Innovative Technology For A Safer Canada
By Rajitha Sivakumaran
According to ABC News, on average there was at least one school or campus shooting every week in the United States last year. Canadian statistics are somewhat less terrifying; after the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre (also known as the Montreal Massacre), which left 14 students dead, only the La Loche, Saskatchewan shootings of January 2016 came even slightly close to rivaling the casualty count.
Nonetheless, stricter gun laws are called for, but short of using extrasensory powers to draw out those who may misuse guns, other proactive measures are needed to ensure that shooting sprees don’t become a routine news headline. Stanley Security Solutions (SSS), a division of Stanley Black & Decker, is working on exactly that.
“We have a number of products in our current portfolio,” said Piero Romani, vice president at Stanley Canada Corporation. Some of this is the traditional ‘bread and butter’ of the security industry, but SSS has taken these to a new level, so that the latest products are more targeted.
Earlier this year, for example, the company launched SHELTER, a high-tech lockdown solution. It is targeted at schools and campuses, as well as critical facilities such as hospitals. The system allows for automatic lockdown with the aid of a wireless fob. In the case of a school, a single button can be used to lock the door to every classroom and larger chambers like the library and gymnasium. “It will work with the main entrance, but it is geared towards the physical door. So if we’re looking at classrooms, SHELTER would go on each classroom door,” Romani said. The people inside would remain protected until emergency services arrive, who then can systematically unlock the doors and clear the building door by door through an app.
This solution not only offers protection, but it evens reduces the classroom disruptions caused by safety measures currently used.
“With all the active shooter scenarios that we are currently facing, classrooms are being told to leave the doors locked,” Romani explained. “The problem is that you have students who are in and out and it creates quite a burden. This solution will be placed physically on the door so you can leave the door unlocked, students can come in and out, but in the case of an emergency or an active shooter scenario, you hit a fob and it will automatically lock all the doors and protect people within the facility.”
Complementary to SHELTER is Stanley Guard, an app-based security solution catered towards the personal protection of employees and students. In a campus environment, students can access the app using their smartphones and take advantage of a variety of different features if they were to find themselves in a sticky situation. All they would have to do is shake their phone for a predetermined number of seconds to trigger an audible alert with flashing lights. Furthermore, an alert will be sent to campus security with the student’s GPS location. Simultaneously, the app will activate audio and video.
“This allows campus security to see the alert, click to the video clips that have been uploaded, see what’s actually happening, find your GPS location and deploy one of their mobile campus security officers to deal with the situation,” Romani said.
For employees, it provides the added benefit of booking trips or meetings. For instance, for a professor going from one building to the next for a 10 o’clock meeting, the system will send out an alert if he or she does not arrive at the appointed time, perhaps due to a safety threat. “It’s really geared towards linking personal protection to campus security. So if something were to take place, it captures as much information and transfers that to the security people on site so that they can deploy as quickly as possible,” Romani said.
Innovative security solutions don’t just apply to serious situations; the latest technology can be applied towards incorporating convenience into life. One of the most recent ventures SSS has embarked on is a partnership with y!kes, a company that specializes in proximity-aware technology. These two companies are combining their fortes to enhance customer experience in the hospitality sector.
Mobile keys were quite impressive when they first emerged, but they required hotel guests to load an app and keep their phone pressed against the door lock. The latest mobile keys designed and manufactured by SSS and y!kes uses proximity software that will allow guests to unlock their room door without having to remove their phones from their pockets or handbags. The product was presented at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference that took place in New Orleans in June.
A focus on innovation
“One of the things that has always differentiated Stanley Black & Decker as a whole is our focus on innovation and I think when you look at some of the things the divisions of Stanley Security have done, there’s been some very good innovation that has come out in the last little while,” Romani said.
A growth strategy centred on innovation has served the company well here in Canada and internationally. As the number two security company in the world, the SSS logo can be seen everywhere in Canada, from the automatic doors of retail outlets to hospitals and government buildings.
“From a brand perspective, the world knows the Stanley Black & Decker name,” Romani said. “There aren’t very many buildings in this country that Stanley Black & Decker didn’t play a part in building or renovating. The strategy that we’re deploying for 2017 is to get Stanley Security out there. The buildings that we helped put up, we want to help protect.”
Global prominence certainly helps when the economy decides to meander. “In Canada, we have some interesting economic times going on right now,” Romani said, adding that macroeconomic conditions are affecting both customers and projects. Security, however, has become almost as important as food and water in these times, and companies, despite economic difficulties, can’t afford to cut expenses by being negligent. “We understand that there are conditions that may cause our customers to look at alternate solutions, so we’re always looking at ways to try and do things better and smarter,” Romani added.