Jason Gratton, chief executive officer (CEO) of Eyesite Surveillance, based in Chandler, Ariz., is among a new generation of security professionals and is representative of the expanding membership of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), formerly known as the NBFAA.
Eyesite Surveillance has done something with an alarm system that few security companies have ever done â€” made 40 apprehensions in four months at a single location. In order to learn what Jason and his company are doing to deliver such amazing results, SDM delved into his background.
Gratton’s career track did not begin in the traditional alarm industry. He has a master’s degree in engineering and an MBA, and he worked for a major defense contractor as a Six-Sigma leader for business improvement. Eyesite Surveillance was founded in September 2004 to fill a need: Jason’s father is from the building materials distribution business; his two friends were in residential or commercial construction sales and contracting.
One evening Jason, his father and friends were sitting around a pool in Arizona discussing security problems they had experienced at various construction sites. This conversation led to Jason designing a portable, solar-powered site-surveillance system that transmitted streaming video over a variety of networks for real-time remote viewing. The friends began building and leasing these Mobile Surveillance Units, MSUs as they called them, part-time. As the company expanded into full-time jobs and applications for traditional intrusion alarms appeared, they began to source these products from ADI. It was through ADI that they discovered third-party central stations to do the actual monitoring, and learned about the typical RMR business model. So while they began with custom outdoor surveillance, Eyesite had finally entered the world of the traditional burglar alarm business, adding the standard suppliers and equipment to their very sophisticated MSUs and leasing their turn-key solutions to contractors and building management companies.
During a conversation with a prospective customer, Jason learned of Videofied, an unplugged wireless video security system available from RSI Video Technologies, White Bear Lake, Minn. Because it is wireless and needs no AC power, it seemed the perfect complement to the MSUs. The heart of the Videofied system is the MotionViewer, a PIR with an integrated camera/illuminators that detects an intruder and sends a 10-second video clip of the event to a central station for review and dispatch.
Jason purchased a demo kit from Videofied and began testing the system outdoors in the real world. Eyesite mounted MotionViewers throughout one job site to act as portable sentries to their powerful MSU. Once a MotionViewer detected the intruder, Eyesite used the MSU to coordinate real-time response in high resolution. Eyesite had immediate success from their first installation with an apprehension at a commercial construction site four days after installation. They then tested the system in residential construction and actually broke up a significant copper theft ring in Goodyear, Ariz..
Construction in Goodyear subdivisions had experienced a wave of thefts and one builder called in Eyesite to secure his job site. In the following week, police responded to an Eyesite dispatch and apprehended three males and one female with a truck full of copper from multiple subdivisions. The crime wave was stopped. The key to the apprehensions was that dispatchers could immediately see there were intruders on site and the police responded quickly when they knew the alarm was verified; they wanted the apprehensions. Videofied also brought a new level of affordability to Eyesite; this became important as the construction slowdown occurred at the end of 2008. Businesses simply did not have the budget to lease the larger systems and many builders folded altogether.
In April of this year, Eyesite was called out to the remote storage yard of one of the area’s major heavy construction companies. “I was totally unprepared for what we found. It was no ordinary site,” Jason described. The construction company had leased the facility to store equipment and supplies; it consisted of two graffiti-covered, abandoned buildings contained within a large, fenced lot. The buildings were a magnet for vagrants, and the equipment and supplies were the target of vandals and thieves. Broken glass from windshields lay on the asphalt, a mute witness to the unceasing attacks of youth seeking a good time. The company had recently been the target of more than $40,000 worth of damage and simply could not find an affordable solution â€” its budget had ruled out both guards and even the Eyesite MSUs.
Jason thought Videofied was the only viable option, so Eyesite installed a stand-alone system with three outdoor MotionViewers to cover the choke points, as an MSU was out of the question. The installation was simple because even the communicator/panel operates up to four years on a set of batteries. Eyesite put the panel in a NEMA box, tie-wrapped the box to a light pole and mounted the MotionViewers as discreetly as possible â€” one in a tree near the buildings, one under a trailer and one on a storage container. Installation time: two hours.
The results have been dramatic. Jason said one of the keys to the success of this installation is that even though it is outdoors, the system doesn’t generate false alarms. “While we have seen cats and even a coyote in the videos, police were not dispatched. They know that when we call them it is a real event worth investigating and they come.”
In four months Eyesite’s central station has dispatched police who have made more than 40 apprehensions. The simple fact is that an inexpensive wireless video security system delivers results and is making money for Eyesite even in a tough economy and even in the construction industry.
Editor’s note: The Electronic Security Association has posted videos of some of these actual intrusions on its Web site at www.alarm.org/videotech/