Water damage, fire alarms, personnel threats. Operating in the Nordic countries and Estonia, Citycon faces different unexpected situations daily. Communication between hundreds of tenants and their operating personnel has improved after the deployment of the critical communications and alerting SaaS platform called Secapp.
The Secapp system is currently used in the Citycon’s Iso Omena (Espoo, Finland), Koskikeskus (Tampere, Finland), and Kista Galleria (Stockholm, Sweden) shopping centers. The use of Secapp is expected to expand further to all Citycon’s shopping centers soon.
“The security of shopping centers for both visitors and tenants are very important to us. For example, security guards and surveillance cameras are very prominent, but when you dig deeper, you will find that a wide spectrum of security actions and solutions is also hard at work behind the scenes. One of these solutions is the Secapp system, which allows us to reach our tenants quickly and engage our security and personnel without delay. The platform is also an important part of the continuous development of our safety culture, and we intend to extend its use to our other operative countries in the very near future”, says Kimmo Hyttinen, the Team Lead, Operations Development at Citycon.
In total, Citycon owns 37 shopping centers in five countries. The centers are visited by about 170 million visitors annually. The group employs more than 230 people and had 4,150 leases at the end of the second quarter of 2021.
In 2019, Per Sandberg, Head of Security at Citycon, was searching for a communications platform with security features. After a market review, a comparison was made between a Swedish system and the Finnish Secapp. According to Sandberg, Secapp met 80 percent of the requirements that Citycon had placed on the system. For the Swedish option, the result was about 50 percent. After the comparison, Sandberg started discussions with Secapp’s CEO Kari Aho. Soon after, green light was given to piloting the Secapp system.
“We started piloting the application under the leadership of Kimmo Hyttinen in our Finnish shopping centers in Iso Omena and Koskikeskus. We gained good experience from the pilot period and are expanding the use of the platform shortly. Overall, Secapp is a very good application for critical communications and is great for our kind of business”, Sandberg says.
Secapp already demonstrated its versatility at the beginning of the collaboration as it was able to integrate with Citycon’s existing tenant management system Hyperin.
“In practice, Citycon is now able to reach, for example, the store managers and security managers of the tenant companies, and to inform and share operating instructions quickly by utilizing, among other things, the message and alert templates built into the application”, Secapp’s CEO Kari Aho describes.
“Before the use of Secapp, important critical messages related to unexpected situations, such as water damages or even serious safety threats, can easily go unnoticed. Secapp solves the problem by forcing this communication to the top of the screen. It also ensures the message will be noticed by bypassing the silent mode on the device and utilizing the flash to attract attention. The messages and alerts demand instant response from the receivers and the responses are automatically summarized by Secapp which creates real-time situational awareness for the personnel in charge of taking care of the event”, Aho continues.
Citycon is satisfied with Secapp’s SaaS platform.
“For us, the user experience of Secapp has been positive. The platform responds well to the significant need for us to be able to communicate with our tenants quickly and smoothly. In addition, Secapp’s good integration capabilities have already been put into practice and we see a lot of potential utilizing those more in the future. All these factors improve the overall security of our shopping centers”, Hyttinen says.
Citycon’s Swedish headquarters is located in Stockholm’s Kista Galleria, one of the country’s largest shopping centers.
Citycon’s own internal communication improved when traditional one-way text messages were replaced with Secapp’s two-way communication: receiving and replying by chat, audio, and video.
“Now with Secapp, we can communicate in two directions, which means that recipients can also respond to messages, for example with quick status information responses, or we can have discussions both in everyday life and in exceptional situations. At the same time, our commercial directors stay up to date and see what action has been taken”, Sandberg describes.
According to Sandberg, there is also significant potential e.g. in the geofencing feature.
“Now we can inform our personnel entering the Kista Galleria area automatically using geofencing and ready-made templates. This is a really easy way to inform, warn and instruct if something unexpected or threatening happens. At the same time, we are also able to inform the authorities from rescue services to the police and health care, if necessary”, Sandberg says.
According to CEO Kari Aho, co-operation with a large Nordic listed company is very important for Secapp.
“We are very pleased and honored to co-operate with a large Nordic listed company. We have had very fruitful discussions about, among other things, everything that Secapp is capable of and what systems it can be integrated into. Some of the potential features could be, for example, Virtual Crisis Room, property security automations (motion detectors, fire alarms and surveillance cameras etc.) through integrations and anonymous forms to collect data. The forms are also in line with the upcoming EU Whistleblowing directive. However, first of all, we now look forward to expanding Secapp’s active use in Citycon’s shopping centers”, Aho says.
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