Published: 26 July 2019
Mr Robert Wiener, President, ACSA
Dr V. W. Nathan, Honorary Treasurer, ACSA
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good evening
2. It gives me great pleasure to be with you here tonight on the awards ceremony. I would like to thank ACSA and the organising committee for taking the initiative to honour successful digitalisation efforts through the Security Industry Transformation Awards.
3. We are all aware of the challenges in the security industry today. More than half of our current pool of security officers are above the age of 55. Vacancies for security officers remain amongst the highest for non-PMET occupations and the rate of growth of security industry manpower was almost 5% per year over the past 3 years and this has far outstripped the average national labour force growth of approximately 1% per year over the same period.
4. Today, as many of us know, our security guards are working up to 95 overtime hours a month because of high demand for their man-hours. But this is not sustainable. We must safeguard the welfare of our workers. So by 2021, overtime exemption will be removed and our security guards will then be working no more than 72 overtime hours a month, in line with the statutory limit. But that means a manpower crunch and that means that we must find effective solutions to meet higher security demands.
5. To overcome this challenge, security agencies, Union, and Government have embarked on a journey to transform the security industry. Our collective vision is a vibrant, technologically-advanced and competitive security-industry that provides quality services at good value.
6. Technology is a key enabler to realise this vision. Digitalisation allows security agencies to explore integrated solutions, and a more technologically-advanced industry will also reduce reliance on manpower, attract a more technologically-savvy workforce, and alleviate the problem of high security-officer vacancies.
The Security Industry is moving towards Digitalisation
7.We see many encouraging signs. In the past, security agencies relied solely on security officers to conduct perimeter patrols. Intrusion would only be detected when the guard was there at the time when the intruder entered the building.
8. Several members of the public have joking asked me why we are asking security guards to patrol round the condominium when there are no intruders as yet. By the time the intruder comes, he is already tired out and he cannot run after the intruder anymore. When I first heard that example, I thought it was very funny but it does suggest to me that this is what is happening on the ground now.
9. So when I was walking amongst the booths just now, understanding about the various products and services that our various solutions providers were demonstrating, I am glad to see that they are deploying sensors and video analytics to pick up abnormal activities around the building perimeter. So security personnel can now focus on higher-order functions like sense-making and response and they will only be called physically to action when there is a real intruder, instead of using up their energy to walk endless rounds without having had signs of danger beforehand.
10. So the Government is committed to help digitalise the security industry. We have introduced the Industry Digital Plan, and grants under the Security Industry Transformation Map to guide and support security agencies on the effective use of technology.
11. The Industry Digital Plan provides security agencies with an easy-to-use, step-by-step guide on the relevant technologies and IMDA has also curated a list of pre-approved digital solutions.
12. Funding support is available under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to help local SME security agencies with the upfront costs of adopting technology. The PSG supports 50% of qualifying costs, capped at $30,000 per company each year. Almost 60 security agencies have benefited from the grant since it was launched in July 2018.
13. These pre-approved solutions will form the foundation for security agencies in their digitalisation journey.
Key Elements for Successful Digitalisation
14. I am glad to see that the Security Industry Transformation Award honours key stakeholder groups needed for a successful push towards digitalisation. We gather here today to recognise and commend 43 Individuals, Security Agencies and Security Service Buyers who have taken the initiative to adopt technology and transform the way security operations are conducted.
15. I will now share three key factors for successful digitalisation based on the experience of three award recipients.
Security Agencies – Adopt a human-centric approach
16. Firstly, digitalisation is more than just investing in technology. A human-centric approach is crucial to maximise the likelihood for successful technology adoption.
17. Prosegur Singapore Pte Ltd, winner of the Platinum Award for Most Committed to Go Digital Organisation, is a good example of a firm having a human-centric approach. Prosegur introduced the Virtual Guard Tour solution to Marina Bay Financial Centre to improve the effectiveness of its Security Officers. Before doing so, it ensured that all officers were trained to use the system. So its security officers now rely on the system and video analytics to patrol the premises virtually, reducing patrol time by one-third. They now spend more time on higher value-added roles, such as sense-making, when security alerts are triggered by the system.
Individual Employees – Adopt a Positive Mindset
18. Secondly, individual employees also need to adopt a positive mindset for technology adoption. Security Officers should not be afraid to try new technology.
19. So tonight, we will be honouring Mr Saravanan Rajoo, winner of the Platinum Award for Most Committed to Go Digital Individual. He is always on the look-out to try new technologies to improve work conditions and effectiveness of his security officers. He came up with an idea to deploy surveillance drones equipped with thermal night vision capability for security guarding and he put his idea into action and collaborated with the Republic Polytechnic to develop the drone, and he trained his security officers to operate the drone. Today, his security officers are able to deploy surveillance drones for patrol duties. So I think many of us can learn from Mr Sara, not to be afraid to dream big and to translate your ideas into safe and effective solutions on the ground.
Security Service Buyers – Be Open to Accept Technology
20. Thirdly, deployment of technology must make business sense. It must create value and enable positive security outcomes for buyers.
21. So, Cherryhill Condominium, winner of the Silver Award for Most Supportive Security Service Buyer (Residential), and AGS Integration Pte Ltd, achieved a win-win outcome by changing the traditional concept of manned guarding at condominiums.
22. Security guarding of this condominium now takes place at an offsite command post where camera footages are monitored more effectively with the aid of video analytics. I had a chance to see it just now at the booth and it was very impressive. I am delighted to see that the company is doing well providing the security solutions, and I hope many of the companies here would take a further look at the products and services out there, and to try your hand at testing them and see whether they work well for the buyers that come to you.
23. So I am heartened to see the many success stories of security agencies, security officers and service buyers. I would like to acknowledge and thank ACSA for initiating the Security Industry Transformation Awards. I hope this will spur more to embark on the digitalisation journey.
24. To reiterate, at the enterprise level, security agencies must be open to experimentation and to take the first step to create an enabling environment for digitalisation.
25. At the individual level, security officers must take the initiative to upskill and take on new job functions.
26. So, I wish everyone great success in your digitalisation journey and I hope you enjoy your evening together tonight. Thank you.