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Chubb Arms Guards With Wireless Protection

iTouch, Chubb & Vodafone

22 May 2002

Trial is complete and rollout is now underway of a new crime-busting wireless security device at Chubb Protective Services. Developed by iTouch and operating in real-time over Vodafone's new GPRS network, the advanced iSecure system is the next generation security arsenal against illegal invasion.

Over the next few weeks 103 Chubb patrol officers nationwide will be equipped with Palm-based Symbol PDAs and barcode readers. Each device will be loaded with specially developed iSecure software by iTouch Business Mobility and connected to Vodafone's GPRS network via an Ericsson T39 mobile phone attached.

By monitoring premises using an innovative barcode approach and transmitting the collected data wirelessly instead of voice, the advantages of Chubb's new system include faster and more efficient job allocation and response in near real-time, instant panic alarms in case of life-threatening danger, and accurately reportable security checks. ....

The Challenge

Prior to installing iSecure, nationwide security alerts at Chubb were collected and administered by two call centres based in Auckland and Christchurch and logged into the main dispatch computer. Allocating jobs to the nearest on road patrol officer was conducted via a combination of mobile phone, pager or radiotelephone.

Although seemingly armed with sufficient systems in place, the methodology was not infallible and could not meet the required key performance indicator (KPI) of times from when a job is dispatched to when the patrol guard arrives on site. This was of crucial concern to Chubb, not only as an accurate and timely record for customers and police, but also to increase guard safety.

Fortunately most alerts raised by the system when guards fail to respond to a welfare check request end up being false alarms, but two in every hundred are not and require immediate back up by more guards, or in serious events by the police as well. While the administration process was very good, it relied on human judgement of lapsed time between guard responses. On busy periods especially, when as many as 100 dispatches are processed per night, the risk of error was worrying.

"A system was needed to both reduce risk of personal danger, and enable track and trace of guards and time to meet the required KPI. It also had to guarantee customers and crime investigators with irrefutable security records of designated checkpoints. With a large manual element in job administration, including hand-written report logs of times and observations by guards, we realised we needed expert assistance," said Mike Rutherford, the National Patrol Services Manager at Chubb Protective Services. "iTouch won the contract on the basis of their expertise and impressive track record."

Russell Stanners, Vodafone Director Business Markets said: "The system, devised by Chubb and iTouch, needed a mobile network that could provide speedy and accurate transfer of data between head office and people who really are on the frontline. Our GPRS network fitted the bill perfectly, providing the reliable delivery of vital information cost-effectively and in real-time.

"Security checks can be assigned and confirmed within the matter of seconds, without the guards having to haul around a combination of different devices and technologies.

"Any breakdown or delay in a communication between security patrols and head office can have severe consequences for both the guards and the businesses they're protecting. We're pleased to help make even the security business a little bit more secure," said Mr Stanners.

Technological Innovation

After the initial specification stage, development and testing of the project took just three months to complete. While there were a few tweaks that needed ironing out with hardware compatibility and network coverage decisions, after a few trials it was agreed that Symbol's rugged PDA device (SPT1700) and Vodafone's GPRS network were best suited to the job. "Critical to the project's success had to be 100% reliability the equipment," said Mr Rutherford.

"The wireless system also had to interface with our Guard Dispatch System (GDS), custom built for us six years ago and housed in the central control room in Christchurch," he continued. "The solution provided by iTouch does this extremely well."

"Now when an event alert is raised we can dispatch a job with a traceable call sign number to a nearby guard and have this job confirmed back within seconds at the touch of a button. If the guard is tied up with another event, he or she can pass the job to another guard via radiotelephone and relay the call sign number. If no response or confirmation is received by a specified time the system automatically generates an alert against that job for the administrators to action."

There are numerous event types that Chubb guards respond to including criminal and accidental alarm activations, welfare panic alarms, multiple noise control complaints, failure to set alarms and out of hours triggered entry. Each event is automatically allocated a job number and dispatched by control room operators to the guards for them to follow up. All key numbers to enter the premises concerned, plus precise location of the break in are automatically supplied with the job number. The break in location is often determined by the alarm which displays in which building zone the Passive Infrared Detector (PIR) has gone off. Once the event is processed the system automatically generates an incident report and emails it to the client.

Even routine checks are monitored by iSecure. At designated checkpoints throughout a customer's protected premises Chubb is replacing and handwritten logbooks with barcoded areas for guards to scan. The status of the checkpoint is then noted onto the system and rectifications undertaken and noted as necessary, such as closing a door or window left open. This process simplifies and speeds up the routine tasks for the guards and administrators (who no longer need to type the information into the system) and provides detailed and accurate records for the client.


Once the new system is fully rolled out Chubb will no longer require two call centres to process the reduced voice calls and plans to centralise the centres into one communications room in Christchurch. As a result it is expected that iSecure will provide Chubb a return on investment in just a few months.

"We are very happy with the solution provided by iTouch," said Mike Rutherford. "Wireless data transfer and automatic processing is by far more efficient, fast and accurate than relying on voice communication and handwritten data. It is also instant with live operation over Vodafone's GPRS network."

"We have already had a positive client response to the new system and its automatic incident reporting ability. Our guards are also positive about the system as it saves them time with establishing required job details and entering data on site. Importantly, we needed the ability to increase our level of service through KPI's, and iSecure enables us to do just that while providing us a unique market edge."

About Chubb Protective Services

Chubb Protective Services is one of New Zealand's largest security providers with the only Grade 1 monitoring station in New Zealand and a 24 hour Patrol Dispatch Centres. Chubb New Zealand also has the ability to effectively draw on global experience with representations in 70 countries worldwide. In Australia Chubb services 70 local body authorities, while in New Zealand, Chubb services 19 local body authorities.

Chubb's commitment to technology, adding value by its ability to offer electronic services not yet marketed by our competitors, includes vehicle tracking and now wireless handheld technology. As this system becomes an integrated part of Chubb's management process, the effective auditing of our mobile patrol service becomes a reality and will be greatly enhanced. Currently it is commonly recognised in the industry that staff can manipulate the current audit systems on the market.

About iTouch

iTouch is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has operations in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Israel, with a further three operations in joint venture with MIH.

iTouch a leading provider of mobile content, commerce and communications services. It enables individuals to use wireless PDA devices to receive real-time information, effect transactions and use other value-added corporate services.

In conjunction with mobile network operators, iTouch provides services over a full range of mobile voice, data and Internet platforms, allowing customers to choose how they wish to send and receive information without being constrained by technology limitations.

The company provides a range of mobile products and services to enable businesses to communicate more effectively with their customers, potential clients and employees, either individually or on a group basis. The iProduct suite delivers critical office-based sales, service, survey and delivery information direct into the hands of the mobile workforce. For more information visit


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