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Staying Connected

May 20, 2024 by Alistair Enser

On the back of another busy week of video conferences and phone calls, and as most of us enter a third week of working from home, I wanted to share news and items that have caught my attention over the last few days.

In terms of the wider picture, at the time of writing, reported deaths from COVID-19 in hard-hit Spain and Italy appear to have reached a plateau. Here in the UK that is certainly not the case, but does the news from Spain and Italy suggest that those countries’ containment strategies are starting to take effect? Does that provide hope for us in the coming week or so?  I sincerely hope so.

Tracking our movement

Google released interesting information on the mobility of the British public, based on anonymised data gathered from Android smartphones. The graphs reveal the impact of lockdown in the UK in terms of a huge fall in movement – whether visiting parks, restaurants and shops, using public transport, or travelling to work. Note also the rise in those working from home. Now, I don’t know how large the data set is, and it would be interesting to further correlate time of day against certain activities, however there do appear to be some interesting potential trends.

Images: Google Inc.

Yet looking at the recent drop in those confined to home, and the corresponding bounce back in those travelling to work, are we seeing a normalisation of effective home working, or perhaps the result of some not taking heed of the guidance to stay home?

It strikes me that the vast majority of people are doing the right thing and working from home where they can. Clearly, essential workers and those unable to work from home are going to work. But it will be interesting to monitor this situation over the next few weeks to see if these numbers increase further, and what this really means for the future.

On that point, will we ever see a total return to the office? As we become more comfortable with remote working and the digital technology that makes it possible, will a higher degree of working from home become the new normal? How will the security industry and wider business practices adapt to the new world that is facing us? Where is the balance between using surveillance to curtail the spread of the virus, and the infringement of civil liberties? These are questions I hope to address in future posts.

Are burglaries from commercial properties on the rise?

Evidence both anecdotal and reported suggests that there appears to be a rise in commercial burglary. As a piece in the Stevenage Comet reported:

“Safer Neighbourhood Inspector Pat McPeake said: We have seen an increase in commercial burglary offences since mid-February and they are unfortunately continuing. We have stepped up our patrols in key areas and we are asking people who live near to shops or businesses, to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.”

Where there are empty buildings and streets there are clearly opportunities for thieves. And, while we await crime statistics to support or negate these anecdotes, maybe this is the time for the industry to consider change and fully embrace the digitisation of traditional services – a move that is well overdue and will help in the short term and provide better resilience in the future should an event like COVID-19 happen again.

You’ll never walk alone

Over the last week Reliance High-Tech has seen a significant increase in enquiries for lone worker devices and monitoring from a number of local councils, healthcare trusts, social services and retailers. These devices are needed to protect an influx of new workers being brought on board to meet the challenges faced by the pandemic.

One major retailer has ordered the devices as part of a staff upscaling programme, while a couple of NHS Trusts have taken advantage of our new short-term flexible deployment to assist with the influx of additional workers. We are doing our utmost to provide flexible support where we can, at a time when protecting key workers is more important than ever.

I welcome your comments on any of the above and once again urge you to stay safe, stay home where you can, and practice social distancing.