His part-time job was simply a means to support himself while studying, although Nassim Said soon discovered that working in security offered much more than a way to make money. He found that the industry was a natural fit for him, so he took the plunge by diving into his own fledgling business.
He has never looked back. Nassim migrated from Lebanon at the age of 21 and started working as a security guard in shopping centres to fund his university degree. In 2006, he decided to start his own security company, called Australia Protection Security (APS), and focused on providing security guards.
He scored his first client, a shopping centre in the New South Wales suburb of Hillsdale, which the company still serves today. “Getting involved in the community was my main passion, with a desire for protecting others. A safer community is my main priority,” Nassim insists.
“We grew the business based on recommendations – our marketing strategy back then focused on word of mouth, building our reputation and our clientele on trust, family values and recommendations.”
In 2014, Nassim realised that the company needed to integrate new technology and security solutions into the company’s business processes to diversify from its security guard services.
He decided to purchase the Ultimate Security brand, which had existed since 1980. “It was attractive for us, so we started building on it, investing heavily in technology to develop the brand as a leader in cutting-edge security innovations. After rebranding, we merged all our customers from APS to Ultimate Security,” he recalls.
You need the people behind your business to be completely up to date with the systems they use, or there will be countless problems.
“The world we live in has changed. Criminal and security threats are not only more frequent, but also more complex. This is why the security industry has shifted towards more responsive and advanced solutions.
“Today, video surveillance is fuelled by the internet. CCTV cameras are smarter and video quality has improved significantly, but the most impressive and beneficial advances lie in deep learning analytics. As recognition technologies have matured, AI’s ability to recognise objects has surpassed human performance. Recognition as a service is emerging in various applications. Video analytics, including queue management and people counting using heat mapping and facial recognition, have proven to be extremely valuable in light of COVID-19.”
According to Nassim, this feature is popular among councils given the need for crowd control. Recognition as a service is also emerging in other applications such as customer experience, marketing, operations and safety. Essentially, advances in the security industry have been facilitated by the National Broadband Network rollout across Australia, which has transformed the industry with smarter, faster and more reliable security systems.
“We are at the stage where alarm systems can be accessed remotely via secure internet connection on a smartphone,” he says.
“Security systems are also scalable, modular and less hardware-centric thanks to the cloud. High-quality footage is easily accessible and more affordable than ever. Cloud-based systems allow for third-party monitoring centres to conduct a lot of the remote functionality of these AI recognition technologies. In fact, our monitoring centre is Grade A1, ASIAL’s highest grade, and actively monitors more than 10,000 clients 24/7. The facility is industry approved, safeguarded against natural disasters and independently audited on a regular basis to provide customers with reassurance. Essentially, our approach to security and safety has shifted from reactive to proactive.”
Ultimate Security has now also opened a second control room, making it currently one of only three companies nationally to have a second monitoring centre to cover for redundancy, pending grading.
“If we have to shut down or evacuate, we can work immediately from the second monitoring centre. That gives us our competitive advantage,” Nassim explains. “We currently monitor more than 10,000 customers 24/7, and we have expanded our footprint to New Zealand. Last July, we acquired Nycon Security Group as part of our growth plan. It definitely won’t be our last.”
With new technology playing a central role in security operations, training becomes a major consideration to ensure both competence and compliance. It’s been a significant factor in Nassim’s strategic plan for the business as it expands its operations and offerings.
“You need the people behind your business to be completely up to date with the systems they use, or there will be countless problems,” he says.
“With all our in-house security solutions – from security guards to alarm monitoring and responses, patrols and back-to-base alarm monitoring – the organic growth of our business is built on providing security solutions based on our expertise in all these areas.”
Unlike many other industries, security became a high priority when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, throwing Ultimate Security into uncharted waters. The company was stretched to find solutions to unique circumstances.
“For us, it was a completely unprecedented situation,” Nassim recalls. “We felt a great sense of responsibility towards our staff and clients. We needed to put in place short-term, mid-term and long-term strategies to anticipate what might happen. It was very important to tackle problems in order of priority, to keep it simple.
“We had to challenge ourselves and our team. We couldn’t rely on past experience to guide us through COVID-19, because there’s no book to go to. We thought it would be a quiet time for us as the lockdowns started. But it was actually very challenging because the security industry picked up, and everyone wanted to secure their property, their shopping centre, their warehouse.”
Before starting relationships with new clients, Nassim looks to their core business principles for parallels with his own. “We have to share the same values – if we don’t, there’s no point doing business together,” he insists.
“We’re a family business, and we base our business on family values. I always want to maintain that. We treat everyone like family. We have each other’s backs, we work as a team and we support our team at all times. An important part of that is flexibility – we provide people with flexibility to make sure we have a happy environment.”
After nearly two decades in business, Nassim has concluded that success is a prize for those who find their personal ambitions aligning with their own passions, rather than conforming to expectations. It’s what you love that rewards in the end, he points out.
“Do something you’re passionate about. When you lose the passion for what you do, you need to re-evaluate your situation. Love what you do, and do it well. You need to find happiness through your work–life balance,” he stresses. Surely a sound proposition for any business owner.
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