Tag Archives: Lone Worker Protection

Send For Help Group’s subsidiary companies elected as Committee Members of BSIA’s Lone Worker Section

The Send For Help Group – Europe’s largest lone worker protection provider – has been granted two Committee Memberships of the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) Lone Worker Section, representing one for each of its subsidiary companies.

Marketing director Will Murray has been re-elected as representative for Guardian24 while Ben Hawkins, who leads the company’s Incident Management Centre, has been newly appointed to represent Skyguard.

The BSIA’s Constitution dictates that Section Committee Member Elections are held on an annual basis via secret ballot among Section members. A maximum of eight places are available on the influential Committee, seven of which have been occupied thanks to the recent vote.

The Committee’s role is to set the Section’s strategy and vote on key decisions on behalf of the wider Section membership. Committee Members can also play an important role in the development and revision of industry standards as part of British Standards Institution (BSI) review panels. This is the case with the Send for Help Group’s two Committee Members who sit on the BSI panel which is currently redrafting BS 8484, the British Standard for Lone Worker Device Services which is due for publication in 2016.

Will Murray

Will Murray

The Send For Help Group’s CEO James Murray commented: “I’m delighted that both our subsidiaries are represented on such a prominent Committee, which is testament to the high esteem they command within the industry. The UK is leading the world in the lone worker protection market, and the BSIA’s dedicated Lone Worker Section is the leading group within the UK driving this forward. Having such a strong representation within this influential group is invaluable to the business in terms of maintaining its position at the forefront of the industry.”

Ben Hawkins

Ben Hawkins

Murray concluded: “I congratulate my colleagues on their appointments and I’ve no doubt they will continue to play an instrumental role both in terms of raising industry standards and developing the market.”

About Send For Help

Established in 2010, Send For Help is the investment vehicle of technology entrepreneur Jan Murray who founded the PC World superstore chain and Internet Technology Group plc.

James Murray

James Murray

Through its subsidiary companies, the Send For Help Group is the largest lone worker protection provider in the UK, on the European stage and, indeed, globally. Comprised of the Skyguard and Guardian24 brands, the Send For Help Group has a combined subscriber base of 70,000 end users operational across a diverse range of vertical markets.

The senior management team boasts over 40 years’ collective experience of working in the lone worker protection sector. Drawing from this specialist expertise, the Group’s constituents have invested in cutting-edge technology to develop exclusive personal safety products, a purpose-built Incident Management Centre, high quality software and infrastructures.

*Further information is available at: www.sendforhelp.co.uk

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VINCI Facilities boosts lone worker security by selecting Skyguard’s MySOS solution

Part of the VINCI construction group, VINCI Facilities has chosen to roll out Skyguard’s personal safety service in order to mitigate potential risks for all of the company’s lone workers.

VINCI Facilities provides bespoke solutions and services to a variety of traditional vertical sectors including housing, education and healthcare. The company fully understands the potential risks faced by its dedicated lone workers. For example, VINCI’s resident liaison officers work alone and visit domestic properties across a wide array of locations from rural areas through to inner cities.

On that basis, Josephine O’Connor – business and community investment manager at VINCI Facilities – set about sourcing a BS 8484-compliant and approved lone worker personal safety service to support and protect the company’s lone working employees.

“Our officers encounter people from all walks of life,” stressed O’Connor. “They may find themselves alone and faced with awkward situations where there are known areas of high-risk.”

Following extensive research and after much deliberation, VINCI Facilities awarded Skyguard the contract to provide 24-hour emergency back-up for all lone worker personnel through its fully-accredited MySOS personal safety device.

The MySOS – which fits easily on a set of keys or may be carried on a belt holster – allows end users to raise an alarm at the press of a button should they feel threatened or deem their personal safety to be compromised. That alarm is immediately sent to Skyguard’s own purpose-built Incident Management Centre where trained controllers will listen-in, locate the end user, assess the situation and take appropriate action (including potential escalation of the scenario to the emergency services).

The MySOS personal safety device developed for lone workers by Skyguard

The MySOS personal safety device developed for lone workers by Skyguard

When tracking options are enabled, the MySOS device will also automatically record and transmit its GPS locations at set intervals. Alternatively, manual activation is realised by the press of a button on the device.

Locations may be viewed on a map with grid references – and in real-time – via Skyguard’s Customer Service Centre online portal.

Two-way communication and GPS location

In commenting as to why Skyguard was VINCI Facilities’ preferred choice, Josephine O’Connor stated: “The real-time link to the emergency services and the fact that the Skyguard controllers can hear what’s happening are real comforters. In a genuine emergency situation, the controllers will despatch the appropriate services to assist our lone workers. This is the degree of assurance we wanted and exactly why we chose Skyguard.”

O’Connor continued that theme by stating: “The offering of two-way communication, GPS location and emergency despatch all in one device ensures the complete safety of our staff in areas of risk. The fact that Skyguard links directly to the emergency services and that recordings are admissible in court were the deal-makers. On top of that, the security of knowing that we control all of the parameters via Skyguard’s Customer Service Centre and that we can tailor the response for every scenario from mild risks through to emergencies is ideal.”

Skyguard’s Customer Service Centre portal allows client administrators or end users to create and update their account details in real-time on a 24/7 basis. Clients can input their own emergency procedures tailored to their organisation and department or personalised to each employee.

“The Customer Service Centre portal gives us the management data we need to be able to keep the lone working staff safe,” asserted O’Connor. “It also details the geography of my teams. This has the added benefit of enabling me to better manage their time and afford an enhanced service to our clients.”

In conclusion, O’Conner said: “We have set procedures to follow in ensuring the Health and Safety of all our employees and customers. There was one incident where a staff member felt vulnerable. By using the MySOS, it gave that individual added confidence to better handle the situation knowing they were not alone.”

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Skyguard equips Brent Council’s lone workers with personal alarms

Skyguard is providing Brent Council’s front line lone working staff with 24-hour back-up and assistance. The Council’s employees are now able to raise an alarm at any time via the solutions provider’s ACPO-accredited MySOS personal safety device (which offers a simple yet effective way to call for help in any emergency scenario).

Brent Council provides a wide range of community services to the public within its inner London Borough boundary. Some of these services require the Council’s employees to work alone, and occasionally in difficult circumstances.

Conscious of its Duty of Care towards the safety and well-being of all staff members, Brent Council needed a form of personal protection for its lone workers. The requirement was for a small, easy-to-use personal alarm which enables the user to discreetly raise an alarm should they face any difficulties.

MySOS – Europe’s smallest personal alarm – comes fully equipped with the latest mobile phone and tracking technology. At the touch of a button, the Council’s employees can quickly and discreetly call for help.

Upon alarm activation, controllers at Skyguard’s 24-hour Incident Management Centre can see who’s calling for help. They’ll use the two-way audio capability to listen in and assess the situation, talk to and reassure the system end user and action the appropriate emergency response.

The MySOS lone worker protection device

The MySOS lone worker protection device

As the MySOS solution is fitted with GPS tracking technology, controllers can see the user’s exact position as shown via an on-screen map. This is vital for guiding emergency response to the right location. What’s more, all calls and actions are digitally recorded and can be used as legal evidence.

Alarms may be raised when the MySOS’ ‘Man Down’ feature detects a slip, trip or heavy impact. Again, this is vital if the employee is unable to call for help themselves.

Skyguard’s service is fully audited and approved against BS 8484:2011 and, as such, guarantees the highest level of police response when required. Skyguard will also bypass the 999 emergency system, saving what may be crucial minutes in responding to an emergency.

Why Brent Council opted for MySOS

Mike Somers, regeneration officer for Brent Council, explained why the organisation chose Skyguard’s solution.

“Right from the start,” stated Somers, “we found Skyguard’s advice helpful and informative. The sheer helpfulness from meeting with them and the team advising us in terms of what was best for our needs stood out.”

Somers continued: “When it comes to the MySOS devices, they are issued to staff working on housing estates and visiting various site locations. Staff can contact Skyguard’s controllers at any time they are on their visits and the alarm will use various mobile phone network suppliers to ensure they remain in contact. Some lone working products do not have the facility to do this.”

Skyguard’s marketing director Will Murray added: “In the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed a dramatic change in perception as regards the personal protection of employees, notably from local authorities. With legislation continuing to evolve, organisations – be they operational in the public or private sector – can no longer afford to ignore the safety and well-being of their lone workers.”

Murray concluded: “We now work with over 75 Councils nationwide in safeguarding their lone workers. That total includes many long-term customers, and it’s a number that continues to grow on a monthly basis.”

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Guardian24 smartphone app protects Addiction NI lone workers

Northern Ireland-based charity Addiction NI has chosen to protect its staff who work alone by equipping them with Guardian24’s lone working personal safety smartphone application. The application provides end users with the ability to log in and out of daily tasks, and also allows them to raise a panic alarm should their safety be compromised.

Addiction NI is an alcohol and drug treatment charity providing tailor-made treatment programmes for people with drug or alcohol problems that’s delivered in community settings. The charity also gives confidential support to people affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use.

Addiction NI provide outreach services where treatment programmes are being delivered in clients’ homes. These appointments are often carried out by an individual worker, so they’re open to the risks associated with lone working.

Alan Coleman, project manager at Addiction NI, said: “Staff often work alone and can operate several miles from their office base. In addition to the risk of physical and verbal abuse presented by clients who may be intoxicated, there’s also the risk presented by others who may be in the home when staff call.”

Guardian24's lone worker protection system for Addiction NI is delivered via BlackBerry smartphones

Guardian24’s lone worker protection system for Addiction NI is delivered via BlackBerry smartphones

Reason for the new arrangement

With the increase in lone working visits, Addiction NI decided it needed extra support to safeguard workers at all times.

Guardian24 was chosen as the lone worker safety protection to be used via Blackberry smartphones. The lone worker mobile application provides an easy-to-use personal security service without the cost of purchasing additional devices.

With the ability to log in and out of daily tasks and raise a panic alarm should an issue occur where safety of the lone worker is compromised, Addiction NI is meeting its Duty of Care to employees.

Addiction NI has found that implementing Guardian24 provides reassurance and peace of mind to staff by allowing them to carry out their jobs with the knowledge that they have extra protection should they find themselves in a volatile environment where they’re exposed to risk and their safety is compromised.

“The Guardian24 service has greatly enhanced our Lone Working Policy and procedures,” continued Coleman. “The system is easy to operate and provides staff with the reassurance that if a situation arises in which they feel they’re at risk, they have immediate access to a panic alarm to summon help.”

Using reports from Guardian24

A further reassurance for Addiction NI’s staff is that if their session with a client exceeds the estimated duration of the activity that they logged, Guardian24 will instigate an escalating response to check on their safety.

Coleman added: “Our managerial staff make full use of the Guardian24 reports, such as the monitoring reports, in turn allowing managers to immediately pinpoint a member of staff’s location in the event of an alarm being raised.”

Guardian24’s marketing manager Leona Mills commented: “Addiction NI joins our ever-growing list of charities who use our invaluable service to protect their lone workers. With over 33,000 users throughout the UK and Ireland, our award-winning technology continues to protect the vulnerable lone workers in this sector.”

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Skyguard announces lone worker safety and security collaboration with VSG

Skyguard has announced a distribution agreement with VSG in providing lone worker protection across the UK and Ireland.

The agreement will see Skyguard supplying personal safety devices, mobile phone software and client administration tools to link directly with VSG’s 24-hr Alarm Receiving Centre.

VSG is one of the UK’s leading security services suppliers, offering solutions that encompass guarding, systems, remote monitoring, training and background screening. The company is part of the Compass Group UK & Ireland, a leader in the supply of food and support services across 10,000 sites including workplaces, famous sports and leisure venues, hospitals, schools and oil rigs.

VSG has now added the MySOS personal safety device and Skyguard for Smartphone applications to its already impressive range of services. With its ever-expanding blue chip client base and outstanding reputation, there’s no security organisation better placed to promote lone worker protection across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

MySOS and Skyguard for Smartphone

The MySOS personal safety device and Skyguard for Smartphone applications have been exclusively developed by Skyguard. With one button alarm activation, GPS tracking and locating and two-way audio communications, the devices and handsets afford users the ability to call for help quickly and easily in the event of any emergency.

All lone worker connection tools purchased through VSG will connect to VSG’s ARC, which is accredited to National Security Inspectorate Category II ARC Gold standard. As soon as an alarm is raised, controllers at VSG’s ARC will know who is calling and where they are, listen in, assess the situation and send the appropriate emergency response.

James Murray: CEO at Skyguard

James Murray: CEO at Skyguard

Organisations purchasing the service via VSG will also have full access to Skyguard’s Customer Service Centre (CSC) – a secure, online interface that allows client administrators or end users to create and update their account details in real-time. This information is instantly available to controllers at the ARC upon the activation of an alarm.

The CSC also allows personal alarms to be assigned to different users at the click of a mouse. This is ideal for clients who share a pool of devices for shift workers or those who share job roles.

The CSC further empowers client administrators with access to a full suite of activity reports which can be exported for further analysis.

Delivering first class safety and security

Speaking about the partnership, Skyguard’s CEO James Murray said: “We’re thrilled that we’re partnered with VSG who have so much experience and expertise in delivering world class security solutions. VSG’s mission falls perfectly in line with our own and we’re both passionate about delivering first class safety, security and personal protection across the UK and beyond. This agreement enables both Skyguard and VSG to further expand into the lone worker protection market.”

VSG’s head of remote monitoring services, Chris McNally, also spoke keenly of the collaboration. “We’re pleased to add Skyguard’s personal alarms and mobile phone software to our range of services. We wanted a reputable, robust solution to integrate with our ARC. Skyguard’s excellent work with the oolice, the NHS and the wide array of industries that trust them, demonstrates that they are, by far, the best choice for VSG.”

McNally concluded: “It’s a relationship that I’m confident will not only benefit both businesses but also lone workers right across the UK and Ireland.”

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Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust use Skyguard to protect 600 lone workers

Based in central London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust comprises two of the largest hospitals in the UK, employing over 13,000 staff.

In April 2011, the Trust took over responsibility for the provision of community services in Lambeth and Southwark. As a result of this transfer, the Trust ‘inherited’ 471 personal safety devices which were purchased from the 2009 Lone Worker Framework Agreement.

Jayne King – the Trust’s head of security, portering and reception services – was mandated to ensure the lone worker system provided robust protection for all community-based staff. King discovered that the incumbent system relied on inferior cell ID location-based technology, and many of the staff were not comfortable with using the devices.

That being the case, King conducted a thorough evaluation of lone worker protection providers available on the market, subsequently discovering that Skyguard’s service met all of the Trust’s requirements.

Skyguard’s MySOS device was chosen as the replacement solution due to its GPS technology which sends the alarm location during an emergency and allows the staffs’ whereabouts to be tracked by managers online via Skyguard’s client portal.

Skyguard's Alarm Receiving/Intelligence Management Centre

Skyguard’s Alarm Receiving/Intelligence Management Centre

Incorporation of the latest technology

“Skyguard’s MySOS was the obvious choice as it incorporates the latest technology,” urged King, ” while being easy to use. It also offers good value for money.”

At the earliest opportunity in February 2013, the Trust initially ordered 70 MySOS devices to protect Midwifery teams as their existing contract was due to expire.

As part of the service implementation, all staff using these new devices received face-to-face training sessions with a Skyguard trainer to ensure they fully understand how to use all of the features.

In addition to the SOS button which links to Skyguard’s UK-based Incident Management Centre, the device features voice memo and speed dial buttons. The voice memo feature allows staff to leave a message (amber alert) on Skyguard’s system detailing where they are going and who they are visiting. If they raise an SOS alarm this message can be listened to by Skyguard’s controllers, cross-referenced with their GPS location and passed on to the emergency services and/or duty manager.

The speed dial button can be programmed to call a specific number allowing the device to be used as a mobile phone. Midwifery staff use this as a back-up in case their mobiles are lost or stolen.

Additional convenience or protection

Following a successful implementation to the Midwifery teams, the Trust subsequently migrated other Community Service teams to using the MySOS devices.

Some departments have also purchased accessories which offer additional convenience or protection such as in-car chargers, roaming SIM cards and identity card holders.

“One of the most impressive aspects of Skyguard’s service is the project management during implementation,” added King. “At every step, Skyguard provides full support ensuring that each team is set-up with the minimum of fuss, making the process quick and easy.”

The Trust now has over 600 MySOS devices protecting its lone working staff, with more being added on an ongoing basis as and when required.

Irrespective of the job role or a given individual’s specific circumstances, Skyguard’s service ensures that they have 24/7 personalised protection at the touch of a button.

Will Murray, Skyguard’s marketing director, commented: “We are delighted to be working with one of the largest and most famous NHS Trusts in the country. Over 70 NHS trusts have switched to Skyguard which confirms our ongoing commitment to offering superior service levels at unbeatable prices.”

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“Transformational growth” delivered at Reliance High-Tech

An emphasis on IP technologies and security software integration has generated strong first quarter results for the security integrator.

The strategy of focusing on specialist technologies for markets where security is a business critical issue is reaping rewards for Reliance High-Tech.

A new breed of IT-centric solutions has stimulated growth across integrated IP, Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) and networked digital interviewing markets.

The strategy has yielded a diversity of new customers including Pfizer, Newell Rubbermaid and Loughborough University. It has also resulted in major projects with EDF Energy Nuclear New Build and a new deep-sea container port and logistics park in the Thames Estuary, where Reliance has integrated traditional and new technologies to protect critical infrastructure programs.

Terry Sallas: managing director at Reliance High-Tech

Terry Sallas: managing director at Reliance High-Tech

This success is coupled to new long-term frameworks with (among others) Western Power Distribution and the National Health Service, and consolidates Reliance’s position across the criminal justice, utilities, education and healthcare sectors.

Tangible results include sales in excess of £10 million in the first financial quarter, up 140% on the previous year.

Blending of security and IT expertise

Terry Sallas, managing director of Reliance High-Tech, commented: “We recognise that issues such as IT convergence, disruptive technologies and evolving security threats will increasingly coexist with traditional security needs.”

He continued: “Through blending security and IT expertise and collaborating with specialist partners, we’re providing solutions that improve security and address complex technical issues pragmatically and efficiently. This approach has increased the proximity to our customers and created new opportunities.”

Reliance High-Tech's company logo

Reliance High-Tech’s company logo

Looking ahead, Reliance High-Tech will continue to embrace new technology shifts and grow its capabilities in security-based software, data mining and analytics.

Later this year, the company is set to launch its 720˚ Security Solution, a multi-dimensional offering addressing a diverse spectrum of security issues from the protection of physical and logical assets through to the remote monitoring of critical systems and the protection of lone workers.

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Skyguard launches account management portal for lone workers

Skyguard has launched its new and improved Customer Service Centre (CSC) account management portal, in turn providing clients with an unprecedented range of tools to help protect their lone working employees.

The Customer Service Centre is instrumental in providing an efficient and effective lone worker personal safety solution. It allows clients to manage their accounts, user’s personal information, escalation procedures and service features in real-time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This means vital information is immediately available to Skyguard’s Alarm Receiving Centre controllers if the alarm is activated in an emergency.

Version 2.0 of the CSC is a big enhancement on the current version. 2.0 boasts over 100 new features and improvements over the existing portal, featuring a more user friendly front end and a host of new reports which can now be scheduled for export direct to nominated client administrator’s e-mail inboxes at regular intervals.

Skyguard’s Customer Service Centre 2.0 has a wealth of features and benefits. They include:

• Google Map functionality for viewing user’s locations
• Breadcrumb trail of user movement
• Step-by-step set-up wizard for easy account creation
• Extensive online support including downloadable documents and video tutorials
• Drag-and-drop functionality for ease of use
• Over-the-air personal safety device configuration changes
• Scheduled reports delivered direct to e-mail inboxes
• Detailed post-incident Controller reports
• Dashboard overview of account
• Pool/sharing of devices at the click of a mouse

Innovative approach to lone worker protection

Skyguard’s CEO James Murray explained: “One of the reasons that Skyguard is the fastest-growing company in the lone worker protection industry is because of our innovative approach to personal protection. Some of our customers are using thousands of our devices, so it’s imperative that we provide our clients with an easy-to-use account management tool. We’ve built our service to the very highest standards and, as such, there’s an expectation from our customers that we consistently deliver. Version 2.0 is a testament of our commitment to provide the very best personal safety service possible.”

James Murray: CEO of Skyguard

James Murray: CEO of Skyguard

Murray continued: “Test results with a select number of companies have been positive. Those trialling 2.0 have stated that they were very impressed with the additional features and increased efficiency. We’re confident that there’s no other personal safety service in the UK that can provide the same level of management reporting and user personalisation as Skyguard.”

The CSC portal can be accessed via any web browser and from any PC without the need for installing any additional software. Unlimited use of the CSC is inclusive in the monthly subscription for all Skyguard personal safety service users – there are no additional fees.

Moving into profitability

The directors of Skyguard are also delighted to announce that the company has moved into profitability for the first time in its history.

This important landmark has been achieved as a result of significant growth in 2012 which saw Skyguard more than double its number of subscribers.

The Board is delighted with this achievement which follows the investment of several million pounds in recent years in service infrastructure, new technology and product development. This has placed the company on a sound financial footing and provides a solid foundation for further expansion in the coming year.

Sales in 2012 were strongly driven by the public sector markets, with the client base expanding to include many more NHS trusts, local authorities and other public organisations. Over half of the country’s police forces also continue to use the Skyguard service to protect vulnerable people.

The directors are very optimistic about the new financial year and are confident of consolidating their position in the market and reporting further improved trading results.

James Murray said: “Clients are coming to realise that lone worker protection doesn’t need to be expensive. With the lingering effects of the recession, more and more organisations are turning to Skyguard as they discover we offer a fully accredited, first-class service at highly-competitive prices.”

In conclusion, Murray stated: “As Skyguard has now achieved its objective of attaining profitability and is cash positive, we can reinvest in the business to take it to the next stage of expansion.”

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