occupancy shouldn't be viewed purely as a tool for any crisis, but as a mechanism for encouraging the best behaviours at the right time. For example, in relation to retail banking, greater visibility leads to the ability to coordinate operations across branches and, ultimately, for everyone the customer better. It's increasingly likely that understanding of proximity to others, and a have to minimise infection risks will end up an ongoing concern in the absence of a Covid-19 vaccine. Businesses should therefore look to have the technologies in place which will afford them a better knowledge of the use of their space, and movement within it.
Remote management and diagnostics
To minimise the chance of Covid-19 infection, it's vital to ensure that just those personnel who are absolutely necessary for day to day operations are on site. Remote monitoring and operational insights could be managed virtually via tablet or mobile, removing any have to enter the premises. Again, this has applications across all areas of banking, from checking that staff in a large investment bank are following hand washing procedures, to monitoring numerous high street branches to ensure correct social distancing of customers and customer-facing staff.
Such a system can also be useful for coordinating onsite activity that sits outside of regular day to day business operations, yet necessitates making decisions around how best to manage people. Examples include a fire drill in which staff have to be safely evacuated, or the transit of cash, during which an armoured truck and guard will arrive at the premises to deposit or remove money from the branch. These situations will require some planning as to how best to safeguard people while also continuing to follow all of the expected security protocols. Technology can help in any decision making process.
A trusted solution for ongoing support
Partnering with a trusted physical security provider can generate a future proof system that's able to helping the banking industry to manage the many challenges of today and tomorrow. A pay-per-use business design means that systems can be easily scaled down or up in accordance with customer requirements, while monthly recurring payments take away the need for large upfront capital expenditure. Regular software updates and firmware upgrades create a solution that is always online and always up to date, providing the very highest levels of security and surveillance, whilst unlocking many operational and business benefits. Such systems can play an essential part in intelligent operations management, keeping the banking industry a measure ahead in a changing world.