Guard company and integrator partner

Securitas and Convergint say a combination of guards and technology is often the best answer
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

PARSIPPANY, N.J.—Securitas USA, which has 400 branch locations and employs close to 100,000 guards, and Convergint Technologies, a national systems integrator, yesterday announced a formalized partnership where they’ll offer a “total security program,” a combination of guard services and technology, to their customers.

Convergint will provide systems integration, service and maintenance of access control, video monitoring systems and other technology-based solutions to Securitas customers, while Securitas will provide manpower to Convergint customers.

Despite a trend toward eliminating guards in recent years, “chances are that a combination of manpower and some form of technology ... is the best answer [for many customers],” Bill Barthelemy, Securitas USA's COO, told Security Systems News.

This announcement comes a few months after Securitas USA’s parent company, Sweden-based guard company Securitas, made an offer to buy back Niscayah—the systems integration business it sold five years ago.

“A few years ago the trend, if you’re on the technology side, was to eliminate the guard service and put in technology, and the idea was that you’d rule the world,” Barthelemy said. And if you’re in the manpower side, the answer was to “throw a body at the problem.” Neither was the best answer, he said.

Other companies, notably G4S, have embraced the idea of combining manpower with technology. G4S has morphed into a mega-security company with the acquisition of systems integrator Adesta and other technology companies, and the addition of video monitoring capacity by opening a central station in 2007.

While Barthelemy said Securitas USA is open to the possibility of acquiring technology capabilities, partnering with Convergint is the best way to offer more services to customers today.

Tony Varco, VP of Convergint's Security Division, told SSN that customers are looking for ways to “drive down the cost of ownership.”

Varco said that Convergint, which has a presence in 25 cities across the United States and Canada, “has worked situationally with [Securitas] over the past six to eight months. We worked with them in a few locations and we said, ‘Hey this is working well, we should formalize this partnership.’”

Barthelemy said the partnership is part of an evolution for Securitas. To integrate more technology into its offerings will involve the “retooling and retraining of our organization to look at security problems from an overall security perspective rather than from a manpower perspective.”

Varco said Convergint has “the ability to handle this relationship really seamlessly,” but that Convergint is “putting together the process and the flow of how [the two companies] interact and talk to one another —as opportunities present themselves. We’re developing that process as we speak.”