Many businesses, particularly those operating within the hospitality and restaurant markets, are adopting new business models to offer additional services and convenience to their customers, such as delivery or curbside pick-up. These changes are forcing a rethinking of legacy security and IT infrastructure. In times like these, more attention needs to be placed on streamlining operations, deterring crime, bringing down IT costs and increasing safety measures.
Now more than ever, operations, IT and security professionals are working overtime to find ways to address these concerns and leverage various technology solutions that will help them secure and scale their operations. Many are working hand in hand with a managed service provider as an extension of their in-house teams to help identify the most effective solutions.
With so many hospitality and restaurant businesses now closed or operating with limited staff, it has never been more important to ensure the safety of essential staff and make certain the premises remain secure. To that end, an interactive monitoring solution with video and two-way audio capabilities allows trained security staff to be able to see, hear and communicate with employees — safeguarding the premises 24/7.
Virtual guard services allow remote operators to connect to live video and two-way audio feeds and conduct security tours of a location throughout the day, just as an on-premises security guard might do. The operators can ask staff at the location if all is well and look for a confirmation response from employees. This powerful layer of security makes customers aware that there’s a security presence on hand and warns potential bad actors that there are eyes on the location. Additionally, employees can trigger an alarm if there’s a potential threat for an immediate response from a trained, live professional. This security expert can address anything from shoplifting and loitering to angry customers and armed robberies, creating a critical layer of security between staff and the threat.
For essential businesses that remain open, automated voice down messaging services provide the ability to make public announcements to remind customers and employees about proper social distancing and/or food safety compliance. The messages can be scheduled throughout the day and play through an audio system at the premise. Each message can be customized to touch directly upon the biggest challenge of the day.
To help reduce an overload of incoming calls to a business and minimize stress on staff so they can focus on preparing deliveries and respond to immediate requests, many businesses have converted to Voice Over IP (VoIP) solutions leveraging automated cloud attendants. These deliver simple and cost-effective services that result in 50 to 60 percent fewer calls directly to a location. Here, when customers call a business, the phone is actually ringing in a remote auto attendant that's in the cloud. It presents the caller with clear recorded options, such as directions, business hours or offers information on how to order online or present detailed procedures for curbside pick-ups. If the customer needs to speak directly with someone at the location, there’s an option for them to transfer.
More store-level applications like VoIP and enhanced security means more reliance on the network. This can lead to strategic network enhancements like additional bandwidth, segmented networks to support and isolate critical store-level applications (like POS transactions or live video streaming), and backup solutions in case of a primary network outage, like LTE wireless.
In times like these, when it’s especially hard for operations, IT and security professionals to make their way through all the options, a managed service provider, can help to make sense of it all. They can customize solutions to deliver a scalable and secure service that’s right for each business. Managed service providers are here to help. They can take pressure off of staff and be a trusted advisor on optimizing security and IT infrastructures so that they can remain focused on the job that’s at hand — delivering essential services to those who need them most.
Sean Foley is the Senior Vice President for Interface Security Systems.