Allied Universal has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. What do you see as opportunities for even more growth over the coming years?
Today, we’re at $5.6 billion, with about 160,000 employees. We have a five-year business plan, started last year, to increase the size of the business—our goal is to be a $10 billion business. The strategy is to grow organically, expanding with clients and organically by adding new service lines each year through our sales and business development teams. We also look to add more customers through additional strategic acquisitions—those could be in specific geographic markets, specific verticals, or even through highly creative opportunities that present themselves to us.
We want to be a one-stop shop, the total security solutions provider. That’s where we see an opportunity for growth, and also where I see the security industry as a whole heading. We believe our big opportunity is to combine security technology with security guard services—going to a customer and being able to help them manage their security spend against their security needs, from both a technology standpoint and a manned guarding standpoint.
The industry is changing dramatically. There are several large players—including us—and there are around 8,000 smaller security companies. The evolution I see in the industry is that combination of security, technology, and manned guarding. That complete security system is becoming more the norm.
Customers are looking for more innovative ways to cover their security needs, especially with cost of labor increasing. Unions are collectively bargaining agreements calling for pay increases, and minimum wage is going up.
Is the building on the tech side a pivot for Allied Universal? How do you go about turning the super tanker that is Allied Universal into a tech-focused company?
The good news is, we saw this coming years and years ago. We were way ahead of the curve. We currently have a smaller technology side to our business—it doesn’t have the national scale of our guarding company, but it’s one of the top 20 largest security systems in the country.
In 1999, the world saw the convergence of security cameras, card access systems, and guarding start to take place. And that really pushed forward after 9/11, when most companies around the country tried to figure out how they could harden their target and prevent potential terrorist activity from taking place in and around their property.
Technology has gotten easier, and cheaper. Now, everyone can go down to the hardware store, buy cameras, and there’s Ring, the doorbell camera system, that you can install in your house. We’ve come up with several SaaS-based products that offer our clients additional security services. We built our own security systems business where we could do design, integration, and service. Four years ago, we acquired a state-of-the-art remote video monitoring business that uses video analytics to manage and monitor video from a centralized location. We monitor video cameras for customers all over North America, and we can do it all around the world. If something transpires in customer video feeds, we notify our internal security or law enforcement.