We’ve covered how cloud, mobile, IoT, and smart data will disrupt our traditional connection to physical spaces. Today we’ll talk about the fifth of the five technological forces changing physical security: social media.
Social networks and social applications have become the hottest growth category for both web and mobile technology. Social applications have transformed the way our society uses computing devices and represent the second largest amount of time spent using mobile devices. Social media has proven useful in real estate, navigation, family management, reviews, business networking and news distribution.
And yet, most of the security world still treats social media largely as a toy. If you think social media is just for vacation photos and cat videos, it’s time to change your outlook. Social media has powerful and largely untapped potential in physical security.
Why Social Media Matters to Physical Security
We’re seeing social media change in ways that nobody explicitly planned for when they created these platforms. Probably the biggest effect social media has had related to security is in disaster recovery. Some of the most powerful life-saving organizations in the world agree. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the United Nations have policies on the use of social media to address disasters.
Why are disaster recovery organizations paying so much attention? Social offers three big benefits: communication, collaboration, and community. Pretty much any time there is a crisis, these are the things that matter. Communication is pretty self-explanatory. Collaboration refers to the coordination of rescue events. Community refers to putting a community back in touch with one another. Giving people the support to help themselves is a very important part of managing large crises.
What’s the Opportunity
We’ve already seen social media foster communication, collaboration, and community during natural disasters, such as hurricanes and wildfires. When traditional infrastructure—the 9-1-1 infrastructure—becomes overwhelmed an d can’t respond to all the needs in affected communities, people have started using social media to let others know they need help. In 2017, Time called Hurricane Harvey the United States’ first social media storm, because it was possible to document the huge impact of social media on the effectiveness of emergency response.
In short: social saves lives. Even though many of us are involved with individual buildings, we still need plans for emergency response for the people who are in our care. Social will become, piece by piece, a part of our strategies for physical security, and it will no longer be regarded as a toy.
What’s at Stake: Ignore Social Media at Your Own Peril
It is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social network users around the globe in 2019, and that number will continue to increase. Failing to incorporate social media into your physical security strategy will increasingly lead to ineffective communication. Millennials, who are now the largest group in the workforce, use social media—including text message services built into Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter—as a primary means of communication. It’s how people communicate now. If we want to be part of the way things are done and the way people are communicating, then we need to incorporate social tools.
It’s Time to Put Social Media in Your Arsenal
It’s happening informally right now through grassroots efforts in emergency response. In the future, we can look toward combining social communication with IoT-powered buildings to create social spaces.
Though social media has not been fully embraced as a part of professional physical security yet, you should look for opportunities that fit your business needs, even if there aren’t packaged solutions available. Lives could just depend on it.
Listen to Steve VanTill’s 3-minute discussion on how social media saves lives and how to use it in your physical security program.
A building security technology roadmap is an important part of the security innovation process. It is a navigation chart to your planned security destination. Building a roadmap has many advantages, as it provides a clear focus, orientation, and effective communication plan for your security operations.
Listen to our 2-minute video outlining the five steps (cloud, mobile, Big Data, IoT and social media) to incorporate when creating a physical security roadmap for your facilities.