For much of the latter 20th century, security technology didn’t extend far beyond closed-circuit cameras and held-held radios. Over time, innovative security solutions for utility companies began to include ultrasonic detectors, infrared sensors, video recording, and automated zoom lenses. Fast forward to 2020 and private security companies can do so much more through digital technology—though not all security services have kept up with the times. When tracking security officers, for example, some businesses still employ pen-and-paper sign-in sheets or check-ins via phone.

That’s where next-gen security comes into play. Today’s demands on utility companies call for innovative security solutions that weren’t imaginable a generation ago. AGB takes pride in staying abreast of and employing the latest breakthroughs in the field to improve our detection and response capabilities.

Innovative Security Services Predict Emerging Threats

Next-gen technology requires a paradigm shift. No longer do security services have to remain preventive or reactive; now they can be predictive. In the age of Big Data, we now process reams of crime statistics to forecast where crime could occur, and what kind. Knowing the potential vulnerabilities, we think ahead when working with the Chicago Police and law enforcement in other municipalities. We strive to know as much as we can in advance about the property and potential target. When we deploy our security officers, they are better prepared to address emerging threats.

Mobile security technology has also vastly improved our ability to manage our workforce. One new workforce management solution allows employees to sign in and out of shifts, check to schedule and document their activity. Monitoring begins at the start of every shift, as geolocation helps us to confirm a guard is on-site when they say so and not calling in from a bus stop or rush hour traffic.

The workforce management system also allows guards to issue real-time reports, so if they see something hazardous or suspicious, they can send word immediately to a supervisor and the utility company. Compared to paper reports, which can record only one static moment in time, the workforce management software feeds continuous information to the client. As they watch the performance of our security officers, they need not ask about their location or activity.

Field-Tested Systems Secure Utility Companies’ Facilities

Our utility company customers notice how we put the best of next-gen security solutions to work. We collect data directly from every guard on every shift and turn it into useful information and insight. When they share their issues and challenges, we can assure them that we are coming to the table with innovative solutions that have been tested in the field.

The technology that underpins next-gen security services is always advancing. Soon we will see widespread deployment of temperature-sensing thermal imaging cameras that can help determine the presence of possible carriers of COVID-19. Cameras of all kinds are more mobile and can help patrol high-risk areas via drones and robotic controls. Artificial intelligence will enable the same responsive security technology we see worldwide in smart cities to address emerging threats. Think of vast arrays of devices on a smart grid, from lights to alarms, that will activate or pivot in unison the instance a disturbance is identified.

Our singular goal is to exceed and anticipate our clients’ expectations, Data and documentation establish patterns of behavior; next-gen security helps us act on that vital information. Consistent and rigorous training helps us repeat the results clients pay for and expect. We want utility companies, like our other clients, to trust and employ us into the next generation.

Arba L. Houlden Jr. is AGB’s Executive Vice President of IT and Business Development.