Here are five industries that can instantly benefit from improved situational awareness — the ability to perceive and understand one’s physical environment.
At a high level, situational awareness involves knowing what is going on around you at any given time. Achieving situational awareness relies on your ability to see, understand and analyze the world around you in the context of what you are trying to do.
While the concept of being aware of your surroundings isn’t new, its practical applications for businesses are. Situational awareness plays a crucial role in the effectiveness and efficiency of companies across a variety of industries, from military and government to public safety and transportation.
Here are five industries that can instantly benefit from improved situational awareness.
Stadium & Venue Security
Venue security is not to be taken lightly, especially with today’s threats and expectations. Sporting events and concerts are a central part of American culture. Despite concerns over terror attacks on venues and public spaces, fans continue to turn out to support their favorite teams and artists. Security teams must secure these massive crowds and protect the property value of the iconic stadiums themselves.
The best way to secure a large venue is to provide security teams with complete situational awareness. With a common operational picture that integrates data from video surveillance, facial recognition software, sensors, and other security assets, staff can instantly identify possible issues and take immediate action to prevent them from happening, whether that’s by dispatching the closest security officer or activating lights and alarms in the area.
According to the FBI, there was a total of 250 active shooter incidents in the United States from 2000 to 2017. (The FBI defines active shooter incidents as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”) 20.8 percent of these incidents happened at schools and institutions of higher learning.
Campuses around the country are facing increased pressure to provide students with a safe learning environment. As with a stadium or venue, situational awareness is the best way to secure a school or university. It’s crucial for campus safety teams to have a comprehensive, real-time view of their environment and to be able to respond proactively to perceived threats before they happen.
Transportation & Logistics
The transportation and logistics industries depend on consistent and reliable delivery of product to customers. Supply chain complexity and a myriad of disconnected systems to manage driver schedules, truck maintenance, and compliance reporting make it a challenge to ensure all deliveries are on time and in full. Common concerns include:
- Are there adequate drivers and trucks to cover today’s routes?
- Are there any missed deliveries? Are any deliveries at risk?
- A truck is down. Where is the nearest truck that can assist?
- Are we prepared for inspection?
Situational awareness answers these logistics questions. With a single source of real-time information on driver location, route progress, delivery status, vehicle maintenance, and compliance reporting, managers can confidently reroute drivers, make informed decisions, ensure deliveries are on time and in full and be sure they are in regulatory compliance.
For utility service providers, managing outages during times of emergency can be daunting, even for the most well-prepared electric, gas, and communications companies. Challenges include marshaling emergency responders; managing external crews; and interfacing with desperate customers. Utility crews often face these challenges under adverse environmental conditions, where life and property are at risk.
Situational awareness allows utility companies to easily tackle the challenges associated with emergency service restoration. With real-time visibility of locations and dispositions of work crews, assets, and resources, managers are enabled to efficiently and confidently deploy crews, provide accurate ETRs, and help assure crew safety. By achieving situational awareness, these companies can improve operational efficiency, reduce response and restoration times, and lower restoration costs.
For car rental companies, success relies on providing a level of service that keeps customers coming back. However, managing the rental process can be a time-consuming process. If a location encounters an inventory issue, for example, an employee might have to make numerous calls to other area locations to secure the vehicles needed and arrange to have them moved. These extra steps not only take employees’ time away from serving customers, but they create an inconvenience for patrons.
Situational awareness gives car rental companies a real-time view of reservation and inventory data across locations and allows employees to trade vehicles with other branches instantly. Team members can immediately retrieve customer reservations and cars are always ready and waiting. With a common operational picture that integrates systems and information across the organization, employees spend less time managing the rental process and more time serving the customer. Team members can proactively anticipate customer needs, improving loyalty and moving from transaction to meaningful interaction with customers.
Today, situational awareness is a necessity in many different industries that require effective, real-time decision-making in complex, high-risk environments. These include the five industries mentioned above, but the concept is applicable in almost any business environment. Understanding how actions and events will impact the present and future state of affairs, whether that includes people, places, time, goals, or all of the above, is essential for on-the-spot decision-making. And whether you’re in a combat zone or on a city street, immediate and informed action can critically affect the outcome of any situation.