G4S looks to reestablish itself

Company much more than just a manned guarding company, CEO says
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

JUPITER, Fla.—G4S, a global, full-service security company with North America headquarters based here, continues to reestablish itself as more than just one of the largest security guard providers in the world, according to G4S North America CEO John Kenning.

“We have a very strong brand recognition and awareness in the marketplace as being one of the largest and leading security providers in the world, but when people think of us, they think security officers,” Kenning told Security Systems News, noting that the company has more than 9,000 customers in North America, including 200 offices, and approximately 60,000 employees.

“What we are really trying to do is leverage that customer base to have them fully understand some of the other businesses that we have acquired over the last 10 years that really give us a great advantage over our competition,” he said.

For example, he mentioned improving the company’s access control offerings through the acquisition of AMAG Technology, solidifying the company’s offerings in the manned security space through the acquisition of Wackenhut Security, and bolstering the company’s expertise from a consulting and risk-and-threat-analysis standpoint through the acquisition of a compliance and investigation business.

“With these acquisitions, what we are really trying to do now is leverage the value of these companies, and take the various parts and make them work together,” he said, noting that G4S is becoming much more of a full service security company by doing so.

“We call it an integrated security solution or integrated security services,” said Kenning. “We are taking more and more of our tools and trying to make them easier to use for our customers, and a lot of that is cloud-based, which we are big proponents of. We are also building on our traditional business from a manned security standpoint, creating a stronger relationship with our customer.”

One of these tools the company is improving on is its RISK360 incident and case management software, which the company unveiled the latest version of at ISC West in April. The Microsoft Azure cloud-based application provides security teams the ability to report, track and resolve cases while providing leadership with insights to make informed, data-driven decisions that can potentially save time and money.

The company is also working on adding a full analytics engine to RISK360, “so you can look at the data and be more preventative,” said Kenning. “We are also adding a risk certification process, and we will track the severity of the risk based on location, demographics—whatever the criteria we work with our customers on to design.”

G4S also invested in a small data analytics team, which is investigating the data that is coming out of RISK360, as well as the company’s visitor and credential management tools and its Symmetry Access Control and Symmetry CompleteView software products. “The idea is to find patterns that happen in certain locations that you can prevent somehow with technology or officers. We are also using mobility to make all of those different aspects more efficient with data behind it so you can continue to track that and put the right asset at the right place at the right time.”

In addition to pairing technology and security officers to reduce the total cost of ownership, G4S has been focusing on helping customers with their operations centers, and in some cases providing one for them.

“We are helping customers build brand new operations centers and then we are going out and staffing those centers with the appropriate people,” Kenning explained. “We have a very unique staffing model, which is primarily ex-military with some ex-law enforcement, but people who really understand data and have that background of crunching data. And we also have a unique employee retention program that we are offering to the marketplace.”

In addition, G4S has an operations center at its Burlington, Mass.-facility “for customers who didn’t want to spend the couple of million to build their own,” Kenning noted.

The company is also focusing on the whole experience around the lobby, especially in regard to credentialing. “We believe our Bluetooth credential will gradually make it much more efficient and less costly to have a credential that people really respect and use on a regular basis,” he said. “We are also doing some things on the credential and identity management side around biometrics.”

The company’s strategy seems to be paying off, as G4S’ first quarter numbers show an 8.9 percent growth globally. “In North America we grew in the double-digits, so we are very excited about that,” said Kenning. “Emerging markets continue to grow for the company and we are doing some really unique things in the emerging marketplace around security.”

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