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Specifically Speaking with Ed Howard, Pax Bello Security Solutions

Specifically Speaking with Ed Howard, Pax Bello Security Solutions

Specifically Speaking with Ed Howard, Pax Bello Security Solutions

YARMOUTH, Maine—Security Systems News’ latest Specifically Speaking feature on Ed Howard, President & CEO of Pax Bello Security Solutions based in Hawaii, provides a glimpse into some recent complex projects the company has completed, as well as Howard’s views new technology like AI.

SSN: What's your role at the company? 

HOWARD: I oversee company operations involving professional consulting, training, security planning and design for the State of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim Region.

Pax Bello Security Solutions is comprised of security industry professionals with a variety of backgrounds and expertise in law enforcement, security technology, emergency and security management; with association of all sectors of the security and safety industry.  Pax Bello Security Solutions has multiple offices around the USA to cost effectively serve clients. 

SSN: What kinds of systems do you design/specify and what services does the company provide?         

HOWARD: More important than the types of systems we specify, are the methods we use to go about identifying problems a client is trying to resolve while considering the level of a client’s expertise. We find that this is an often-overlooked step leaving a client with a robust system but no means to manage it. A core philosophy of service is that Pax Bello Security Solutions offers a unique approach for clients to assist them with identifying and defining problems, needs and future vision. This is an often-overlooked step but should occur before offering a solution to clients. Albert Einstein once stated that if given one hour to save the planet, 59 minutes would go into defining the problem and one minute to resolve it. In a similar manner, taking the time and applying expertise to define the real problems in any processes, systems and/or the applied integrations used by the client is task one before recommending solutions either technical, procedural or environmental.

Pax Bello Security Solutions has purposely decided to stay vendor neutral. We have designed/specified Security access control systems, panic alarms, emergency campus communication and video management systems to name a few, however we also work with the client to create processes, policies and procedures as well as providing a managed services program if needed. We use a data-based process in creating workflows, staffing levels and help the client identify areas of opportunity.  The systems we specify and design for the client are cost effective and efficient and effectively resolves the identified areas of concern. This allows Pax Bello Security Solutions to consider the best available products for the specific client without a vendor or product bias.

Pax Bello continually dedicates time to evaluate new products and existing products used in the security industry. We believe this approach creates a knowledge base of the many available products and technology that are available to address a variety of client problems and unique issues.  

SSN: What vertical markets does the company specialize in? Any interesting projects that you can mention?

HOWARD: Pax Bello Security Solutions’ primary clients are in municipal markets such as cities and airports, secondary schools, higher education, community colleges, hospitality, finance, retail, community associations and healthcare.

Pax Bello Security Solutions would like to highlight and provide an overview of three major projects that have demonstrated Pax Bello Security Solutions’ professional expertise, skills and capacity.  These projects involved providing services to a large community college system, a brand-new state licensed special treatment facility (STF) for rescued youth victims of sex trafficking and a large healthcare campus. 

The project for the community college system involved 9 college sites with student enrollment for the system of more than 200,000 students. The challenge with this project was to address the individuality and uniqueness of each site’s governance. Each site’s needs were different based on their location and specialties taught on the individual campus. The varied campuses’ leadership approached security much differently and our charge was to aid in the development of standards with security technology and processes.  In addition, there was no identified “owner” of the system, it was more of an additional task managed by a myriad of different people with a variety of skillsets. Pax Bello Security Solutions was successful in working with this community college system, identifying a security technology system that could handle all of the campuses’ complexities and meet all of the campus leadership’s expectations and requirements.  At the end of this project Pax Bello Security Solutions developed a technology roadmap that included both hardware and software upgrades in addition to processes that exceeded each of the system’s leadership’s expectations and needs. 

The Hawaii STF for vulnerable youth who have been exploited and sex trafficked, is located in a remote area. Several initial obstacles were encountered and eventually addressed for this project. These obstacles included access to reliable internet service, weather conditions affecting technology products and restrictions due to the historic building designation during the renovation. Additionally, the nonprofit group relied heavily upon donations and in-kind services from architects, contractors, and skilled laborers. Pax Bello Security Solutions successfully helped educate the nonprofit organization involved with the construction and renovation project on the difference between a system that could be purchased at Costco and a professionally designed commercial security system. We were able to present several options to the client during the development and design stage for robust access control, alarms, gate access, intercoms and a video management system that met the expectation of the non-profit organization and the contracted management company that operates the program on-site. This project for Pax Bello Security Solutions was a labor of love knowing that we were doing this to help those youth severely impacted by sex trafficking and exploitation.

Due to the sensitivity and importance of Hawaii’s first ever STF for this type of vulnerable population, security was a very high priority in order to protect the patients and Pax Bello Security Solutions was able to deliver our professional expertise, planning and design utilizing top notch security systems after careful selection of technology solutions and products.  

Pax Bello Security Solutions was provided the opportunity to resolve concerns and outstanding issues regarding security operations, deployment, and security systems at a large healthcare campus in Texas.  This project required us to determine the problems before recommendations could be made. Two previous security consulting firms were contracted without success to modify the existing program positively forward. Strong and focused security assessment techniques were used to identify all existing program problems, issues, risks and vulnerabilities. As a result of the assessment and problem identification techniques professionally used by Pax Bello Security Solutions, many recommendations and options were made and implemented that immediately gained positive results and deliverables for the client. At the conclusion of this project, it resulted in a pathway for higher productivity, greater efficiency and better organization with a clear understanding of the department’s operational focus.  The Security Department was eventually armed with their desired professional operations masterplan with future expectations to update various program elements and improve on security technology to augment their security operations.

SSN: How did you get started in security and designing/specifying?

HOWARD: Pax Bello Security Solutions consists of known associates and those who were previously “end users” in the security, law enforcement or emergency management industries. We, through our combined experiences used security technology vendors, consultants or end user services. Over the years we recognized industry gaps by manufactures, consultants, offered services and vendors that failed to understand the operational realities of the various security and safety industries that we worked for.  We were exposed to those who were not thoroughly educated or experienced in security technology and technology solutions; rather they were focused on sales that many times did not meet the true needs or would effectively solve or appropriately address the various issues that were present. 

Some common issues that were encountered when dealing with vendors, consultants, or end user sales persons, involved ineffective camera placement on doors causing “white out” on the camera view for most of the day, daisy chaining access control systems that were tied to areas like pharmacies or selling us what they had in their toolbox, not what was best for us at the time.  We even had one vendor tell us that we “didn’t need IP cameras, we could just use high-definition analog to do the same thing!” We found instances of vendors & consultants recommending products seeking problems to resolve but the recommendations and solutions offered were not correct or not always in the best interest for us.

After years of discussing this phenomenon a group of us decided to form a company that would approach client’s concern from an end user perspective. We hope to change the industry around by solving real world security problems with our combined knowledge and creativity using existing and new technology that is available in the market in a manner that was not originally designed. For example, when a higher education campus was interested in closing to the public after hours, but still allowing known visitors, an existing visitor management software product was used to address the need by total expansive use and taking advantage of the system’s full capabilities, rather than spending excessive amounts of money on a new system. This was an example of the strong knowledge from our team that was shared with our client that resulted in a cost-effective and appropriate end solution.   

SSN: Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?

HOWARD: During this time of the “Great Resignation” due to COVID-19 and government subsistence funding like never seen before, businesses and organizations are using a variety of industry technology such as, robots, drones, more sophisticated video management systems, and analytics are all very viable options that can be used to address staffing shortages, overtime cost and employee burnout. Automation in particular relating to workforce shortages we see growing in the future.  These technologies when deployed appropriately can serve as a “force multiplier” in addition to an added value to the facility.  These new security technology solutions offer consistent, replicable results in addition to useful data that can be used for both security and business operations (business intelligence).

We are also seeing more acceptance of the use of security technology to supplement the business intelligence data used by organizations. People counting, and heat maps can be used with point-of-sale data and other business metrics to improve service, increase sales, or increase operational efficiencies.  

Law Enforcement and security operations are also starting to use security technology data to provide metrics that can assist with crime analysis, crime intelligence and intelligence led policing efforts. More efficient use of data provided by security technology systems can increase efficiency of deployed security/law enforcement resources.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), is also improving the reliability of security technology.  Computers are being programmed to monitor other computers, analyze video quality and analyze computer metrics to eliminate or reduce downtime by identifying small deviances in computers that can cascade into larger issues thus allowing users to mitigate the issues before catastrophic failure occurs. 

New AI products on the market also can provide early warning for gun detection from a person or vehicle, decreasing the response time of law enforcement to suppress the event.  Machine learning is also being deployed to increase the effectiveness of access control systems.  Systems can analyze “use data” to recommend access levels, time zones and time codes for greater security and efficiency.  Although many of these products have been around for a while, the industry seems to have greatly improved the reliability of these products.

SSN: What is your view on the industry moving forward?

HOWARD: It is very apparent that the security technology industry is moving rapidly toward being much more proactive with solid proactive type solutions and measures, as opposed to many years of common reactive measures.  We believe that the industry will continue to move forward with products and services that will have the proactive approach, creating new solutions toward strong prevention as a key strategy to mitigate identified risks and vulnerabilities.

An example of the proactive technology world includes the speed and efficiency of new technology solutions that can help deter mass shootings and prepare for new crime phenomenon such as flash mob burglaries and robberies.  Businesses and organizations have prepared in different ways to seek effective crime deterrence that result in immediate prevention or apprehension of the perpetrators of these types of criminal acts.  Improved data mining of information, security technology data, and criminal intelligence used with effective crime analysis will result in improved response to new types of crime being committed. 

The use of integration in security technology systems and the capabilities of machine learning and AI will create better opportunities for the move in the security industry from reactive to proactive measures.  Risk mitigation strategies will also focus more on the prevention rather than the response.  In healthcare for example the directional change is starting with addressing workplace violence in a much more proactive manner to address this very high risk. 

No longer is it acceptable to just be responsive for this consistent problem, a strong emphasis is on education, policies, procedures, and written processes to meet regulations and standards and new technology plays a strong role with how the problem of workplace violence is addressed in a preventative way rather than just a response and recovery effort, from how staff are educated to how high-risk patients are monitored and tracked.  

Current studies and publications are now focusing on the preventative efforts occurring in our industry.  Businesses and organizations through evaluation and assessments are focusing on prevention and those working in our industry need to have the deep knowledge of all new and emerging technology in order appropriately specify the best solutions focusing on prevention in the most cost-effective way.  A good sign now is that we are seeing architects taking security more into consideration when building schools, hospitals, etc., and this will provide more opportunities for our industry.  More than anything, we see the industry demanding “smarter security”.  The world is changing and we see the different verticals changing as they are now being held accountable for inadequate or lack of security. 

Specifically Speaking, a Security Systems News monthly column, features Q-and-A with a security consultant provided to SSN by SecuritySpecifiers.


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