This is part-one of my list of essential apps for the executive protection specialist. I am writing this in July, 2016. There is no doubt that these apps will change over time, and some may not exist at the end of the year. However, these apps themselves are not important. What is important, is the types of apps and the functions they serve. You will always be able to find an app that can fulfill the same purposes as the ones below (regardless of companies coming and going). Let the below list serve as a template of the types of apps an executive protection specialist should have.
*Note that I am an iPhone user and some of these apps may not be available for Android, but you can find alternatives that function the same way (generally).
Galileo Pro ($3.99)
Driving: While the executive protection specialist is out with the principal, it is essential to know traffic condition for the principal’s travel to their next location. Google and Apple have their own map services, however, I have found Waze to be the best when it comes to up to the minute traffic conditions. In addition to Waze, I recommend a having the Uber app (or the ridesharing service of your choice) ready as a contingency. Suppose your driving the principal to an important meeting and the primary vehicle breaks down. Why not leave the vehicle on the side of the road for another team member to take care of, while you Uber to the meeting with the principal?
Navigating: Galileo Pro is an invaluable map resource. It allows you to download maps for all states in the US and most major foreign countries. These maps can be used offline, without the use of wifi or data. In addition, you can track your GPS route, bookmark location, and more.
Flight Aware (Free)
Plane Finder - Flight Tracker ($3.99)
Flight Tracking: Whether the executive protection specialist is picking up the principals from a commercial flight, or a private flight, it is essential to monitor their progress. Flight Aware is my preferred app for tracking commercial flights. It provides all of the information that one could want, including gate numbers, etc. Plane Finder is a different animal. Plane finder will allow you to track many private aircrafts, provided you have the tail number. Most executive protection detail already have an alert service that communicates between the private plane and the command center. However, suppose this service stops working, or suppose you’re picking up a principal that you’re unfamiliar with. That’s when this comes in handy. * One last note, Plane Finder could also be used as a Red Teaming tool. If the adversary has the tail number of the principal’s plane, can they see every move the plane makes with the Plane Finder app? You better figure that out.
US Hospitals Premium ($.99)
Find ER (Free)
Medical: The executive protection specialist should have every major emergency medical facility around the principal’s most frequently visited locations memorized. However, we know that the principals destinations will not always be known in advance. You might be out on a driving detail where you are directed to from from place to place in an unfamiliar area. That’s where the US Hospitals Premium app comes in. Not only will this app show you all of the nearest hospitals to your location, but it will also categorize them all by their characteristics. For example, you can specifically look for trauma centers, emergency rooms, pediatric care, etc. This app is worth the 99 cents. Alternatively, you could use the findER app. This app is free, and it will show you all of the hospitals near your location. Unfortunately, it will not provide as detailed information at US Hospitals Premium.
Private Internet Access VPN ($39.95/yr)
Privacy/Security: The Private Internet Access mobile app is VPN (virtual private network) software that automatically encrypts your traffic so that it cannot be deciphered by your internet service provider. Traffic goes through a private server, thus protecting your IP address, approximate location, internet provider, etc. The value of using a VPN cannot be overstated, for desktop and mobile devices.
Pulse Point (Free)
Emergency Alerts: Pulse Point sends real-time notifications to your phone, of EMS (emergency medical service) activity in your area. I specifically use Pulse Point while I'm in Los Angeles or Orange County, however, it works in many western states in the US. The user simply chooses the EMS agency that it wants to get alerts from, then they will receive them in real time. The alert includes a map and details about the incident. This can assist the executive protection specialist in avoiding hazards (traffic or others) when he is traveling with the principal.
Customer Service: How can Yelp be helpful in executive protection? Yelp assists the executive protection specialist in the customer service aspect of their role. Suppose on a whim, the principal decides he wants to get lunch (or more likely, tells the executive protection specialist to go pick up lunch for them). This is a quick resource to find possible lunch locations for the principal to choose from, which are near by. This especially will come in handy during travel details outside of the principal’s home town.
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About the EP Nexus Blog
The EP Nexus executive protection blog, is a comprehensive resource for security professionals involved in executive protection, protective intelligence, threat assessment, and related fields.
Launched in March of 2016 as a resource for executive protection professionals, command center gurus, and close protection know-it-alls, EP Nexus is quickly becoming a resource for those seeking to quench their thirst for executive protection reading.
The most popular section of the blog is Executive Protection Hacks. EP Hacks is a series in which we address complex topics (one topic per issue) in a convenient collection of tools & writings. I am actively collaborating with industry leaders to produce future issues. If you're interested in taking an active approach in moving your industry into the future, contact me below.
Outside of EP Hacks, I explore the following topics in writings, tutorials, and webinars: online tools for executive protection professionals, open source intelligence investigations (OSINT), threat assessment, protective intelligence, travel security, and more.
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