Interconnective has been a security patrol system supplier for over 20 years. Our flagship Partner brand is well-known throughout the UK security industry and is widely used on hundreds of sites around the country. We offer next-generation tools such as The Partner Online as well as the more traditional security guard tracking system, The Partner Professional.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Security Patrol System?

At the most basic level, a Security Patrol System is just a proof of presence mechanism that allows the user to prove that a particular officer has done the patrols that they were supposed to. Often called a security guard tracking system or guard tour system it is used by security companies to show compliance, to help manage and train their staff or even end users who want to ensure that they are getting what they paid for.

What kinds of Security Patrol Systems are there?

This is not an easy question to answer as there is no official standard for these tools and what they do and how they function varies wildly. The original security patrol systems were metal cylinders that tapped points (often iButtons or Dallas tags) around a site and recorded the time and date when the event occurred. They were then downloaded to a computer through a docking station and the data was compiled into a report. The most common brands for these in the UK were Deister and The Partner. Modern security guard tracking systems however are more advanced and operate as an App on a phone. They have far more functionality and often incorporate features that were traditionally entirely separate functions like Lone Working, Daily Occurrence Books, Forms, Asset Management and more. Each type of system has its own strengths and weaknesses as well as price point.

Are old style metal Security Patrol Systems still used today?

Absolutely, yes. While technology has advanced, there are some advantages that the older device have that can’t be matched by smart technology. The old-style devices use metal recorders often called patrol batons, Deisters or Partners depending on the model. These recorders are very tough and are able to take a massive amount of punishment before they stop working. Some models like The Partner even has a shock sensors to tell you if it has been mistreated by an officer and when it happened. These recorders also do not require an internet connection and most well-known models have a very lower power draw meaning that their battery can last for years at a time. This makes older models ideal for remote sites, docks, on-board ships and anywhere that a device might be away from a computer, WIFI signal or control room for days or weeks at a time.

How do App based Security Guard Tracking Systems work?

While they vary in features, functionality and price there are some common aspects between them. A security officer will carry a mobile phone on them. This mobile is normally ruggedised (such a CAT phones) and will have the security patrol system App installed on it. Like the older systems, they will go around a site, “tapping points”. These points are normally NFC tags, ibuttons or QR Codes, each with a unique ID. It is very difficult to clone these and as such are generally considered to give “absolute proof of presence”. While GPS is sometimes used, it comes with a few drawbacks as it triangulates your position via satellite so it is not very accurate for smaller sites as well as having difficulty with multiple levels and being indoors. Some systems like the Partner Online will have NFC and GPS that can be used in conjunction with each other, letting you see what route an officer took between the points.

Good App based systems will allow you to view the patrol data in real time. As the mobile phone is connected by WIFI or SIM, the data is being constantly uploaded to the server which means that you can follow along with the officer through the management portal if you wish. This data is then collated into various reports which can usually be customised by the user to meet their requirements. Some systems will have a user-friendly back-end that makes this very easy. Others will require you to have the company that makes the system customise the reports for you.

What additional features do modern Security Patrol Systems have?

This all depends on which system you are talking about. Some of the useful ones include:

Forms – The ability to create custom forms on the back-end which will be filled out by officers using the handsets. These can be incident reports, fire checks, equipment inspections or pretty much anything that may be required. These forms normally can have attachments and photos added to them as evidence. They will also normally be included in the reports of the patrols that they were added on.

Asset Management – Some guard tracking systems incorporate the ability to sign in and out equipment and keys within the App. This is normally done using NFC key rings attached to the item, it is scanned by the mobile device which will then log when it was checked out and when it needs to be returned. Some systems will even send reminder emails to the person who checked it out when it becomes overdue.

Lone Worker – For years Lone Worker Apps were their own separate industry with apps like Stay Safe cornering the market. In recent years, security patrol systems like the Partner Online have begun incorporating this functionality. This means that you can set panic alarms, free fall detectors, tilt detectors, check-ins and other precautions that will protect staff if the are working on remote sites.

Task Management – Some guard tracking systems allow managers to assign tasks to individual users. These tasks will pop-up on the mobile device and stay until it has been completed. Others will assign tasks to patrol points which prevent them from being completed on a patrol until a task is carried out.

Digital Occurrence Book (DOB) – Daily Occurrence books have long been a feature of the security industry. As technology has developed however, there has been a strong push to move this function in to a digital format with dedicated digital versions popping up. There are a few security patrol systems that do have this ability and are able to integrate it with their patrol and form functions to create one complete database.

Handset Locking – The better systems include handset locking. This function prevents officers from changing settings, calling random numbers and using the internet on the device. Safe numbers can be assigned which can be called while the device is locked down. The same can be done for applications which the officer might need while on duty. Some of these functions even let you control various features of the mobile device remotely.

How much do patrol systems cost?

This varies wildly depending on the type of system, the features and the company that produces it. Old-style security guard tracking systems tend to be high-upfront costs with low to none ongoing costs. Chinese old-style guard tracking systems can be bought on Amazon cheaply but they are famously unreliable and do not have ongoing support or servicing meaning that they have to be replaced frequently and cannot be repaired. The Partner and Deister systems are much more expensive at the outset but have dedicated repairs and servicing teams which means that they can be used for decades. At Interconnective, we have Partner recorders that were sold in the early 2000s that are still in use today.

Modern App style systems generally have lower upfront costs but do have monthly or annual charges. They are a SaaS (Software as a service) and while you can buy the handsets from some companies as a bundle, the core of the business is the software and not the device itself. Subscription models also vary between companies with some having a flat fee, some charging by module and others by user.

What kind of support can I expect?

When the older systems first came out, support was offered for a set time period, following which additional support could be purchased. This was common at the time but has largely phased out as norms within the IT industry changed. These days, support is generally included in the price but quality of support will vary wildly between companies. Some providers will use a ticket system where as more customer centric organisations will have direct customer support lines. One thing to be aware of with new systems is that support with generally only cover issues with the App and not with the device unless you bought the device through the same company. They might also be unable to help if it is a network problem (i.e. the wifi at the site as this will be controlled by a site’s IT department). 90% of problems you are having can generally be resolved by ensuring that the mobile device is properly connected to the internet.

Which type of Security Patrol System is right for me?

This depends entirely on what you plan to do with it and what requirements you or your client have in terms of data and reporting. Consult the check list below:

Does the site have a WIFI signal?
Will the client pay for mobile data?
Does the client need real-time tracking?
Do they need anything else other than proof that patrols are being done as promised?

If your answer is No for all of these then you should be able to use an old-style recorder-based system. If any of them is a Yes then it might be worth investigating an App based system.

What is the product life of a recorder-based system?

It depends on the brand. Partner and Deister systems generally last 2 – 3 years without need of repair. With repairs they can last for decades. Chinese systems generally have a product life of about a year, sometimes 2 and then the whole system needs to be replaced.

What is the product life of an App based system?
As the data is normally hosted in the cloud, the product life does not have a definite end point. The only limitation is the mobile handset that is used. This depends on the brand you buy and how it is treated. Ruggedized phones like CAT phones last longer and have better warranties so you are looking at 2 -5 years with them. Lower-cost phones or ones that are not ruggedised tend not to last long, so 1 – 3 years depending on the site.
Can I use any mobile handset with an App-based Security Patrol System?
If the App is NFC based then you will only need an NFC capable smart phone, if it is QR code based then you will only need a smart phone with a camera. You will need to check the operating system compatibility of the APP, essentially, does it run on iOS or Android. Where things get more complicated are the technical specs required. We do not recommend trying to use a model of phone that is older than 3 years old as this will largely avoid minimum requirement issues but you should also check what the minimum requirements for the App are before purchasing.
Which App-based Guard Tracking System is best?
This entirely depends on your needs and price sensitivity. What features do you need and what are you willing to pay for. At Interconnective, we sell, support and maintain the Partner Online. It is one of the lowest cost systems available in the UK and offers a massive amount of features. Other options include TrackTik, GuardForce and Smart Task whose systems work differently and have different subscription models. It is important to know what you are looking for and which system has the features that you need.
Will a recorder-style Security Patrol System work with any Patrol Point?
The short answer is maybe. If the patrol points are official Dallas Tags or Maxim Integrated’s iButtons then they should work. Most decent companies that provide these systems will also sell patrol points, either the above or their own. Their points will have been tested against their system and should work without issue. With Chinese versions that are bought through Amazon, some of them may be incompatible with commonly available points. This is something you should always check before buying.
Will NFC based App-based systems work with any NFC tags?
Not all NFC Tags are made equal. There is a massive variety in what is available and often low-cost options do not live up to their promise. It is always best to buy NFC tags from the company that is selling you the system or the NFC tags that they recommend. There is a lot of variation in how NFC tags are made, size of chip, size of field, are they anti-metal etc. If it is difficult to scan the tag, many officers will stop trying so it is important to make sure that it is as easy as possible.