Security firm does more than monitor alarm

It was 2 a.m., the Lower Mainland was locked in a snowstorm and Dwayne Stewart couldn’t reach his company’s premises In Abbotsford to open the doors to let his snow plough drivers in.

Instead, a staffer at Provident Security’s operations centre in Vancouver did the job, opening the door by remote control to let the chilled drivers in.

Michael Jagger’s company is among those combating the property crime trend and he is fighting it with a recently opened high-tech operations centre in Kerrisdale. Sophisticated controls allow his security specialists to monitor locked premises — from the apartment down the street to businesses across the country.

Remote access controls allow Provident to assist in everything from bailing out owners who have forgotten their keys to guiding paramedics through an opened door to reach someone struck down with a heart attack In a 16th floor apartment.

“We can do it whether it is in Toronto or Tallahassee,” said Jagger.
In the case of apartment buildings, Jagger said police and paramedics could find their way to help people blocked by secured doors with no one available to open them. And apartment buildings also face the problem of thieves getting keys or garage door openers for unfettered access through secured areas.

“Many buildings have so many keys floating around and no way to manage it,” he said. “With our system if a clicker for the garage or a code gets lost, we can take it out right away so no one can use it to get in.”

The system can also track who is gaining access and at what time.

Jagger said in most residential towers and commercial buildings the access systems are controlled through an onsite computer with a database that tells the system which access cards or other devices are allowed to open which doors and when.

If someone were to steal the computer with the database, it could contain all the personal information of residents or employees — and it would leave the system inoperable.

Employees or residents who leave may not always have their access removed promptly and unless the system is regularly backed up, it risks being lost in the event of a harddrive breakdown.

Jagger said Provident removes the on-site computer, replacing it with secure communications equipment that links the commercial or residential site to its operations centre, with the system backed up to withstand any computer failure.

Stewart, who is a partner in Pacific Rim Services, had the system installed at the contracting company and he regularly calls on the Kerrlsdale operations centre to help out with access problems.

“It’s especially helpful In bad weather when people are trying to get Into our facility and I can call Provident and say, ‘Somebody is standing at the front door, can you let them in.’

“They can hop on a camera and see if there is one guy there, or 16 guys with a truck.

“It has worked out very well for us.”

Published December 22, 2006 · The Vancouver Sun · Written by Gillian Shaw

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