Name? Bart Simpson. Reason for visit? Eat my shorts. Contact number? 555 5555 (all famous people have a 555 number).

I’m sure there are very few people who haven’t encountered the “visitor book” or similar sign in process and pretended to be someone else. You probably bemoan the 20 seconds it takes you to write down your details as time wasting when in fact you are simply irritated by how pointless the process seems.

My favourite is the “visitor sticker”. Especially the bright yellow one. You first try stick it on your shirt where it will be hidden by your jacket but you are told to put it on the outside where it will be seen (once past reception you immediately remove your jacket). You then complete your visit and a short while later, sitting in a coffee shop sipping a cappuccino contemplating how well the meeting went, some beautiful stranger greets you by your name. You think wow! Seconds later you are feeling rather silly and wishing you hadn’t put your jacket back on.

I’m sure you have also left a place and at the exit point been confronted by a guard or similar person who won’t let you exit because there isn’t a signature or stamp on your visitor slip. You curse yourself for not having just scribbled on the paper before the guard saw you.

How does the visitor book stop a potential criminal? How does anyone know I’ve arrived (most guarded points don’t call anyone, they just sign you in)? Does the would-be criminal feel that there is an increased risk of being caught out? Does anyone read the visitor book? Does anyone collate and make use of the data collected in a visitor book?

At this point if you are reading this and wondering “what the hell is he talking about” you either work for yourself from your dining room table, never leave home or you live in another country. Security is quite important to us here on the southern tip of Africa. However the visitor book is not just about security. What happens when we need to evacuate a building in an emergency situation? We need to know who was in the building at that point in time

“Did anyone remember to bring the visitor book in the panic?”

An efficient signing in process for visitors can not only enhance their perception of the place being visited but also provide a useful tool for ensuring that in emergencies visitors are tracked and accounted for.

From a security perspective, with an app based sign in process, people are notified of their visitor’s arrival and can take the necessary action required; either welcome them or call security when a potential threat is perceived. Data collected can quickly be analysed to establish visitor patterns and potential actions needed, for example whether you have enough parking space during high volume periods?

Based on personal experience of good and bad security scenarios and by working with security companies and other stakeholders the team at AppCapital has created Charlie. Charlie is an app that provides a simple and effective solution to the problems mentioned.

Charlie’s journey has just begun. This “young pup” is already proving to be a tenacious watch dog and we look forward to his future development and growth.

Charlie aims to improve security and controlled access in a social and friendly manner.
A companion to visitors and stern deterrent to intruders.