Interface Security remodeling command center in Texas

Facility expanding to meet growth in business and company
 - 
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

EARTH CITY, Mo.—Interface Security Systems Holdings Inc., a national provider of cloud-based managed network services and security systems for retail, commercial and small business customers, is remodeling its command center in Plano, Texas, to meet the expanding needs of its growing clientele.

“Our command center in Plano, Texas, is where we have an emphasis on interactive video surveillance services and we increased its size by more than 150 percent to handle the growth in that business,” Interface SVP Jeff Frye told Security Systems News. “We monitor and manage our camera systems to provide video verification, audit of business processes but also security guard replacement using better video surveillance and management, so we can solve issues or problems remotely without having to involve someone at the location, such as at a retail store, for example.”

Frye explained that Interface’s interactive video surveillance product, called Digital Witness, takes the work out of data management for end users, helping them to leverage the data to improve both security and operations.

“Cameras are increasingly everywhere, so we do audits for retail locations—go back through video and audit those key performance indicators for store operations as most people don’t have time to go through all of that footage and data and wring the value out of it,” said Frye. He also noted that the company can also manage things in real time—fix and adjust cameras proactively, as well as address equipment issues remotely without rolling a truck.

“We can remediate approximately 96 percent of events without involving authorities, which translates to lower false alarms and a better reputation with local law enforcement,” he said. “Through our interactive video service we can also significantly improve the security presence, posture and management at a location without adding a guard or additional employees.”

Interface, which opened its first data center in 2003, operates redundant data centers to support WAN management and WLAN management as a complement to its alarm event and video monitoring services.

“Our dual expertise in data and physical security gives our retail and hospitality customers the chance to consolidate vendors for common services like data, voice, security and PCI compliance with support from an experienced cloud provider,” said Frye, who explained that in the past, a customer would have to provide a phone line to connect to the central station.

“The concept with Interface was to provide that connection,” he said. “If you are going to sell an alarm service why wouldn’t you sell the communication method as well, which is how we became an Internet service provider. But, then more broadly, to use that data connection for other things to create additional revenue streams, such as a phone system and a camera system on the IP network, so now we are using that one connection for many things and cost-justifying it many times over and reducing the customers' total spending for all those services.”

For many retail operations with hundreds or thousands of locations and multiple phone lines supporting all of the different functions at each location, “We look at that environment and provide not only the security and the camera systems on an IP backbone, but we take the voice and we take all of the other systems and collapse them onto that data network and manage the network interoperability from our secure operations center, our cloud, providing dual communication paths so that they are always available and immune from line cuts.”

He continued, “The interoperability of systems by collapsing them onto a common backbone, an IP network, a data network, raises the intelligence of all systems because they share information more easily.”

Interface has nearly two dozen network engineers on staff who design, maintain and support networks and keep them functioning in support all of these systems coming into the command center. “That group includes a team of cybersecurity specialists who are looking for bad things before they happen, and anomalies, so that they can detect and mitigate threats,” said Frye, who noted that the company specializes in providing services to commercial IoT.

“We know IP in and out and we have two dozen IP-enabled services for distributed enterprises,” he said. “Once you have that foundation on the data platform supporting all of those services, they have to be secure, so cybersecurity is a core practice and we are really a market leader in enforcing that even from our vendors.”

This strategy is paying off, as the company has experienced year over year double-digit compounded growth, according to Frye.

The company, which has approximately 700 employees providing service to close to 117,000 commercial site systems, has headquarters based here, and command centers in Saint Louis, Mo., and Plano, Texas, as well as data centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Salt Lake City, Utah. Interface is a portfolio company of Dallas based SunTx Capital Partners.