In the security world, no professional can be caught unprepared. Whether you’re looking for a security job or you’re a seasoned veteran, you want to have the tools of the trade available to you. Today, many of these tools are available at the touch of a button — specifically, the button that calls the app on your smartphone or tablet. If you’re in the security field, you’re going to want to check out these ten apps. Some of them may become instant favorites.
1 – Evernote
Evernote is one of the foremost note-taking apps in the world. It’s robust and fully featured. Your notes can be written or typed, dictated and recorded as audio or attached as pictures. Essentially, any information you need to keep track of can be tracked with Evernote. Pair it up with an account on their website and you can access your notes from any computer. It will take the place of any notepads, notebooks, references or other bulky pen and paper devices you carry around. It’s also one of the most popular and useful apps available in the app store, meaning it will never go defunct on you.
2 – Evidence Cam
Evidence Cam is a small niche app that might not see much use on your phone. However, if you’re in the business where recording on-scene evidence is necessary, it can save you quite a bit of hassle. Evidence Cam uses your smartphone’s camera to take pictures, which your camera can do on its own. What Evidence Cam does is add a header with a number of pieces of relevant information. This header includes your GPS location — including nearby street name — as well as date, time, file number and case number, among other things.
3 – Floor Plan Creator
Floor Plan Creator is an excellent app that uses your camera in an innovative new way. Simply tell it you want to create the floor plan for a room and it will tell you to aim the center of the camera at a corner. In the corner, you tap a key to lay a flag, and then angle it to the next corner. As you progress around the room, you flag each corner and it records it as a two-dimensional floor plan. Each room can be resized and dragged adjacent to others to create doorways and hallways, until you have mapped an entire house. Imagine how much paper and measuring it would take otherwise.
4 – Patrolman’s Vehicle Guide
If you ever have to identify a vehicle, you know it can be difficult to pin down the make and model based on memory of a fleeting glimpse. The Patrolman’s Vehicle Guide is a large database of cars searchable by model, complete with pictures so you can have a visual refresher when you’re trying to ID a car. You’ll still need to know in general what you’re looking for, but it beats having to guess the year and make of a late-model Buick you saw fleeing an accident scene.
The one drawback to this app is the database. While it has thousands of vehicles in the database, many of them don’t have large pictures yet. The developers are constantly working to increase the range of available vehicles as well.
5 – News360
Not every app on your phone needs to be about crime scene investigation or object identification. Depending on your profession, you might simply want to keep up with the news. News360 is an incredible news aggregator that draws on over 30,000 news sites from around the world to bring you every bit of breaking news about the interests you select. You’ll never be left in the dark again.
This particular app is especially useful for computer security specialists, who value up to the minute information. You can tailor it to show only news regarding your field and interests. You can set it to focus on stories from sites you know to be particularly up to date and reliable. You can even set it to use your GPS location to tailor local news for you specifically.
6 – Police Pad
Police Pad is an app much like Evernote, but with a smaller, more focused purpose. Instead of having an infinitely capable notepad app, you have an app specifically designed with fields of interest for security and police forces. Automatically label vehicle damage pictures as an officer on scene at traffic accidents. Save time and location information for specific events. Generate easily printable PDF reports.
Evernote is generally more useful, but for those specific security professionals who want something more focused, Police Pad might be the ideal option. Some users have complained about the name, but you don’t have to be a police officer to use Police Pad. It’s simply a robust, focused note-taking app you can access at any time on your smartphone.
7 – Smart Tools
If you ever need to measure something, Smart Tools is the app for you. It can measure distances, short and long. It can measure heights, areas, angles and compass direction. It can measure vibration and detect metal with your smart phone. It has a flashlight, sound level recorder and magnifier. It can replace half of a tool belt, reducing the number of bulky items you carry around every day. It won’t replace some of the more heavy-duty items you may need — you won’t be hammering a nail with your smartphone — but it works in a pinch for a hundred different purposes.
Security professionals, handymen and all sorts of other professions can make use of this massive suite of tools. You never know when you’ll need to come up with detailed measurements, calculations or even just use a flashlight. Smart Tools simply has so many useful tools that there’s no reason not to have it at all times.
8 – Guardly
If you’re in the security business, you might occasionally come upon a situation where you need to alert emergency services of imminent danger. Guardly is an app that you can use to protect yourself from potential harm. One touch sends an alert to everyone on your emergency list. Alerts can easily be upgraded to 911 contacts if necessary. If need be, you can take and send pictures of the situation, as well as detailed GPS information about your exact location.
If you ever fear you’ll be in imminent danger, having Guardly ready is an indispensable resource. In the worst-case scenario, it could even save your life. The best way to manage these dangerous situations is to avoid them entirely, but if you have no alternative, Guardly can be the tool you need to keep yourself safe. Just make sure you add the right contacts to the right groups so you’re informing people nearby of your emergency.
9 – Lookout Mobile Security
Keeping your smartphone safe should be a top priority when you have all of these useful apps on it. Imagine the problems it could cause if your phone, complete with Evernote information, crime scene photos, Police Pad reports and passwords is lost. With Lookout Mobile Security, you have an additional layer of protection. It protects your phone against the increasing presence of mobile-targeted viruses and malware. It also allows you to manage your phone remotely if you happen to lose track of it. This comes in handy if you simply need something from it and it’s across the room, but it’s essential if your phone is ever lost or stolen.
A security professional doesn’t look good if their phone is unprotected. Premium users — those who pay a minor fee each month — have access to a privacy adviser and an active safe browsing app at the same time as the regular Lookout Mobile Security features. It’s such a minor fee that there’s no reason to skip it.
10 – Waze
Waze is an increasingly popular app with over 50 million users, which was recently acquired by Google. It uses a complete map of an area to give you turn-by-turn directions just like a GPS, which is very useful for navigating a new part of town. More importantly, the collective of Waze users update traffic conditions, which affects the aforementioned directions.
If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, Waze will tell you which routes to avoid. It is especially handy if you need a GPS but don’t want to buy a single dedicated device. Google buying the app means a much greater integration with Android and the existing Google Maps platform, which can only increase functionality. While the exact developments of the merger remain unclear so far, it promises to be fruitful for Waze users.
If these ten apps don’t solve virtually any problem you have, a smartphone might not be the right tool for the job. If it’s something you can handle with a phone, however, this suite of apps will accomplish virtually anything. Best of all, they’re all in constant development, meaning they will continue to update and add features users request.