Awesome Application Awards: System Surveyor Smartens KSS’ Operations for Miscellaneous Prize

System Surveyor optimized Knight Security Systems’ information synchronization.

Knight Security Systems (KSS) was founded in 1983 and has evolved from small alarm system sales to offering enterprise-level custom electronic security solutions for government and private clients across Texas. To support its growth, KSS was seeking to streamline the sales/design/proposal process and improve customer record administration and maintenance.

From a sales standpoint, KSS explains, a design engineer would frequently accompany the salesperson to assist with the development of a system design – adding costs and delays to every proposal. So KSS sought a tool that would allow sales personnel to gather customer functional requirements, and then quickly communicate the information to technical staff in the office to accelerate the proposal process and reduce design costs.

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KSS also wanted to improve the availability of electronic system records to technicians in the field, including floor plans with device placements, photos and configuration settings. While this information is available on company servers and can be accessed via a secure connection, the process is unwieldy and requires the tech to access multiple files to retrieve necessary information. Additionally, the ability for a technician to easily and securely update system information from the field is critical, as KSS has a centralized Client Support Center that relies on updated information to provide its system health monitoring.

All features of the system can be controlled on an iPad.

The seeds for a potentially fruitful relationship were planted in late 2014 when a new company, System Surveyor, approached KSS. The company was formed last year to deliver a next-generation system design and records administration tool. Eventually it launched the eponymous System Surveyor, an iPad-based application with features such as: support for multiple system types, with predefined components; floor plan capture; drag-and-drop system elements; device functionality checklists; integrated photo capture with annotations to automatically associate with related elements; sync-and-share Web portal for collaboration; convenient and easy system changes and updates.

Keen on the potential for its sales and, particularly, service teams, KSS wanted to explore the possibilities through a pilot project implementation and President Phil Lake asked System Surveyor to work with Joseph Ramon, KSS service manager for its Austin office, and a big state agency client.

“This agency has over 120 locations within [this] geographic service area … KSS’ Austin-based service department receives an average of 30 service orders per month across these sites, including requests for small system additions and annual maintenance inspections,” Lake says. “Knight Security Systems cannot rely on clients to have a detailed record of its security system within its facilities, and the same is true with this state agency. Thus KSS maintains system records and device information to provide service at these locations, however, this process is cumbersome, time consuming and unreliable.”

System Surveyor provided a prerelease version of its application to KSS in April along with the companion cloud service, and uses the “Team” subscription plan ($349/month retail). KSS armed the five full-time techs of its Austin-based service team with an iPad Mini 2 and associated Team account, and identified 40 agency locations to focus on, which encompass nearly 1,000 cameras and 200+ doors with access control, of varying manufacturers. System Surveyor conducted an initial one-hour training session and individual support as requested, but KSS reports the tool to be as simple, efficient and functional as advertised.

“System Surveyor is a very intuitive and user-friendly tool,” says Lake, who points to the updated information synchronization and photo capture integration as key aspects. “KSS has identified a need for some minor enhancements such as reporting capabilities as well as the ability to initiate a new site survey on the Web site using existing device layout floor plans; these are being incorporated into the product.”

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