The world is an increasingly unpredictable place, subjecting anyone doing business internationally to increasing insecurity. Preparing for and dealing with a mutable situation is a complex undertaking, and requires the right tools to act swiftly, safely and decisively.
Travel managers have adopted a variety of tactics for keeping travelling personnel safe overseas, including the use of mobile tracking systems, which have evolved considerably since they were first introduced.
There is a popular misconception that travel tracking is solely about monitoring people 24 hours a day, but this does not provide a duty of care; it merely provides an indication of where they are at any given point in time.
Most important is to capture vital traveller itinerary information at the point of booking, so there is time for a risk assessment to be performed and any necessary risk mitigation resources to be put in place so that the trip can proceed safely.
Tracking is best suited to higher risk individuals, such as lone female travellers or those operating in risky or remote locations. With some tracking apps it is possible to set a safe area boundary and alert the team responsible for the individual’s safety if they stray into dangerous territory. However, when considering the rise of such applications, it’s important to remember that they should only form one part of a wider security strategy, designed for use at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.
GPS technology becomes truly useful when you look at what is going on around the employee you are tracking, as well as where they are going. Understanding the risk around employees can help a business deal with potential issues in advance, providing the ability to not only respond but to monitor and take steps to mitigate anticipated risks.
The key thing for corporations to avoid is a ‘laissez faire’ attitude. Technology hasn’t taken over yet and smartphones etc. are frequently lost or stolen. Mobile applications will therefore always need to be used in the correct context and with input from other forms of intelligence, including travel managers themselves.
Written by Matthew Judge, Group Managing Director, Anvil. Anvil will be exhibiting at the Business Travel Show 2016. For further information, visit www.anvilgroup.com.