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Tech Refresh: The Security Industry Goes Digital

3.0 and beyond – three things to know about how the newly launched Security Industry Digital Plan.
Singapore’s security officers will soon have new digital tools to help them carry out surveillance, patrolling and access control better and more effectively. That’s the goal of the Security Industry Digital Plan (IDP), unveiled this week by the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the Infocomms Media Development Authority of Singapore

Here are three things you should know about how the Security IDP.  

Partners in transformation: Mrs Josephine Teo (seventh from left), Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, at the launch of the Security Industry Digital Plan on 18 July 2018. PHOTO: Ash Tiwari

1. The industry knows the direction it should be headed towards because it has a map – the Security Industry Transformation Map (SITM), to be precise. The Security IDP builds on the foundation of the SITM. 

Launched in February 2018, the SITM seeks to develop a vibrant and tech-focused security industry, one that delivers better security outcomes for Singapore and provides good jobs for Singaporeans. 

Why the need to transform, you ask? 

Singapore’s security industry plays a key role in helping the Home Team maintain safety and security. At present, our security industry comprises about 240 agencies that employ 47,000 security officers and which provide a range of services to residences, commercial buildings, industrial sites, schools and Government buildings. Cue the familiar image we have of security officers – stalwart men and women in uniform, keeping a watchful eye on things around them. 

But the industry faces key challenges that include the heightened terrorism threat, a growing demand for security services and slower workforce growth. That’s where the Security IDP comes in – it helps security agencies innovate and meet key security objectives through the use of technology. Our dependable security officers will still be around in the future, but they’ll be better skilled, higher paid and have access to a range of digital tools to perform their roles.

Supporting innovation: Security agencies that wish to advance along the Digital Roadmap can apply for a Productivity Solutions Grant from Enterprise Singapore. PHOTOS: Ash Tiwari

2. The Security IDP provides an easy, step-by-step guide to help security agencies adopt technology. 
The Security IDP includes a three-stage Digital Roadmap  to help security agencies gauge their digital readiness and make the necessary upgrades. 

Stage 1 – Getting Digital Economy Ready: At this stage, security agencies should strive to digitise their systems and optimise resources. They are also encouraged to adopt basic technologies such as: 
  -  Mobile-enabled patrols and incident management (for example, using smartphones and apps while on patrol) 
  -  Automated visitor management systems (to control access to buildings and sites)
  -  On-site video surveillance and analytics systems

Stage 2 – Growing in the Digital Economy: Having taken the first step in upgrading, security agencies should now employ tech tools to integrate their services and enhance their responses via: 
  -  Clustered security guarding (this involves providing integrated services to a cluster of sites rather than individual buildings)
  -  Risk/Threat prediction and detection
  -  Wearable security technology (such as smartwatches, bodycams and camera-equipped glasses)

Stage 3 – Leaping Ahead: The final stage in the digital transformation of security agencies involves bringing together insights from the various security systems in use to enable a higher level of autonomous operation. Technologies that may be adopted at this stage include: 
  -  Surveillance robots (such as drones)
  -  Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for training
  -  Security collaboration platforms

If you think that embracing these tech options can come at too high a cost for many security agencies, fear not – Enterprise Singapore offers a Productivity Solutions Grant that helps them adopt pre-scoped digital solutions. At least $7 million has been set aside over the next two to three years to help security agencies take the technological leap. 

First mover advantage: Among the security officers who have embraced the use of tech tools is Mr Kenny Ng of KH Security. A veteran of the industry, he has seen how technology can reduce routine tasks and deliver better security outcomes. PHOTO: Ash Tiwari

3. The Security IDP upskills security officers to become more effective and command better pay.

Transforming the security industry isn’t only a matter of using technology well, it also requires a commitment to upgrade the skills of those who’ll adopt it. That’s why security officers of the future can look forward to having greater digital literacy and awareness. 

Among the security officers who’ve embraced this new model is Mr Kenny Ng, 52, a Senior Security Supervisor with KH Security. Having joined the security industry in 2005, Kenny was a complete novice at using computers – “I only used pen and paper before,” he recalls. 

Daunted by the prospect of learning new tech tools for his job, Kenny took the plunge in 2017, and experience how they transformed  his work. “The Security IDP has made our jobs easier,” he explained. “With surveillance cameras and video analytics, we can remotely monitor everything from the command centre. We now have ‘extra eyes’ on the ground and can shorten our reaction time when activating first responders.” 

Having acquired greater proficiency in his digital skills, Kenny is ready for the next step in his career – this October, he’ll be promoted to Chief Security Officer. “If you know what your agency needs and pay attention, you can learn very quickly,” he said. “And, if you put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded. I’m proud to say that now I know more about computers than my children!”

Learn more about the Security IDP
  -  Launch of the Security Industry Digital Plan - Speech by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs
  -  Factsheet on the Security Industry Digital Plan
  -  Factsheet on Productivity Solutions Grant for the Security Industry

Written by

Mike Tan


20 July 2018

Science and Technology
Security Industry
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