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You’ll never work alone… with SoloProtect

Where in the retail industry will you find lone workers?

Everywhere! Retail remains one of the larger public sector employers, with a wide range of job roles – this represents a significant business risk to retailers that employ a large number of people.
Whether full or part-time, many retail roles involve an element of working alone – whether inside or out of store. Opening and closing the store, taking deliveries, stock management and banking visits can all involve an employee working outside of direct or close supervision.
In addition efficiency targets, longer opening hours and smaller format stores increase the chances of lone working in the sector.

There’s also a host of supporting roles that allow stores to operate – in terms of logistics and distribution – all requiring pockets of lone worker activity to a smaller or greater degree.

Most retail stores already have a security system. What are the benefits of a mobile alarm system?

A fixed alarm is useful, but it does have a number of disadvantages in relation to protecting mobile workers. Firstly, it assumes that the point of risk to staff is always at the point of sale – this is known not to be the case, and risk can be presented to staff in a number of places within a retail environment. A mobile alarm that is issued to workers can also be used to protect them during their commute, store opening, or when moving around the wider retail environment (i.e. if located in a shopping mall etc). A mobile alarm also required no hard-wired installation thus saving cost. It is also easier to pool amongst workers who may work a shift pattern.

What are the benefits of an audio security solution?

An alarm that is with the worker allows the capture of credible audio evidence – both to inform an event as it is happening, and retrospectively either to authorities or to inform retailer policy, staff training or best practice. It also removes the element of ‘my word against yours’ or selective reporting in a situation where two accounts about an incident differ. It also helps the retailer to break down any assumptions that aggression to staff is acceptable, or that it ‘comes with the territory’ as part of a job. Verbal abuse is not acceptable full stop, and this kind of solution helps an employer to shine a light on it.

An audio solution also allows any first responders to a high-severity situation to better understand the dynamics of a particular incident. An audio alarm paired with an Alarm Receiving Centre operator that first verifies the situation prior to escalation (unlike a situation where only an alarm signal is received), can give the emergency services valuable intelligence about how to properly equip their teams entering the retail space.

What are the benefits of an Alarm Receiving Centre versus calling the Police directly?

In addition to those listed previously, a lone worker ARC is there to ensure a situation is properly verified, and then appropriately escalated in order to get the best possible response for the lone worker.
An ARC takes pressure off Police resources by carrying out the process of alarm verification. This ensures that the Police are given credible information, and that valuable Police resources are not wasted.

An ARC also helps underpin any lone worker service for users – it helps an end-user to engage with the solution and buy into the benefits of monitoring in the event they need assistance. Thus knowing that if they make a mistake an alarm is raised by accident, they are not going to be responsible for wasting Police time or causing a wider issue.

Where do you see the future of Lone Worker security solutions?

Device capability is key, particularly in new generation products (e.g. SoloProtect ID Pro) – but now more than ever, deploying customers need ‘stickier’ systems to enhance both the user experience and the demonstrable return on investment. Whilst at the same time, underpinning how the solution is framed to both end-users, and C-Level executives required to sign off the budget. Customers are often well educated at purchase stage, but emphasis and scrutiny at trial stage has widened focus to look beyond the merits of a particular device or Alarm Receiving Centre component and looking holistically at the solution offering.

In short, solution users and employers will continue to want more from their solutions – and providers must embrace that and see it as a natural progression of a growing, increasingly educated market. In turn, high capability solutions will continue to inform the process of risk assessments conducted by clients, as employers assess who is at greatest risk within their organisation.

Ultimately the solutions should serve to better inform Police or other first responders being dispatched to support a lone worker emergency. After all, any lone worker solution is judged by the response it elicits. The future will be sooner than you think.

Craig Swallow – CEO, SoloProtect 

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