Smartphone Apps: Technology Vs. Ballistics – The Modern Day Protector
In today’s world, we have more capabilities and efficiencies than ever before. Everyone has a smartphone with internet, email, a hi-def camera and many more features. All of these however, exponentially increase threats and the self imposed risks of your principal. Everything is a give and take, and nothing is free – they enable us, they hinder us.
So what can we do today that helps reduce our exposures and increase our proactive safety measures to protect our clients and ourselves? Honestly, the list is endless and growing by the day. With new technology comes new features with functionality that may seem irrelevant, but that function can be useful to you if used in the right way.
Let’s take a look at a simple and effective method of knowing what is out there on the internet – the Google Alert. This is typically used by content writers to find news articles and things to fill their pages. Now let’s take a deeper look at this free tool – you can define and categorize a keyword and select how often it is searched and Google sends you an email on what is found. A phenomenal tool if you are trying to keep track of media releases on your principal, for example. Another free Google tool – Google Maps. This tool provides a multitude of ways you can see a location without even being there. Whether it is a bird’s eye view, map view, street view, etc. this tool is great for on site situational awareness and planning without leaving the office. Note: not to replace an actual advance.
Waze – “Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.” This app lets you share your drive with others whom you select, notifying them of your eta and progress along the drive. Perhaps one of the best features is the hazard notifications (and police) that other users upload. Sygic GPS Navigation – This app has been especially useful because of the additional features it has that I have not found on other apps, additionally the maps are particularly useful because of the advanced detail and even live-view of POIs, ability to download maps ahead of time for use without cellular data/wifi, etc. Read our review for more information – HERE
CrimeReports – “CrimeReports is the only near real-time source for both official crime data and sex offender information, giving you access to information from over 700 participating law enforcement agencies across North America and sex offender data for all 50 States. Download it for FREE at the iTunes app store and get mobile access to nationwide crime and sex offender information.”
NowSecure is a great product that is free on the Apple store and Google play. This app puts into a graph what is being communicated both secured and unsecured by your smart phone, and will give additional insights and rankings to your phone security, such as if it has JailBreak software installed or if the devices has been Rooted.
Another free app, Life360 can be put on a smartphone, and with a simply authorization with an email that phone can be tracked in real time. Additionally, recent crime reports are provided in the map as well as police departments, hospitals, emergency rooms and more.
iTriage and the Red Cross First Aid app, which are both free to download, also offer insight into hospitals and emergency rooms and add symptom search tools and even procedures and guidelines for CPR and First Aid. Many more features in the iTriage app as well, so check it out.
Voxer is also a free app and this one provides the incredible capability of instant push-to-talk communications over your GSM/CDMA network. Additionally, you can text, send pictures and all of this to an entire designated group, not just one on one, and it is all stored in linear format. An added benefit is the geo-tag feature which gives you the position over Google maps of the sender and all messages are saved.
To tie into communicating, apps and features such as Microsoft’s Snipping Tool andMS Paint which is on every PC or free apps like Skitch for Mac and iPhone allow you to take a screenshot or snip and draw on it with colors and shapes, allowing you to instantly make an overlay for your team.
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Advance is an app from AS Solution intended to ‘collect all relevant information regarding an upcoming trip – then edit and share everything before, during or after a trip. All from your smartphone or tablet. All with the highest level of encryption security.’
In addition to ‘Advance,’ AS Solution also has Odin, which ‘is the first-ever app specially designed for tracking principals globally. Now, executive protection agents can follow the whereabouts of principals at any time – and principals can request support and get help immediately.’
Bar and Club Stats is also a free application but the membership and extended use does require payment. This app allows you to scan identification cards and driver’s licenses from all 50 states in order to verify the information and catalog data. You can also mark scanned ID’s as VIP or create an alert so every member on your account gets an alert if that is has been scanned. This has been used most effectively at events at locations such as speaking events where knowing if a patron has attended other events in the past and obviously that is good information if they have been identified as a threat.
Features on your device, such as FaceTime, multimedia messaging and even the camera itself are commonly overlooked by agents, namely advance agents, when providing reports and insight into the destination. Think about trying to describe the crowd and curbside situation at a red carpet event VS. Face Timing your team leader and letting him see first hand.
A couple of excellent and free travel apps – TripIt, FlightView and FlightAware are great for tracking flights real-time, with real-time updates on gate info, departure/landing times and delays, etc. FlySmart is great for learning what resources are available at airports,such as restaurants, shops, amenities, clubs, etc.
As you can see, there are many ways we can use technology to increase the probability of success of our mission as a protector. Keep this in mind – when you find a tool that offers an exceptional capability, think outside the box and come up with a way to use it for you, your families safety and your principal’s safety.
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More to come, stay tuned and let us know what you think of this article and what technology you use that helps you do your job.
Thanks for reading. See www.lasorsa.com/category/blog/ for more.
Joseph M LaSorsa is currently employed as a senior partner managing and conducting: Protective Operations Training Courses, Executive Protection & Bodyguard Services, Risk Management Consultations & Seminars, Workplace Violence Prevention Seminars & Intervention Services, Security Consultations & Seminars, Private Investigations and Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures with LaSorsa & Associates – an International Protection, Investigations & Security Consulting Firm.