Universal Protection acquires guard-tracking technology

 - 
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SANTA ANA, Calif.— Universal Protection, a $500 million guard company that also does security installation, on April 2 acquired Heritage Security Services of San Diego. It also acquired a guard-tracking technology that its CEO says is "game-changing."

In addition to 1,200 guards, the deal brings with it a “proprietary and patented guard-tracking technology.” That is what really drew Universal into the deal, Steve Jones, co-CEO and COO of Universal Services of America, the parent company of Universal Protection, told Security Systems News.

He said that Heritage spent $6 million during the past five years developing this technology. Jones said Universal plans to introduce it in all of its locations.

“Basically each officer carries a device and we can … put a geofence around the account, so we can tell where the guards are. [We know] if they go outside the fence, if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, if they haven’t completed a task they’re supposed to do,” Jones explained.

“We can take a customer account and show the customer point-by-point, minute-by-minute, where an officer was,” he said. “And we get an alert if the officer fails to do something.”
 
Jones said Universal will use the technology across its footprint “as a differentiator” initially, but there has been discussion of possibly “licensing it to guard companies who are in markets we are not in.”

The acquisition of Heritage makes Universal the dominant player in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County, he said. “From a Southern California standpoint, Universal has a commanding market share.”

In a previous interview, Jones told SSN that Universal wants to have security installation capabilities (which are currently concentrated in California and the Carolinas) in every market where it has guards.

The company acquired SFI, an integration business, last fall. Jones said the company plans to complete another acquisition, which may include a security integration component, by the end of the summer. “Stay tuned,” he said.