Three Technologies of Guard Tour Software

Increase the visibility and accountability of your security guards with flexible technology options.

Using guard tour software to keep track of your security guards is increasingly becoming standard practice, especially given the importance of accountability in the security industry.

Guard tour software typically uses one or more methods to track guard location, each bringing varied benefits, and each suited to different types of security contracts and requirements. Here are three of the most common technologies used for tracking security personnel and when to use them.

1. GPS and Geo-fences

GPS is probably the most common method of tracking guard location. GPS is easy to implement–– no physical hardware needs to be deployed –– and geo-fences (virtual GPS perimeter) can be quickly created around properties, buildings and other outdoor spaces that require monitoring. 

For contract security companies, GPS is commonly used to:

  • Confirm a guard is on site and doing their job, or in a vehicle completing their mobile patrols.
  • Protect against false claims, provide evidence if an incident occurred or confirm the presence of a guard if your client believes they weren’t there.
  • Improve safety and response times by knowing where guards are located during an emergency.

GPS is an excellent solution if you only need to know that your guards are on site and don’t need indoor or multi-level tracking. But, if you’re looking for indoor or zone-based tracking capabilities, keep reading.

2. Bluetooth Beacons

Beacons work by broadcasting unique identifiers using the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol. A smartphone application is able to listen for identifiers, determine proximity from the beacon, and then use this information to record every time they’re in the range of a beacon –– without them having to do anything.

Security contractors commonly use Bluetooth beacons to:

  • Confirm a guard is visiting a specific or a sequence of checkpoints at a property. 
  • Present specific content and checklists to guards based on their exact location. 
  • Understand exactly where guards are spending their time in an indoor environment. 

Bluetooth Beacons provide granular tracking –– determining an exact location to within ten feet –– and work in the background without a guard having to actively scan a checkpoint. They’re particularly suited to large multi-level facilities like airports, hospitals, shopping malls or universities.

3. RFID/NFC/QR codes

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and Near-field communication (NFC) tags use radio waves to determine location, and NFC is a specialized subset within the family of RFID technology. QR codes are a type of matrix or two-dimensional barcodes that require a QR code scanner to determine location.

RFID and NFC have less friction when scanning because you only need to hold the phone or reader near the tag, whereas QR codes require you to hold a scanner up to the barcode to read it. One major benefit to QR codes is that it’s very low cost and easier to deploy and maintain — if you need a new QR code, you can simply generate and print one in a matter of minutes.

When delivering security services, RFID, NFC or QR codes are commonly used to:

  • Identify the exact location of a guard on a hyper-granular level –– within a few feet.
  • Scan without an internet connection.
  • Quickly and easily implement a system at a low cost.

Tags and codes are great options when you need a lower cost solution that provides precise indoor or checkpoint tracking.

The best guard tracking technology for you depends on the environment you’re working in and your goals. And, sometimes, it can even make sense to leverage multiple technologies across a single property like combining geo-fences and NFC tags. So, as you evaluate a guard tour solution, be sure to look for software that’s flexible enough to meet your needs now and in the future.