PDQ Winner Elite Interactive Keeps Eyes on the Prize
Elite Interactive Solutions took home the 2020 Police Dispatch Quality Award for its use of remote guarding and reduction of false alarms. Here’s how.
It has become popular — and often overused or misguided ― to apply the term disruption to game-changing technology. Looking back to the dawn of this century, a fair share of it has impacted the security industry.
Examples include IP video and analytics; networked access control and smart locks; and universal shifts based on developments like smartphones, artificial intelligence, voice command, Cloud, IoT and 5G. Incorporating many of those advances to disrupt and transform the perception of security systems monitoring, response and dispatch has been Elite Interactive Solutions.
Established by 40-year security veteran Aria Kozak — considered by some the “father of remote guarding” ― since 2008 Los Angeles-based Elite has been rewriting the book on how security companies can mitigate and stop criminal activity, and help police better do their job. All that while slashing false alarms and first responder dispatches.
In 2019, Elite recorded 3.86 million events from its base of 311 commercial and residential sites. Security agents connected via cameras and speakers for voice-down procedures that cut nearly 22,000 potential intruder/trespasser incidents to 626 police dispatches that resulted in 266 detentions and 119 arrests.
Elite’s specialized tactics and proof of concept led to being recognized as this year’s Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award winner. Established by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) and SSI and endorsed by the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response (PPVAR) and Installation Quality (IQ) program, the PDQ Award honors a security firm that best demonstrates a proactive, cooperative and successful effort in false alarm reduction strategies.
Now in its 15th year, the program’s mission is to raise industrywide awareness, promote partnering with responding agencies for public safety, motivate alarm companies to take action and provide workable models.
“The alarm industry is experiencing the revolutionary emergence of a tremendous improvement over longstanding conventional approaches to protecting property,” says Tom Stone, ex-police chief and chairman of Elite’s Law Enforcement Advisory Board. “This puts real-time eyes on protected sites through the use of military-grade A.I. Remote guarding provides for immediate verification and response coordination with law enforcement for valid alarms or resolution without the need to involve them through voice-down capabilities. This approach eliminates the number of false alarms so law enforcement can focus on proactive patrol.”
Just ahead, Kozak elaborates on Elite’s innovative methods and impressive outcomes.
What are some leading elements that set Elite apart from most where it comes to combatting false alarms?
Aria Kozak: The founding principles at Elite Interactive Solutions as well as our mission statement are centered around creating a bridge between the law enforcement community and businesses. Elite is a security consulting firm specializing in crime prevention with a proactive approach to security solutions.
Typically, consulting companies come, advise and then leave. Elite’s difference is we do everything from the beginning to end: forensic assessment, engineering, installation, support and monitoring. Our approach starts with being able to identify and understand how crime is committed, who commits it, and designing systems to proactively address those security challenges.
We committed first to deliver on the promise of security risk management, which is crime prevention. We then immediately recognized the need to minimize false positive alerts, identify crime in real-time and intervene before getting law enforcement involved. It’s been evident in many cities going to nonresponse to traditional security alarms and events. Elite recognized the challenges, dangers and unrealistic expectations that police response can scale to the volume of false alarms.
Given the scarcity and importance of human attention, we knew false positive alerts had reached a tipping point. We also saw the command center personnel, guarding teams and law enforcement’s ability to continue to scale resources to the volume was unsustainable.
In what ways does the company leverage advanced technology to achieve its results?
Kozak: Elite utilizes a combination of advanced analytics and machine learning to identify threats and vulnerabilities that notifies our trained command center agents to intervene. It’s this intervention that can be done with multiple approaches up to and including law enforcement involvement, but only if needed.
As an example, we communicate in real-time with suspects versus playing prerecorded messages, which are ignored by perpetrators and not appreciated by neighbors. This results in us proactively and successfully preventing crimes and diffusing 96% of incidents without using precious Law Enforcement resources.
Remote guarding combines the most advanced security technology available today to proactively prevent crime and improve security. This technology turns passive security cameras into active & intelligent digital guards, capable of alerting human security guards of any intrusions or trespassers. Security guards located remotely in a centralized command center can use voice-down technology to view and communicate with any intruders, helping prevent crime before it starts.
Elite relies on the technological advancements within machine learning and artificial intelligence to continually deliver results. When the company first got started, there were limited opportunities to utilize advanced monitoring systems and processes as they were just emerging technologies. With time, as technology has continued to advance in getting smarter and faster, our technology strategy has also evolved to leverage these new innovations and emerging solutions.
We have partnered with manufacturers that understand and specialize in addressing our needs in remote guarding and advanced detection. As an example, we utilize thermal systems provided by SightLogix to provide intrusion detection, uniquely addressing our needs for early preventative detection. Elite’s technology and operations teams work with our key partners’ engineering management teams to become both a driver and student of innovation within the security industry. We believe our research and development team, along with time-tested business practices, allows Elite a unique way to fully leverage the advancements.
Utilizing multiple layers of technology has allowed Elite to drastically reduce false positive alerts to a negligible amount so we can focus on the core of our business, which is crime and catastrophe prevention.
How do you coordinate efforts between your installation and monitoring personnel? What does each side bring?
Kozak: For an effective installation, our team follows a systematic and programmatic process that starts with understanding the customer site forensic analysis, then the likelihood and potential impact of events in the application of a security risk design. The Elite engineering team then designs the system from covering risks first, applying technology appropriately and identifying team resources required to implement the solutions. Those designs are then shared with monitoring center operations team members who review the engineering plan and make adjustments based upon their experience in the field in support of digital guarding outcomes.
Upon the completion of the implementation, our command center leadership reviews performance and follows the step-by-step checklist to ensure that systems function as prescribed for optimal customer satisfaction and protection. The true test of success within the installation and monitoring implementation process is how well we can communicate throughout the process to ensure seamless implementation and client program launches.
What are the advantages of operating your own central station rather than contracting with a third party?
Kozak: We are proud that, in 2016, Elite was the first remote guarding company to be certified by UL, which we worked closely with to meet the organization’s rigorous standards. Our work helped establish how these standards relate to both secure monitoring technology and the operations of our secure command and control center. Our overall goal in maintaining our own command center is that we have a vertically integrated infrastructure, purpose built and functioning to the necessary and unique specifications of the remote guarding solutions.
The cost savings we can extract from having smart systems and lower personnel count provides Elite an advantage in how the operation is handled daily. Additionally, by having our own central stations, Elite ensures that the police and customers get the right level of response without additional outside distractions.
Can you speak to Elite’s unique approach to building deep relationships with law enforcement?
Kozak: We have established a Law Enforcement Advisory Board. LEAB meets with law enforcement executives nationwide to provide guidance and explain the differentiation of the remote guarding solutions to Elite’s clientele and first responders. The remote guarding solutions provide critical, real-time information that helps to safely guide law enforcement from the time they arrive to an event through the conclusion of the incident. The safety of responders is remote guarding’s most important “real-time” advantage.
Elite’s LEAB members have worked with law enforcement agencies and communications centers for over a decade to re-enforce the importance that calls from Elite’s remote guarding agents are verified incidents or crimes in progress. Law enforcement executives have enthusiastically endorsed the concept of remote guarding services provided by Elite.
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