Dalibor Dimitrievski, head of security, Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah highlights how technology has revolutionised hotel security and the daily challenges hotels face keeping a property out of harm’s way.
The advancements in technology have revolutionised security and safety over the course of the past ten years, in a really positive and exciting way. There are many new security systems that now assist the smooth day-to-day running of a busy operation, whether it is in a hotels or across other industries and platforms such as airports, shopping centres and sports stadiums.
Hotels are consistently improving their systems installed which range from state-of-the-art video surveillance, access control and fire protection systems. Having this new technology not only allows security teams to have better access to vital information, but also increases guest, staff and customer safety therefore making every day living a lot safer.
There are many new products on the market that are assisting security and safety levels, one in particular that has vastly improved the ways in which we identify a potential suspect or security threat, include new facility developments such as facial recognition systems. A person’s face is instantly recognisable with its unique and individual features and people know this now, so it can also prove as a deterrent.
Huge and intelligent database systems can be searched for those features to see if they are recognised by the police, security and Interpol systems. This equipment is extremely useful in places that experience regular, high footfall.
Additionally, with the aid of high resolution cameras, which are extremely effective in gaining accurate detail of any incident, accident or natural disaster, data can be recorded and the footage reviewed at a later date which is crucial to any property and hotel, as this helps understand what went wrong and why, essentially preventing any future occurrences of the same security breach. Often, these cameras can also help with something as trivial as guests misplacing their personal belongings, and so these cameras are perfect in assisting in locating these goods.
Technology is also now so advanced, that things like body heat detectors highlight excessive body heat which, shows us people who are under stress, duress, or suffering high levels of anxiety, this then highlights the alteration of an individuals mood, personal characteristics and any nervousness. This assists security teams, in high traffic areas and offers the facility to monitor a lone person in a crowd that is displaying these tale-tale signs, which then makes them easier to track and assess suspicious movements. Such information enables the security team to pre-meditate a situation, which can very much so lead to preventing terrorism, trafficking, assisting in cases that could involve dangerous and mental instability conditions and uncalculated reactions, all of which can lead to unwanted consequences. This equipment shows an increase in body temperature, heart beat and blood pressure.
Having a high class video surveillance and fire protection system is costly but extremely worthwhile as these systems can detect the onset of a water leak, electrical malfunction, sprinkler damage, sewage issues and elevator problems which can all lead to a breach in security. This eases the process of any potential issue with speed and efficiency, saving time and potentially huge damage costs. These systems increase visibility and access to all of the surrounding areas of a hotel, which provides a safe environment for guests and staff alike, anything out of the ordinary is flagged early so that prompt action can be taken.
Access control systems border specific areas for limited access and we have moved from physically unlocking doors to systems that are only activated by codes, fingerprints, eye scanners and voice recognition. Technology is changing and pro-actively making it easier for security professionals to limit movement of unwanted personal in restricted areas. Signing in and out systems are also vital in case of an emergency that requires evacuation.
Metal detection systems are also vital in high-footfall environments; these provide a quick and unobtrusive method of detailing unauthorised entry of weapons or other prohibited materials.
All in all, these systems are very costly, but it affords security teams additional sets of eyes and data intelligence, which, not only can protect properties such as hotels and shopping facilities but more importantly people. The world today is very fast paced and travel is very easy, nothing seems out of the ordinary any more. These systems assist in preventing problems, foreseeing issues and providing necessary proof.