Updated June 2, 2018

If you're using Spillman Flex and want to know how the Flex Jail Management System integrates with GUARDIAN RFID to automate inmate tracking, guard tour, and activity logging, this review breaks down cost, value, ease of integration with Flex JMS, and other key considerations frequently asked by jail professionals.


DISCLOSURE: GUARDIAN RFID is a Strategic Business Partner of Spillman Technologies.


Spillman Flex’s Jail Management System (JMS) is an on-premises software module that’s part of the suite of Spillman public safety software.

For over 10 years, Spillman has done two things that are remarkably refreshing and innovative: interfacing with Spillman is done by using the Spillman XML Query Server to allowing independent software vendors (ISVs), such as GUARDIAN RFID to directly build and deploy the interface for our mutual end user.

It’s a bit surprising other public safety software companies have not followed suit despite many touting their technological leadership. And some are just downright more challenging to work with than others.

While the Spillman interface itself is bit complex to build, it enables partners like GUARDIAN RFID to completely control the speed in which the interfaces are built and deployed. The interface itself is low maintenance when it’s running, and uses Web Services to push data from Flex JMS to GUARDIAN RFID. This data push is controlled by GUARDIAN RFID, and generally runs every two minutes.

What type of interface is supported between Flex Jail and GUARDIAN RFID?

Flex Jail/GUARDIAN RFID supports a one-way interface using the Spillman XML Query Server.

Why should I interface Flex Jail with GUARDIAN RFID?

Jails deploy the Flex Jail/GUARDIAN RFID interface because they want the best of both worlds: a powerful jail management system that integrates with a powerfully simple, mobile inmate management and inmate tracking platform.

Simply put, officers and deputies want an extension platform that works with Flex Jail to collect a wide range of data (e.g. cell checks and security rounds, inmate movements, headcounts, activity logging, and more) at the point of responsibility using mobile devices.

Flex Jail extends your data collection capabilities by logging real-time information in GUARDIAN RFID with Mobile Command. This data embeds inmate name, booking number, cell assignment, and mugshot, among other details from Flex Jail.

The common integration points between Flex JMS and GUARDIAN RFID include inmate demographics, housing assignments, mugshots, inmate restrictions, keep separates, and other optional fields, such as commissary balance and scheduled events.

What’s it like to work with Spillman and GUARDIAN RFID to coordinate interfacing efforts?

Spillman has a consistently professional team decently responsive to all matters, whether sales or technical. Most Account Managers answer on the first ring, or respond within one business day. While there’s some paperwork to coordinate before the interface can be built for a common agency, the red tape with this isn’t a protracted process and gets done usually in a matter of days.

What does it cost to interface with Spillman Flex’s Jail Management System and GUARDIAN RFID?

It’s free. There is no charge to the agency either from Spillman or GUARDIAN RFID to build and deploy a one-way interface.

This is perhaps the single best, value-driven interfacing opportunity with any jail management system that GUARDIAN RFID integrates with, and we’re not overstating that. Companies competing directly with Spillman should mimic their approach. Today. Seriously. The lack of competitors doing so speaks more to the lack of innovation amongst Spillman’s toughest competitors. Old school vendors that nickel and dime for interfacing, or worse, hold their end user’s data hostage over attempts to charge gratuitous amounts of professional services fees that far exceed labor costs should really re-think their early 2000s approach. You don’t gain customer loyalty or satisfaction by doing so. Innovate and integrate.

How easy is to interface Flex JMS with GUARDIAN RFID?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being most complex), the level of effort to interface with Flex JMS is a 3. Some of the codes that are exported in XML are a bit hard to decipher -- especially when you’re given cell assignments in plain English by jail staff and you're trying to compare the jail's "layman's terms" to cells and you see what Spillman spits out. Matching these codes can be a bit time consuming, but it's not terrible.

What problems have arisen with the Flex JMS interface?

The interface with Flex JMS and GUARDIAN RFID is low-maintenance. It doesn’t require a great deal of effort by either team’s technical staff, and never demands jail staff involvement for troubleshooting. One of the only challenges with Spillman is coordinating two-way interfaces. (We’ll talk about this in a future blog.)

What are some other technical considerations?

Flex Jail has a beautifully sophisticated database. While we’re here to review anything but the performance of the interface between Flex Jail and GUARDIAN RFID, we can only imagine that the speed in which the application performs database queries has to be blazing fast.

What if I have enhancement requests?

As may be expected by a company of Spillman’s size, especially now that they’re owned by Motorola, requests to any enhancements that exceed how the interfaces works now will take Spillman significant time and potentially additional fees since they’re built into scheduled quarterly releases that could be many months out. However, the interfaces as they stand now are comprehensive and experienced with significant deployment experience.

What do agencies using the Flex JMS + GUARDIAN RFID interface think about the integration?

The interface with Flex JMS and GUARDIAN RFID is low-maintenance. It doesn’t require a great deal of effort by either team’s technical staff, and never demands staff involvement for troubleshooting. One of the only challenges with Spillman is coordinating two-way interfaces. We'll talk about this in a follow up blog.

Spillman/GUARDIAN RFID Interface

Interface Type

One-way and two-way

Interface complexity to build/deploy

Simple

Price

$0

Speed of Deployment

Fast (less than 30 days)

Integration Points

Inmate demographics (name, DOB, booking number, etc.), housing assignments, mugshots, keep separates, and inmate restrictions

Support

Responsive. 5 out of ★★★★★

Depth of Integration Experience

Since 2009

Agency Reference

Potter Co. Sheriff’s Office (Amarillo, Texas)