Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  07 Apr 2011

SECURITY: Faster, More Effective Security Responses


Recent Western Cape Business News

Gone are the days of two-way radio communication and stepping into a new technological era is Cape Town-based ADT Security with its Autodispatch system – a first for the South African armed response industry.

Keith Alberts, ADT’s Group Operations Director, says this system is revolutionising the way ADT operates its fleets around the country. “Autodispatch was created by the ADT team, in conjunction with monitoring software developers Oryx Systems, because we wanted to find a way to be able to dispatch our entire fleet simultaneously and automate processes in the control rooms – and Autodispatch allows us to do just this. Using the traditional two-way radio system meant that we could dispatch up to 10 cars every two minutes. Now we can dispatch our entire fleet simultaneously in a matter of seconds. The main advantage is obvious – more vehicles can be sent out to more incidents thus cutting down on critical response times,” he says.

The Autodispatch system consists of individual PDA units carried on the chest or hip of each Reaction Officer, linked via GPRS to the dispatcher and controller in ADT’s control rooms. Where previously the dispatcher would communicate with Reaction Officers via two-way radio, using the PDA unit the communication is now entirely automated, not only ensuring the dispatch instruction is received faster but also freeing up the dispatcher to deal with exceptions – emergency situations and not false alarms, for example.

Being able to further develop the technology and system relatively easily means there are countless possibilities to install new functions onto the units. Currently, Reaction Officers arrive on shift, login with a password and enter their vehicles registration. This way they are linked to the vehicle for the duration of the shift. They then do a vehicle check, following instructions on the unit, and then begin their shift. All information put into the unit is captured and stored on a database in the control room. If the Officer finds a fault on the vehicle, he can photograph it and the picture is also captured on the report. Before Autodispatch, all this was done on paper and handed to area managers. It’s become an entirely paperless process, saving 700 pages a day,” says Alberts.

Once on the road, the dispatcher can monitor where each vehicle is using the GPRS link to the unit. When an alarm activation comes through, the dispatcher sends an alert signal to an Officer in the area, via the unit. The Officer then accepts the dispatch instruction and heads to the property. If it is a false alarm, the Officer will fill in details of the call-out on the unit which will include the password selected by the resident on the touch screen, a slip code and any additional information. The Officer can then leave the property and be dispatched elsewhere. “We have placed a panic button on the screen at all times so if anything should happen while the Officer is on the premises or when arriving at the scene, he can press the panic and instantly the dispatcher will receive a distress call and can dispatch back-up vehicles. The safety of our Officers is always a priority and this unit is increasing their safety too,” adds Alberts.

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