Viewpoint, AlliedBarton team up on ‘blended solution’

One-time competitors work together to leverage technology and manpower
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

LOWELL, Mass.—Viewpoint Monitoring, a video monitoring company with commercial accounts across North America, has seen positive early results with its “blended solution,” which involves a partnership with AlliedBarton, a security guard company traditionally viewed as a business rival.

“We took our time and figured out how to do this properly, because it’s a fairly delicate partnership in that the world sees us as competitors, and in some sense we are,” Brad Gordon, CEO of Viewpoint, told Security Systems News. “But we both acknowledge that the best possible security is a combination of having eyes in the sky and feet on the ground.” 

The partnership began officially in June, after Viewpoint was contacted by AlliedBarton, who at the time was looking for a video monitoring partner, Gordon said. The blended solution allows people and technology to function symbiotically, Gordon noted, transforming CCTV systems into tools that do more than simply capture footage of criminal behavior.

By leveraging both technology and manpower, the solution can deter crime before it happens, Gordon said. 

“It’s about taking the CCTV systems that pretty much everyone has now and turning them into proactive security tools used to prevent bad activity, rather than just allowing them to be forensic tools,” he said, adding that a presence is useful because a visible security officer can be an “enormous deterrent.” 

While Viewpoint has worked with guard companies in the past, Gordon said those relationships could be “antagonistic.” AlliedBarton, based in Conshohocken, Pa., demonstrated a firm commitment to supplementing their guard services with video monitoring technology, Gordon said, choosing to “embrace technology as the future rather than fight it.” Gordon described the partnership as “efficient and cost effective” for both companies, and said Viewpoint “certainly expects to increase revenues” through the solution. 

Security companies partnering with guarding services has developed into a trend in recent years. In April, Stanley Convergent Security Systems partnered with U.S. Security Associates, the fourth largest guarding company in the United States. In 2011, systems integrator Convergint teamed up with Securitas USA on a “total security solution.”

“There are things a company like Viewpoint can do much faster because of technology, so it just makes sense to incorporate both [security guards and video monitoring],” Gordon said. “They provide a physical presence, but we watch cameras professionally” and have a “fresh set of eyes” looking at surveillance footage. 

The solution relies on deploying guards in ways that enable them to do what they do best—prevent and respond to potential threats. Having a security guard “sitting in the lobby tasked with watching a bank of camera monitors all night long,” Gordon said, is not the best use of manpower. 

“Obviously a security officer can respond far more quickly to a situation than we can once it’s been identified,” he said. “They’re on the ground to speak with police, residents and employees. These are the things security guards do very well.”

David Feeney, IT director, integrated solutions at AlliedBarton, echoed that the solution is about doing “more with less.” He said the company uses technology, in some cases, to do video tours of sites to supplement the physical patrols performed by guards. “You want to maximize visibility, eyes on site and incident response,” Feeney said. “We’ll use different technology to route them across that site multiple times to increase their visibility.” 

Feeney said the partnership has made the time-sensitive process of incident response much more efficient, as officers don’t have to leave the field to report a concern. 

The partnership, he added, reflects the evolution of the guard industry, and signals a future where guards and technology work in tandem to secure commercial facilities. “There’s certainly not much anyone does anymore that’s not empowered by technology, and that’s the same case with security officers,” he said.