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G4S secures UAE malls with unobtrusive tech

Posted 15 May 2017 · Add Comment

G4S secures 14 Malls in the UAE and is increasingly using technology as part of its integrated security solution.

More than six million people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) visit one of the country’s shopping malls every week, seeking shelter from the often intense heat to enjoy a bewildering array of shops and all-day family entertainment.

Local ‘Emiratis’ are avid shoppers. Around two-thirds of the population visit a mall weekly, according to market research company YouGov, which amounts to around six million people. More than 10% of the population visit a mall more than five times a week. To satisfy this phenomenon a significant number of malls have been built in the UAE in the past 15 years.

So-called mega-malls offer a vast range of all-age entertainment activities, ranging from fairgrounds, multi-screen cinemas and aquariums, to ski slopes, gaming centres and bowling lanes. A family can quite easily stay in a mall for an entire day and figures show that many do, with a huge range of restaurants and cafes to sustain them.

G4S secures 14 malls in the UAE with the majority in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A priority for the mall owners is to provide an increasingly high standard of security and surveillance to protect shoppers without intruding on the customer experience. In fact, the intention is for shoppers to be largely unaware of the actual scale and scope of a mall’s security operation.

Over the the last 12 months, G4S has introduced the use of its app-based incident management tool for its retail security teams, Secure 360, across the majority of the malls it secures.

G4S UAE Secure Solutions Deputy Managing Director Sunil Saxena said “We work intelligently to understand our customer’s requirements, taking a solution-based approach, which has resulted in us incorporating our cutting-edge technology to help to monitor, evaluate and act to mitigate potential risks.”

“The UAE is a shopper’s paradise with high-end malls, designer retailers and hypermarkets requiring protection. Retail is a key sector for our business and we see plenty of further opportunities.”

With the look and feel of a smartphone, Secure 360 is a handheld security information management device. It provides a real-time link between the on-site security teams and the senior management teams based in G4S’s three command centres in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

The data captured is collected and analysed through a Secure 360 dashboard in each command centre, tracking and monitoring incidents as they happen. This level of central monitoring provides greater scope to manage incidents effectively and as early as possible. Secure 360 is used in conjunction with the monitoring that is provided through CCTV cameras, which can total up to 1600 installations in one of the larger malls.

Security staff can use the touch screen devices to report a range of incidents - these could include suspicious crowd related activity, a lost child, a medical emergency or more serious security breaches. The interface is intuitive and easy to use and allows incidents to be escalated with managers quickly. Secure 360 also enables the efficient management of the on-site teams and where they are stationed, to ensure the appropriate level of security is provided in different areas of a mall.

The devices are tagged so its exact location is known and in turn it can tag the location of an incident, which is notified through the device to the control centre. If appropriate, officers can upload a photograph and quickly seek the right kind of support through the device. Clients receive daily review reports and the same incident alerts received by the G4S team.

The scope of the security services provided by the teams is wide ranging and at many of the malls secured, G4S protects all the daily functions of the operation, beginning when shoppers arrive in the car park, which could have as many as 6,000 parking spaces, to the moment they leave. This security provision also covers deliveries from when they arrive in the loading bay to the moment that cash is transported away from the premises.

Mega-malls have become a celebrated cultural experience in the UAE,  with an increasing appetite not only for big-ticket retail chains but also an ever greater choice of high-end luxury brands selling clothing, accessories, smartphones, technology products and jewellery.

Over the past year, G4S has introduced its end-to-end cash management solution Cash 360. It is proving very popular with retailers who regularly handle a high volume of cash such as luxury outlets and hypermarkets.

Cash 360 is a secure machine into which a checkout operator is able to deposit cash once a sale has been made. The Cash 360 device, which is based on proprietary G4S software, can be linked directly to the retailer’s bank where a deposit is instantly credited to the retailer’s account. Cash 360 removes the need to make manual reconciliations as the device processes the cash, saving time and reducing the risks of cash being manually carried, counted and banked.

The machine is also located discreetly, conveniently and securely on the shop floor allowing staff to reduce the time that cash is physically handled, minimising the risks to employees and customers. G4S provides Cash 360 services to several large retail organisations across 13 malls in the UAE.

Sunil Saxena said: “We are focused on improving and evolving what we do for customers. We are building  a truly integrated security solution, safe-guarding both those who visit the malls and the money transacted and processed in the shopping centres.”


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