Evolution of Bail Bond Software Accelerating Quickly
Bail agents have for years relied on their ability to quickly read people to avoid writing bonds for high-risk defendants. Some bail agents have been successful, while others have taken huge hits or even gone out of business because of bad judgment calls. Today's bail bond software allows bail agents to base their underwriting decisions more on facts and information than intuition. We spoke to Steven Sjoblad, CEO of Captira, which develops sophisticated software for the bail industry, to learn more about where bail software is headed in the future.
According to Sjoblad, the bail industry is headed toward a largely digital future, with bail agencies' use of software becoming less of a choice and more of a necessity. Programs are becoming intelligent enough that bail agencies can manage the majority of their daily activities with the software, which gives a competitive edge to those using software because they can easily handle business growth.
"The bail industry will follow the lead of the travel industry and the financial industry," Sjoblad said. "The industry will become more digital, more online, more dependent upon technology. We believe long-term survival will require adoption of these new methodologies."
Sjoblad pointed to mobility and portability as the ongoing trend in bail bond software. Captira, for example, is now developing its software to be compatible with iPhones and the iPad, and is beta testing for use with Android phones. Considering how many people use these popular devices, software companies are quickly realizing the need to accommodate their mobile users.
"Technology-savvy bondsmen will be able to prospect, underwrite and manage a relationship from these devices. Additionally, we are introducing a new product that will 'ping' cell phones on a regular basis as a way of keeping track of defendants," Sjoblad said.
And real-time decision-making is the name of the game in today's bail industry. Many software programs offer features such as instant criminal record checks, credit reports, "do not bond lists" and background checks, which all rapidly inform the bail agent whether writing the bond is advised.
Looking a bit further into the future, Sjoblad said it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that bail software could incorporate new technology that "predicts" criminal behavior. It sounds like science fiction from the movie "Minority Report," but researchers are actually developing software that identifies individuals who are most likely to commit crimes up to and including murder. Researchers say that if successful, the software could influence sentencing recommendations and bail amounts. Although it's an intriguing subject, Sjoblad hesitated to say that this technology would be used by bail professionals anytime soon.
"Predictive analytics are becoming a bigger part of our world. Ultimately, accuracy would be the determinate," he said.
The important thing to note is that bail bond software is constantly evolving to simplify work for bail agents and improve decision-making. Exploring the use of software for your business is a great way to gain a competitive advantage in the bail business today.
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