Tag Archives: Lone Worker

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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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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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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Skyguard’s ARC first in UK to receive ACPO Secured by Design accreditation

Skyguard’s Incident Management Centre in Surrey is the first facility to have been audited to the ‘ARC for Lone Workers’ product category by way of ACPO’s Secured by Design scheme.

The coveted accreditation gives customers reassurance that a product or service has been tested to the rigorous standards set under the Secured by Design initiative, based upon the principle of ‘designing out crime’.

Endorsed companies are allowed to display the Secured by Design logo and ‘Police Preferred Specification’ title, which indicates the certified product or service guarantees national police approval.

This accreditation complements Secured by Design approval of Skyguard’s MySOS personal safety device earlier this year, making Skyguard the only lone worker provider in the UK to have an end-to-end accredited service.

Skyguard's Incident Management Centre

Skyguard’s Incident Management Centre

As well as achieving Secured by Design status, Skyguard’s Incident Management Centre was also the first facility to be certified to the British Standard for Lone Worker Services BS 8484, which includes the highest standard for ARCs: BS 5979 (Category II).

Development of innovative products and services

“We’re very proud to be the first lone worker ARC in the UK accredited to ACPO’s Secured by Design scheme,” enthused Will Murray, Skyguard’s marketing director.

“Skyguard has a history of leading the industry by developing innovative new products and services which are certified to the highest possible standards. With ACPO Secured by Design awarding this accolade to our IMC and devices, this gives customers the reassurance that every element of our service has been rigorously assessed by the leading authority in the industry.”

Alan McInnes, the general manager of Secured by Design, added: “We’re delighted to award Secured by Design status for Skyguard’s ARC. This demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to maintaining security standards within the lone worker market.”

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Connexion2 acquired by Kings III of America Inc

Solutions developer Connexion2 has been acquired by Kings III of America Inc in a move designed to facilitate the supply of class-leading lone worker protection solutions on a global basis.

Connexion2 has been acquired by the US’ leading emergency communications company, Kings III of America, in a strategic move designed to strengthen core business offerings on either side of the Atlantic and to develop sales strategies in new target geographies.

Both businesses already supply class-leading solutions to a range of market sectors and share a strong customer-centric ethos.

The acquisition will allow Connexion2 to increase the scale of its lone worker solutions offering in North America and Europe while at the same time ensuring that customers continue to receive innovative, fit for purpose solutions backed by exemplary customer support.

Backed by investors including the South Yorkshire Investment Fund, Connexion2 was launched back in 2003 and manufactures the UK’s most widely-deployed lone worker device – Identicom. There are now over 110,000 Identicom devices in circulation offering end users a host of functionality including 24/7 support, truly discreet form factor, verbal abuse capture, Man Down detection, SiRF IV GPS and an innovative camera function.

Kings III was founded in 1989 and provides class-leading emergency communication solutions to customers across North America. The business also provides a host of associated turnkey solutions for use in elevators, at poolside, in garages, car parks, at cash machines, arenas and large facilities.

Kings III boasts a state-of-the-art Emergency Dispatch Centre staffed by operators equipped with advanced training certifications, in turn providing a key differentiator in their industry.

Details of the deal

The deal sees Connexion2 retaining its existing trading name and SoloProtect brand-presence throughout the United Kingdom. Kings III’s acquisition will help facilitate the further development of a number of key European and Asian markets.

Additionally, Kings III will supplement its substantial core business offering in the US with a new North American Division of SoloProtect, formerly branded discreetSOS prior to the acquisition.

Craig Swallow: md at Connexion2, the lone worker solutions specialist

Craig Swallow: md at Connexion2, the lone worker solutions specialist

Craig Swallow, the managing director of Connexion2, commented: “We’re delighted to announce Kings III’s acquisition of Connexion2 as we believe this will enable us to provide our market-leading lone worker solutions and customer support to a greater number of businesses.”

Swallow added: “For a while now, Connexion2 has sought a strategic partnership that truly allows it to develop fully into other target geographic markets. I believe the partnership with Kings III will enable us to do this in the coming years.”

Dennis Mason, the president of Kings III of America, explained: “This represents an exciting new chapter for Kings III. We believe the growth of lone worker security in the UK and the US makes it a key strategic move for our business. We have a relentless desire to deliver Best of Breed solutions to all of our customers, and Connexion2 demonstrates the same ethos.”

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