Security industry to tackle manpower crunch with tech

Use of technology also increases productivity and helps firms better meet growing demand for services: Minister

Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said the use of technology to carry out routine, labour-intensive tasks allows security officers to focus on tasks that are more complex or require human judgment. Right: The command centre at the new Ae
The command centre at the new Aetos Complex.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said the use of technology to carry out routine, labour-intensive tasks allows security officers to focus on tasks that are more complex or require human judgment. Right: The command centre at the new Ae
Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said the use of technology to carry out routine, labour-intensive tasks allows security officers to focus on tasks that are more complex or require human judgment.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

A new fire detection software developed by Aetos Holdings and its partners can sound the alarm on a fire before it grows too big.

The system, compatible with everyday security cameras, also frees up the need for a guard to head down to the site to confirm that there is a fire. After establishing remotely that there is one, a response team is dispatched. This reduces the manpower deployed without compromising security.

The Intelligent Fire Detection System was one of the tech solutions cited by Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo at the official opening of the Aetos Complex in Corporation Drive yesterday.

The system took seven years to develop and uses advanced video analytics to detect flames as low as 25cm with a 95 per cent accuracy rate. When flames are at such heights, a fire is still relatively small.

Mrs Teo said the system is an example of how the security industry should tap technology to increase productivity and tackle the manpower crunch.

"The appropriate use of technology to carry out routine, labour-intensive tasks allows the security officer to focus on tasks that are more complex or require human judgment, such as incident response. Technology also allows a security officer to secure a larger area with greater effectiveness."

As the demand for security solutions and services continues to grow because of new infrastructure, it will be a challenge for the industry, added Mrs Teo.

  • 4,300

  • Number of employees at Aetos

Aetos executive director and chief executive James Tan said the enhanced facilities at the new complex will help to tackle the manpower crunch. Currently, Aetos faces a 10 per cent manpower shortage.

"We hope to leverage these technologies to help reduce the deployment of manpower while providing our services," he said.

To help the industry, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been working with partners to develop the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM), to be launched next month.

Mrs Teo said the security ITM "will look into technology adoption, smart sourcing, and enhancing skills... We will also realign the regulatory environment to support the transformation".

However, to reap the returns of technology, such as efficient and effective manpower deployment, buyers of security services must also make upfront investments. "We also need forward-looking service buyers who are willing to redesign work processes to take full advantage of the technologies," she said.

The seven-storey Aetos Complex is fitted with innovative technologies that will enhance the training and operational capabilities of the firm's 4,300 employees.

This is the first time the firm will fully own its operating premises, which took about 11/2 years to complete. Mr Tan said there was a "deep sense of pride and joy" among employees when the firm moved into the complex on Dec 1.

"Those who have spent many years with Aetos shared with me how they felt about Aetos now having a home to call its very own."

The complex's souped-up facilities include a modern command centre and an indoor shooting range.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2018, with the headline 'Security industry to tackle manpower crunch with tech'. Subscribe