Secure, optimised mobile solutions for the liberated future
Security firm migrates existing proof of presence RFID software to BlackBerry solution in approximately 6 weeks.
As specialists in mobile solutions and application development Appurity were the partner G4S engaged with to deliver a BlackBerry application that streamlined an existing technical process and also provided cost savings for the business.
As part of its commitment to offer bespoke security solutions to customers using innovative technology, G4S provides them with access to real-time data through a web portal called SecureTrax. One of the portal’s features is Inspection Management, a proof of presence solution that lets customers monitor the patrol activity of security guards. The guards confirm their presence at pre-determined points around the customer’s site using RFID technology.
G4S had been using RFID-enabled mobile devices for Inspection Management since 2004. It had developed special software for the devices that lets the guards scan RFID tags installed on premises. But when G4S discovered that the maker of the devices they were using was no longer going to support RFID and were going to decommission their back-end systems, it realised that it would have to port the software over to a different mobile platform. Time was critical, because G4S could not afford any disruption to the service. Another factor was familiarity. To avoid having to re-train guards, G4S wanted the new solution to use the existing software.
First G4S selected a mobile platform. It already had a large BlackBerry® estate with a BlackBerry® Enterprise Server infrastructure. “Nearly all our managers have a BlackBerry device, which they use for email and phone,” says Ali Cubitt, technical project manager, G4S. “We wanted a BlackBerry solution that was going to integrate with our SecureTrax platform but would also be familiar to a lot of our employees as well.” Fortunately, BlackBerry had recently introduced NFC RFID technologies to the market. The G4S technical team turned to their partner Appurity, an IT consultancy specialised in mobile enterprise data access and a member of the BlackBerry® Alliance Program, to develop the software.
“We’d worked with the guys at Appurity before and had done a lot of projects using BlackBerry with them,” says Cubitt. G4S walked Appurity through their SecureTrax application and the business process. “We had the process; that wasn’t going to change. We just wanted to change the technology that was used to deliver it,” adds Cubitt.
For Appurity, “the challenge was making the new BlackBerry application behave the same way as the original,” explains Steve Whiter, director at Appurity. “In the end we didn’t port the old application; it was a complete native write of the application on BlackBerry.” From the first discussion about the requirements to delivery for the production environment,it took Appurity approximately six weeks to develop the new app.
The SecureTrax app for BlackBerry has met G4S’s requirements for speed and familiarity. By delivering the app in six weeks, Appurity helped G4S avoid any business disruption. Appurity credits its good working relationship with G4S and its knowledge of the BlackBerry platform with making the swift delivery possible. The security guards have had no trouble switching over to the BlackBerry applications, due to its similarity with the previous version. “Our requirement was specifically to do like-for-like for the application, because we wanted to keep it as constant as possible for the business,” explains Cubitt. “We also want to limit the different hardware platforms that we are providing to our end users from a consistency perspective, and from a training and a support perspective.” Today, G4S has a single BlackBerry platform that all the users are familiar with and a BlackBerry app that looks and functions exactly the same as the previous solution.
The BlackBerry solution has also provided some unexpected benefits. The first is financial. “We have unified email, voice and SecureTrax on a single device, which means we’ve seen significant cost savings in device hardware, device training, rental of SIMs, and the cost of telco on top of that.” The second is visibility. “We’ve got a platform with a clear roadmap and device cycle. This means we’ll be able to continue delivering this tool on the BlackBerry device,” says Cubitt.
“It also means we might bring other software to the devices as well some time in the future.”
Appurity’s team of experienced, highly skilled cross platform developers can deliver your business apps on time and in budget. We have the skills to analyse your requirements, design the best solution for your business and deliver it on BlackBerry, iOS and Android. For further information about how Appurity can help you create enterpise grade applications please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.