The September issue of Security Insight contains an interview with our CEO Peter Andreasson and our German sales representative, Andreas Benkert. We talk about our history and why we think that the German market is ready for the digital paradigm shift that we’ve seen in the Nordic countries.
Click the image to read the article in German (page 38-39) or scroll down for an English version.
The security market is in a paradigm shift
The manned guarding market is going through a paradigm shift. Companies need to digitalize their processes to keep up with new customer demands. The Nordic countries were early to start this process and Blue Mobile Systems in Sweden is a key player in this development.
Peter Andreasson, CEO of Blue Mobile Systems. Tell us how you got into digital security for manned guarding?
– I actually worked as a security guard in the 1990’s and I felt like there were a lot of inefficient and cumbersome parts of the job. To me it was obvious that digital mobile technologies could make it easier for me to do a good job. So, I studied computer science at university, wrote a master’s thesis in collaboration with the CSO at G4S (now Avarn) and then became part of the academic research group Public Safety at what is now RISE. I did hundreds of hours of observation and interviews with guards, group leaders, CSOs and others in the field and I realized that this was more complicated than I first thought. But it was also quite obvious that my first gut feeling was correct: mobile digital technologies can solve many problems in this industry. That’s why we started to build the GuardTools system in 2004.
What are the advantages of digitalization?
– It all depends on how you do it. With GuardTools, there are clear improvements in quality and efficiency. One of the most dramatic changes that we’ve seen, is that guards report up to 10 times as many events and actions. This is a crucial point for me as a former guard, because I know that guards do a lot of good work that more people should know about. GuardTools then transforms all this information into quality reports and statistics that really capture the advantages of manned guarding. That’s important, because if we don’t understand the value of manned guarding then people will eventually be replaced by cameras and AI even in cases where manned guarding is necessary to fulfil the requirements.
What kind of challenges comes with digitalization?
– A common mistake is to miss the whole picture when you digitalize your operations. The guard’s situation is very important but it is also only one of many parts. For example, you can start to use an app that is easy for the guards to use but does not fit well with the rest of the organization or the end clients. Administrators and group leaders might not be able to manage patrols, work shifts, permissions, statistics, or reports the way they want to. On the other hand, if you have a very complex system that can do everything imaginable, it might be very difficult to use and therefore, at the end of the day, not be beneficial. So the challenge is to find the balance between user friendliness and complexity, and to make something that fits everyone in the organization.
Why did GuardTools succeed so well in the Nordic countries?
– Our initial research was vital, I would say. We’ve had many fruitful discussions with guard companies and end clients, and we’ve emphasized both the costs and income aspects. GuardTools cuts costs for example by saving time through automating manual tasks. This is clearly important, but there is also a lot of untapped potential for guard companies to increase their income. We knew that guards did a lot of work that they did not report, and we knew that end clients could not differentiate between guard companies. They thought: “all guard companies are the same, so let’s choose the cheapest one”. Prices were pushed down, which meant that quality goes down. With GuardTools you can reverse this process. You can improve the reports to improve your offer, add new services enabled by our digital tools and therefore increase the income.
Why do you want to move into the German market?
– The German market is a bit different from the Nordic countries but the problems are the same. We know that the end clients want to have more information from the guard companies for better risk management as a base for decisions on security investments. This is very similar to what we saw in the Nordic countries a few years ago. Already we have seen a good response from guard companies and end clients in Germany and there are clearly pent-up demands to tap into. I am confident that with digital tools that are not only designed for the guards’ situation the German market will be quick to adapt to the new paradigm.
5 things to consider when digitalizing your company
- Do your research.
- Quality tools are investments that will not only cut costs but increase income.
- Choose a tool that will grow with your changed needs, even five years away from now.
- Prepare to satisfy the future needs of your customers as soon as possible and get a head start to your competitors.
- Choose tools that will make your employees and clients stay with your company.
Andreas Benkert, why did you decide to work for Blue Mobile Systems?
– I’ve been working in the security industry for almost 30 years and when I saw the technological leap of Blue Mobile Systems, I was immediately interested. I knew that there are demands for this in Germany, so I wanted to get involved in this. What is also important for me is that Blue Mobile Systems uses a partnership-style of selling. This is my approach to sales as well. We are like partners and we support customers not just in the beginning but throughout the relationship. This is also why we use the software-as-a-service business model. As your company changes and grows, it is easy to add tools and licenses to adapt to new conditions. There is no need for large investments, and you don’t pay extra for updates. This dynamic approach I think fits very well with the German market.
How does the German market operate in the new paradigm shift in general?
– Our market evaluations show that the digital shift is imminent in Germany. The market has matured to take the step into digitalization, and we see a growing demand for our system. Most guard companies have realized that a digital transformation is necessary to stay competitive in the future, just like we’ve seen in the Nordic countries. In the Nordics nowadays you can’t bid on a tender if you haven’t digitalized all your processes.
All indications show that Germany will follow the digital paradigm shift that has happened in the Nordic countries. Competition will not be centered around the lowest price but on quality and new services. GuardTools is uniquely positioned since it is based on scientific research, practical experience, and more than 15 years of software development according to industry praxis and standards. The GuardTools system supports mobile guards in the field, guards at static sites, administrators, planners, quality managers, alarm operators and end clients. You can read more about the system at www.guardtools.de.