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At $40-75.00 per month, Provident's monthly fees are more than the other guys… the difference is, when your alarm trips we're going to do something about it. We take security seriously. We don't cut corners and our fees reflect that.
We offer a complete security service and we'd love to get a chance to talk to you about how we can help you get full value for the money you spend every month on home security.
Give us a call at 604.664.1087 or stop by our Kerrisdale showroom at 2309 West 41st Avenue. We'd love the opportunity to show you the Provident difference.
24 Hour Alarm Monitoring
While every alarm company will say that they offer 24 hour monitoring, in most cases, that monitoring is being sub-contracted to a third-party provider… who could be located anywhere in the world.
By contrast, Provident owns and operates its own central monitoring station in Kerrisdale and provides service exclusively for our own clients. More control over our process results in faster response and superior service.
The best way to understand the difference is to see it for yourself. Give us a call at 604.664.1087 to set-up a tour of our Kerrisdale Operations Centre. We'd love to show you.
Guaranteed 5 Minute Response
Provident Security is the only company in North America that guarantees a five-minute response to every alarm.How can we do that?
It starts by clearly defining what we won't do… two things we won't do are (1) provide response service outside of Vancouver's Westside, or (2) call your house after an alarm trips.
By focusing all of our efforts on Kerrisdale, Shaughnessy, Dunbar, Point Grey & Kitsilano, we're able to ensure that our Response team members driving our bright yellow trucks are never more than a few blocks away from any of our clients. We're ready to respond 24/7 and we are never very far away.
We treat every alarm as real, until proven false. If you've set off the alarm by accident, you are the only person who knows that it's a false alarm. So you call us. Otherwise, we're going to assume that you need us there and head straight to your home.
The net result? Provident provides the fastest possible response to your alarm.
Instant Signal Transmission
Provident is the only company utilizing BLINK™ wireless monitoring. BLINK™ sends alarm signals in less than 2 seconds (a regular phone line takes about 45 seconds and can be easily cut from outside your home).
BLINK™ protects you from your telephone line being cut and provides the highest level of security.
24/7/365 Mobile Patrol in Your Neighbourhood
In order to be able to provide a guaranteed response time of five minutes or less, we're on patrol in your neighbourhood 24 hours a day.
One of the great advantages of having us close by is that we can help you out on a moments notice for almost anything. Beyond our Homewatch service where we come by to pick up papers, water plants, feed cats, walk dogs & anything you need done while you are out of town, we're just as valuable when you are home.
Our clients have called on us to be available for a young babysitter unsettled by someone at the door, we've picked up drycleaning, we've jump-started cars and even driven clients home in their own cars after a party.
There are a lot of advantages to having us close-by... we hope that you'll use them!
Kerrisdale Monitoring Station
Unlike most alarm companies that sub-contract their monitoring to a 3rd party provider, Provident has its own dedicated central monitoring station located in Kerrisdale.
Our Operations Centre uses the most up-to-date technology available. In fact, we've developed many of the unique systems we use to track client's house keys as well as automate our alarm dispatch process.
The result? Provident offers the fastest, most efficient alarm monitoring service available. Give us a call at 604.664.1087 to request a tour and check it out for yourself… we'd love to show you how we are different from any other security company.
We host regular 'Preventing Burglary' seminars in our Kerrisdale Showroom. You do not need to be a Provident client to attend… everyone is welcome.
Home security turned out to be a hot topic with readers. The column I wrote last week on the strengths and weaknesses of alarm systems prompted a spate of responses.
I ended up concluding, though, that the people who wrote in fell into three categories: technologists, pessimists and pragmatists. All made valid points about the best way to use security systems and what you can expect from one. So I thought I could use this week's column to share their ideas.
TECHNOLOGISTS The technologists contended that I had not given security alarms their due. Through advances in monitoring technology, they said, the false alarm rate could be lowered and police response time shortened.
Peter Goldring, the chief executive of Sentry Protection, told me about video verification systems that send a clip to the security company of the thief inside your house. With this, the company can tell the police there is a crime in progress, which gets them to your door quickly. "We can prioritize," he said.
Likewise, Jeff Kessler, a managing director at Imperial Capital, an investment bank, and a former security industry analyst, said advances in notification via cellphones helped reduce the false alarm rate, while add-ons to alarm systems - like heating and plumbing monitors and services to provide medical assistance - expanded the uses and value of security systems.
PESSIMISTS This group consisted of people with first-hand experience in the monitoring centers of security companies. They painted a far worse picture than I did.
David Scott, who said he used to work as a customer service representative in Florida and is now a computer programmer, complained that security companies give customers a false sense of efficiency with advertisements showing NASA-like monitoring centers. He said that he worked in a cubicle and that standard residential service - as opposed to prominent clients or businesses - was handled by the newest hires.
He had two pieces of advice to cut down on frustration with the security companies. One, make sure your system is properly coded so it tells you where a problem is - bathroom window, for example, as opposed to "Sensor 1". And if you have guests, particularly anyone who does not speak English well, make sure they know the code. "I can't tell you how many times I called inside, and mom or dad who spoke little English accidentally set off the alarm while the kids were at work," Mr. Scott said. "No one is happy when that happens."
Larry, a retired Suffolk County police officer and security consultant who did not want his last name used because of his law enforcement background, said police response times got slower after a few false alarms. And he cautioned people who rely on barking dogs that an experienced burglar knows how to get by the pet.
PRAGMATISTS But it was those in the third group who provided the most useful insights. The pragmatists admitted that the security industry had many faults but instead of defending or excoriating it, they offered simple, cost-effective advice.
Alan Lurie, vice president of operations at the Kenstan Lock Company and president of the Boa Handcuff Company, said fire department-approved grates on apartment windows, particularly near a fire escape, were effective in keeping people out.
He suggested everyone use restricted keys that cannot be copied without a security card - and many locksmiths have to order the blanks to make them. He also had a word of caution about home maintenance. "You could have a $900 lock on the door," he said. "But if there is wood rot, the door is going to give."
Michael Jagger, the president of Provident Security in Vancouver, British Columbia, said his company had a different model to respond to alarms: it has 6,000 customers but they all live in particular neighborhoods that the company monitors closely. As soon as an alarm goes off, one of the company's cars responds in under five minutes, charging $35 unless the homeowner reports a false alarm.
Even though his company can respond quickly, he said, he still instructed clients on how to secure their valuables until someone arrived. His "five-minute fixes" were often ingenious and would work to confound any crook.
He suggested putting a deadbolt lock on your master bedroom. However unsightly this may be, he said master bedrooms are the first place burglars go to look for jewelry and money. While they could still break down the door, the lock will slow them.
Similarly, he suggested people with alarms put poles in their sliding glass doors that are two inches too short. That way, when the burglar tries to force the door open, he will trip the alarm but still be stuck outside. (People without alarms might try putting a thick washer at the top of the slider to keep the crook from lifting it off the track.)
To keep your high-end plasma-screen televisions on the wall, Mr. Jagger said people should use a bicycle lock to attach the TV to the mounting bracket. Yes, the burglars may still rip the TV off the wall, lock and all, but it will take them a bit of time. The same goes for bolting down computers and safes. If they're not fastened to the floor they are easy to take out.
"An alarm is not a deterrent in and of itself - despite what most other security companies will try to suggest," Mr. Jagger said. "Because we know that we can get to your place within five minutes, you need to ensure that from the point at which your alarm trips and sends us a signal, it will take a burglar at least five minutes to get to what you are trying to protect."
Provident's response time may be unique to its neighborhood model. But the notion of delaying burglars with these simple solutions could reduce what they steal from anyone's home.
Published May 7, 2010 · The New York Times · Written by Paul Sullivan
Companies have been slashing almost every cost imaginable to survive the recession, yet they are spending more than ever to calm CEOs who fear for their personal safety.
Starbucks, which has laid off workers, closed stores and switched from whole to 2% milk to save pennies a gallon, bumped its spending to $511,079 last year on the personal and home security of CEO Howard Schultz. FedEx, which quit matching employee 401(k) contributions, spent $595,875 on the security of CEO Fred Smith. Walt Disney spent $645,368 for CEO Robert Iger; Occidental Petroleum spent $575,407 for Ray Irani; and McKesson spent $401,706 for John Hammergren.
Be it paranoia or prudence, corporate spending on CEO safekeeping is escalating in the face of painful cutbacks, and not by a little. The median spending on personal and home security for CEOs at the 100 largest publicly traded companies was $65,348 in 2008, up 123% from $29,291 in 2007, according to executive compensation research firm Equilar. Ten companies alone spent a total of $4.6 million on CEO security in 2008, 40% more than the 10 biggest spenders of 2007.
Are such fears legitimate - the money wisely spent with every dollar so scrutinized? Companies say yes in their annual proxy filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, stating that few expenditures are more aligned with the interest of shareholders than safeguarding their corporate leadership. Starbucks says in its proxy that among all perquisites paid to executives, security is "particularly" provided for the company's benefit.
In times of unpopularity, CEOs can be targets. Last month, the Austrian vacation home of Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella was burned, and police suspect animal-rights extremists. That followed July vandalism when his mother's urn was stolen from a cemetery, where the grave of his sister, who died at age 19, also was desecrated and someone added crosses with the names of Vasella and his wife.
"Given several notable incidents of violence towards executives, it doesn't come as a surprise that companies are taking increased measures," Equilar CEO David Chun says.
The movie industry has largely escaped the recession, and John Marshall, CEO of Commonwealth Studios, says any threat now is probably no worse than before. "Still, when I get in the car I hit the button that locks all the doors, all the little things available to me," says Marshall, whose home is gated, with an electronic system to warn of intruders. If the alarm sounds, he and his wife have a planned escape route. At work, Marshall contracts for around-the-clock guards and also pays what he describes as "six figures" for a security consultant.
Tough times, tough security
Dell was the security champ among the Fortune 100, spending $1,164,625 protecting CEO Michael Dell in 2008. "The board believes that Mr. Dell's personal safety and security are of vital importance," says the company proxy. Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn added that it would be more appropriate to look at salaries, bonuses and other perks, and not focus on security alone.
But CEO security is up like no other perk, and it may be no coincidence that increased spending comes at a time when the image of CEOs is so battered that the public gives them approval ratings worse than members of Congress, according to Rasmussen Reports. CEOs have responded to public outrage by more often paying out of their own pockets for country club memberships and personal use of the corporate jet.
But rarely do they pay for their own home alarm systems or other personal-security measures. Also, dollars reported as a perk in the company proxy are often a fraction of what companies really spend keeping CEOs safe. Large companies such as ExxonMobil have in-house security experts on the payroll. "The company already incurs these costs as a business expense," the oil company says in its proxy. Even so, ExxonMobil reported $222,985 on the personal security of CEO Rex Tillerson last year, including $57,513 for a trained driver and $122,182 for residential safeguarding.
Companies have long defended the cost of corporate jets because they fold in a layer of security. Security is also the justification for allowing CEOs and their families to make personal trips aboard company aircraft. That is disclosed as a separate perk and not included in the total for security.
Bad economy, good business
Specific CEO security costs that are reported as a perk are escalating, and Chun says that's due to a perfect storm of layoffs, hostility toward executive pay and outrage over exit packages for CEOs once in charge of companies that had to be bailed out by taxpayers. Rick Wagoner, who resigned as CEO of General Motors in March, received $270,450 in company-paid security in 2008.
"When people become desperate, the threat level is raised," says Joe Russo, former Secret Service agent in charge of protecting President Clinton and now in charge of executive protection for T&M Protection Resources.
Neither threats to CEOs, nor spending to protect them, is new. Threats often rise in bad economic times or during difficult labor negotiations. In 2001, after wireless equipment maker Ericsson cut 17,000 jobs, CEO Kurt Hellstroem received a mailed death threat along with a bullet cartridge, the Associated Press reported.
Companies were not required to disclose amounts less than $50,000 until 2006, and companies reporting that they paid for the personal and home security of CEOs rose from 23% in 2005 to 54% in 2006, according to Equilar. FedEx has reported that spending on Smith will fall 23% to $461,405 in 2009, but most companies won't disclose what they are spending on CEO security in 2009 until the spring proxy season of 2010.
Indications are that spending on CEO security has yet to level off. The $10 billion security industry is not immune to recession and expects no growth in 2009, says Mark Visbal, research director for the Security Industry Association. But companies that specialize in protecting the wealthy are having banner years, including 360 Group International. The company's CEO business is up 50% over the last 12 months, says CEO Bill Kirkpatrick, who figures people get mad and make threats when they lose their jobs and see the CEO "hop a Gulfstream."
An accurate trend in CEO threats can't be ascertained because they are rarely disclosed by companies, sometimes not even to police. Tim McKinney, custom home director for industry giant ADT Security Services, which provides electronic security to nearly 5 million commercial, government and residential customers and more than half of the nation's Fortune 500 companies, says there is chatter in the marketplace about a jump in threats to CEOs, "but we don't have firm figures to substantiate it."
CEOs in the USA have rarely been attacked or kidnapped in recent decades as they have been in places such as Colombia. In those higher-risk areas, security is provided for even those who report to the CEO. Coca-Cola has the home of Latin America President Jose Reyes in Mexico City guarded around the clock.
The price we pay for security
Licensed security guards can be had for $20 an hour, and a typical home electronic security system sold by ADT costs $7,000 to $15,000. But McKinney says ADT installed a $300,000 system for the CEO of an unidentified NFL football team a few years ago, and Provident Security of Vancouver, Canada, recently completed two residential camera systems in the $250,000 range, says company President Michael Jagger.
Kirkpatrick says it's not difficult to envision a $1 million personal-security price tag for a CEO who has a yacht and more than one home that need to be watched around the clock, and who wants a trained bodyguard, known in the industry as a "close protection specialist." Most CEOs can walk down any street without being recognized, but some like their close protection specialists nearby and obvious, like the ones who guard movie stars.
For about $700,000, ADT says, it will install a perimeter command center inside a custom home. From there it can monitor long-range infrared cameras, fence detectors, motion sensors and provide visitor access. It would also detect fire, carbon monoxide and flood.
"Security is one of those things where you can always spend more," says Jagger, who says a big-ticket item is the motion camera system that can detect someone lingering outside a fence for more than a few seconds.
That doesn't mean companies aren't price sensitive in these tough times, Kirkpatrick says. They demand the best security, but balk at inflated prices and do a lot of comparison shopping.
Many CEOs wind up with the security afforded a king but at a fire sale price, Kirkpatrick says.
Published September 8, 2009 · USA Today · Written by Del Jones
Mike Jagger featured on Living Vancouver, on how to thief proof your house.
Broadcast November 18, 2008 · Living Vancouver · Reported by Jaeny Baik
By building his own ULC-listed central station, Mike Jagger hopes to take Provident Security and its guaranteed five-minute response time to the top of the Vancouver security market.
After a 28-year career as a RCMP officer, Garry Appleton knows what he wants from a security alarm provider. "To me, customer service is paramount," says Appleton, now the security manager of the Mark Anthony Group (MAG), a Vancouver, B.C.-based distiller of premium wines and alcoholic beverages, including Mike's Hard Lemonade, with offices, production and distribution centres scattered across North America. "Having the right technology is important too, but when an alarm sounds I need a real person, not a recorded message, to respond - and fast."
So when Appleton went shopping for a total security system to protect the homes of MAG's top executives, as well as the premises of his company's vast production and warehousing facilities, he didn't have to go far. Among those who plugged their prices and high-tech packages was Provident Security & Event Management Corp., a bold upstart in the security industry headquartered in Vancouver's West Side. "I call them mavericks," says Appleton. "They're competitive in every respect, but it's their customer service philosophy that clinched it for me." From his perspective, Provident's difference is its immediate response commitment.
"We're the only company in North America that guarantees response within five minutes of receiving an alarm signal," claims Mike Jagger, the founder of Provident Security, one of the city's fastest growing security companies serving about 4,000 clients. "The way we look at it, we"re in a service industry. We want those customers who feel they aren"t being served by our competitors."
Incorporating Provident in 1996, Jagger began carving out his niche by providing special event security services. "Back then, it was a means to help cover my university tuition," he says. The company was started using a $500 limit on a personal Mastercard and has since grown to more than 160 employees.
"Our goal is to be this region's leading full-service security provider," states Jagger, pointing out that in addition to Provident's current suite of services, including guard services, alarm services, special event/personal protection, alarm installation, monitoring medical emergency panic systems, and video and audio verification systems, the company also recently invested more than $1 million in building a state-of-the-art central monitoring station. "Our ULC-listed station is the keystone component in our customer-first approach and will propel Provident, we believe, to the top of the security market in this city."
The impetus for the massive investment in constructing its own central station, Jagger explains, was (and is) to allow Provident to control every step of its response service. "As we don"t do any "verification calls" upon receipt of an alarm, we must take every second out of the dispatching process. Having our own monitoring station lets us do that."
With a view to meeting and exceeding all ULC requirements, Jagger sought to partner with a specialist in central station design and construction. Through recommendations, Danny Prue, a security industry consultant located in Barrie, Ont., was eventually contracted to the project. Says Jagger, "He helped guide us through the ins and outs of the ULC process, often spending weeks with us here making sure we get off on the right foot. We wanted everyone involved in this project to have a great customer service background." That, he notes, has been critical in putting the Provident stamp on its identity and brand protection. "As well, we required a lot of up-front training to bring our team up to speed with the actual security requirements of the new station," Jagger continues.
To that end, Provident's customer service manager, Dianne Dobbins, attended a training session in Memphis, Tenn., last year to receive her certification as a central station operator trainer. Coupled with ongoing training skills development, Jagger lauds, "Dianne has become a phenomenal central station manager and is leading our team into the future."
For Provident, the biggest hurdle during the construction of its central station was meshing the station's design to both ULC specifications and the City of Vancouver's stringent construction bylaws. "The challenges we faced aren"t unique to monitoring stations," says Prue, highlighting Provident was committed to receiving the ULC listing to provide the company assurance of quality and functionality. "As with any construction project, we were challenged by the need to comply with the City of Vancouver's building code as well as the requirements of the Fire Marshall."
One of the thorniest issues, according to Prue, was that of where to locate the generator, which was compounded by the change in ULC Standard 561 that now requires central stations to install a diesel-powered generator instead of natural gas powered generator, which Provident already purchased and approved by the city.
"The security demands of the ULC codes can run contradictory to the local fire code, particularly where it relates to emergency egress," he adds. "The security vestibules must be designed to manage access as required by ULC while at the same time satisfying the Fire Marshall that emergency egress was possible."
This was achieved through a combination of electronic access control and mechanical egress equipment, Prue explains. "Ongoing consultation with and final approval by the City of Vancouver was a necessary component of receiving an occupancy permit, allowing Provident to realize their goals."
Despite the project's unforeseen and time-consuming complexities, Jagger is jubilant with the result. "We"re perfectly positioned now to deliver on our promise " the fastest, most efficient and reliable alarm response service available to our customers."
Provident facilitates its fast response guarantee by focusing on specific geographic areas, utilizing security personnel patrolling the streets on foot, bicycle and in eye-catching bright yellow marked vehicles. "We"ve married our guard and alarm divisions by having two signals sent when a client's alarm is triggered " one to the guard directly [who are outfitted with GPS, Palm Pilots and radios] and one to the monitoring station " we are never more than five minutes away from our customers," boasts Jagger.
The company's front-line assumes all alarms coming in are real until proven false. If a client causes a false alarm, all they need to do is call Provident and provide the correct password to ensure everything is alright. A Provident value-added service Jagger is particularly proud of is its Vacation Home Watch Program, comprising customized home watches of daily or hourly patrols, picking up newspapers and flyers, altering lighting, moving vehicles, and providing a detailed inspection of a client's home furnace, plumbing and pool systems.
"Our staff can coordinate snow removal, lawn care and a range of other services to keep a home operating 'as usual' in the owner's absence, whether it's for the evening, the weekend or for the rest of the year," he states.
A long-time satisfied Provident customer, Vancouver real estate agent Patricia Lum, is also an avid booster. "I refer all my clients to them," she emphasizes. "And when I"m selling a new house, I write Provident into the buyer's contract as the security provider of choice. From personal experience I know their response pledge is real. When you deal with the best there's really no need to look elsewhere."
Some referral" and one that every security company in Canada would love to have.
Published May 5, 2006 · SP&T News · Written by Jack Kohane
A Provident Security guard was responding to a house alarm when he found a harried homeowner had inadvertently set off the alarm while she was taking an emergency call from her son.
The son was at school and couldn't get his locker open. Music class was about to start; his instrument was in the locker.
Within minutes, the security guard was at the school, taking off the lock with bolt cutters and the student got to class on time.
When Michael Jagger launched his home and business security service offering a five-minute response time, he never imagined the services his security guards would be called on to carry out.
"They are in a panic and they call us,"Jagger said. "It's all customer-driven.
"We tell people, if it's legal we'll do it."
It's not something the company set out to do, but its customers are outsourcing many of their home tasks and it's a value-added service that customers count on.
"We're not a security company, we're a service company in the security business," Jagger said. "Security is one of the things we do and it is what people first talk to us about.
"Once they learn they can trust us and feel confident leaving us with their house keys, people know they can call us."
It's a service mentality built right into training of the company's core values.
"One core value is 'we can do that,' "Jagger said. "Don't tell a customer no, we'll find a way."
One Provident customer turned to the company worried the family dog didn't appear to be worn out after paid-for four-hour hikes on the North Shore with a dog walker.
The company monitored the alarm and found it was being turned off for a mere 10 minutes before being reset during the day while the client was working.
A Provident guard dropped by one day just after the alarm was turned off and found Fido was being turned out in the backyard for a 10-minute pee break before being locked up in the house.
"They were coming home to a hyper dog and saying there is no way you have been up on the North Shore for three hours," said Jagger, whose company blew the whistle on the dog walker, who Jagger would only identify as an individual and not from a dog-walking service.
Clients who are away count on Provident to be their eyes at home -- that's after Provident drives them and their luggage to the airport and makes sure they have fresh milk, eggs and other essentials in the fridge when they arrive home.
"We'll arrange for the dog walkers, we'll arrange for lawn cutters, we'll know when the pool guy is supposed to come and we'll go by to make sure these things are happening," Jagger said.
On one home watch, Provident stopped by just when the gardeners were due.
"The gardeners had been there five minutes and our guy sees a pair of legs sticking out underneath the porch," Jagger said. "The gardener had had a massive heart attack.
"Our guy got an ambulance and did CPR until the fire trucks and the ambulance arrived."
The company will also pick up everything from a suit at the dry cleaners that has to be home in time for a gala event, to errant teens who find themselves out of their depth.
"We had two 16-year-old girls and each told their parents they were going to other girl's house to sleep over," Jagger said. "Instead went to a party, the party starts going badly, they've been drinking, everybody has been drinking, and their friends are drunk, so one calls her dad.
"He had been drinking and he didn't want them going in a cab so he called us. He said, 'I need a guy I can trust to pick up these two drunken 16-year-old girls and bring them home.'
"He felt comfortable calling us," said Jagger, whose company's guards must undergo a criminal record check.
"We just bring the girls home and he can deal with it from there."
Other requests are more routine.
"We've had customers get halfway to Whistler and they're freaking out because they think they've left the iron on, or left the oven on," Jagger said.
"It's only two or three times out of 100 when we get a call like that that something has actually been left on, but it allows people to relax and enjoy their weekend more."
Published March 28, 2008 · The Vancouver Sun · Written by Gillian Shaw
He'll drive you to the airport, water your plants, install a security and fire system, and if an alarm goes off, a guard will be at your house within five minutes, guaranteed.
Did it snow for the first time in two years while you were on vacation? No problem, he'll shovel the walk so it looks like you're home
These are the services(some, like snow removal and gardening, are a la carte) that differentiate Provident Security from its competition, said owner Mike Jagger. "The fewer people who know the house is empty, the better," he said. "We have keys to 80 percent of our clients' homes."
Provident Security is a home security company located here in this urbane corner of the Northwest, Jagger started as a security guard working high school dances to make money while he was in college. That part-time job morphed first into a guard business and then into a full-service security company with close to 200 employees and, "to ensure that verification time, we needed to build our own central station," he said.
Jagger does not release any financial data, but he's amassed 6,000 clients in 11 years and his geographic reach is limited to the West side of Vancouver (he does monitor some of his Vancouver clients second homes).
His employees are pretty happy, too, according to the British Columbia Business Journal, where Provident was number 11 on its list of the 25 best places to work.
Provident Security is a 24-hour business and it's not an easy job responding to other peoples' emergencies, Jagger said, but if they're not consistent they'll be out of business, he said. "Someone can be paying us for five to six years and then at 2:11 p.m. on a Thursday, we have a split second to justify every penny they've ever spent with us," he said. "The motivation of employees has to go beyond the paycheck, they've got to enjoy taking advantage of an opportunity, everyone has to recognize how important the service we provide is."
To be considered for the list, companies in British Columbia must have at least 35 employees, and employees answer 40 to 50 questions on a Web-based survey: The surveys are made available for employers and Jagger has, in turn, given copies of Provident's results to his employees.
The survey identifies where employees think the company is doing a good job (flexible work schedules scored well) and where improvements need to be made.
Jagger said he gave the survey to employees so there'd be "full disclosure ...so we can celebrate where we're doing a great job and also see where we didn't do as well and where we need improvement. We need everyone to take responsibility to make this the best possible place to work," he sad.
Published February 5, 2008 · Security Systems News · Written by Martha Entwistle
Mike Jagger demonstrating some of the security measures that should have been in place to prevent this theft.
Broadcast May 26, 2008 · Global News · Reported by Ted Chernecki
Vancouver's rash of shootings may be poisoning the city's pristine image, but it's not hurting the bottom line of the city's private security companies.
Vancouver-based Provident Security & Event Management Corp., for example, reports that there's an upsurge of business following incidents such as last weekend's shooting of a man outside his Shaughnessy home.
"It definitely has an impact," company president Michael Jagger said in an interview Monday.
Hong Chao "Raymond" Huang was fatally shot shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in front of his house in the 3800-block of Cartier Street.
"This incident on the weekend -- we got more than a dozen calls from people inquiring," said Jagger. "Most of the calls were [from existing customers] about upgrading their residential security systems. But we [also] had a surge in interest from new clients. We got quite a few new customers."
Jagger said his company also garnered publicity because there was a Provident sign in front of the home where Huang was shot, although Huang was not a Provident client.
"We try to take it as a bit of a compliment," added Jagger about the practice of illegally placing security company signs on lawns to make potential thieves think the house is well protected.
Jagger said that, whether true or not, there's a perception crime is increasing in Vancouver. Because of that, more Vancouver residents are installing security systems that can cost from $2,000 to "six figures."
"We have 6,000 [customers] west of Oak Street. Typically, residents pay us $75 a month on top of the one-time fee."
Jagger, whose company employs 160 people, said that Provident has seen significant growth every year since it was created 11 years ago. "Our first year of revenues is now about a day's worth of the payroll. We're looking at 50-per-cent more revenues this year [over 2006]."
He said Provident's main business is in residential security, although they also provide security systems to restaurants and offices.
Meanwhile, Camil Dubuc, Genesis Security's president and CEO, said in an interview that his company also sees increased business after incidents such as Huang's killing.
"We get a few, but it's not a great increase," he said. "Some clients, especially people around the area [of the shooting], call for upgrades.
"But it's incredible how business has gone up in the last 10 years," added Dubuc, whose company has 490 employees. "Last year, we tripled [the number of clients] for our alarm division. There's a lot of growth."
In September, Genesis announced a 200-per-cent expansion of its free community security patrols, to cover an area with more than 63,000 homes in Vancouver's west side.
According to a release, the service involves licensed security guards patrolling around the clock on foot, by bike and using cars equipped with global positioning systems, Internet hookups, and direct connections to Genesis' security centre.
Dubuc rejected concerns that security firms are doing the work of public police forces and that many security guards are unlicensed.
"We're not doing police work. We're just assisting them, being their eyes and ears. And if there's an assault, it's a citizen's right to defend that person."
He also said their guards are all licensed.
A provincial government investigation in 2004 alleged that three-quarters of all the new security guards hired by large B.C. security firms started working without a licence.
Published November 6, 2007 · The Vancouver Sun · Written by Brian Morton
Even though the safe in your home weighs 800 pounds and is large enough to hold a Great Dane, it doesn't mean determined burglars won't steal it.
Mike Jagger, president of Kerrisdale-based Provident Security, knows of at least five large safes or vaults stolen from West Side homes in the past year.
"There were two just a couple of weeks ago," said Jagger. "People find it so shocking how easily vaults are taken out of their homes. They get a false sense of security because the vaults are so big and weigh so much, so they don't bother securing them."
Jagger said homeowners assume that because taking a heavy safe into their home without damaging walls was a difficult job, it would be just as hard to get it out. But Jagger noted safes are typically kept in upstairs rooms, so when enterprising thieves want to remove one, they simply push it to the top of the staircase and let it roll. He's seen stairways severely damaged by such incidents, but none so bad as the aftermath of a burglary he witnessed several years ago when thieves pushed an 800-pound vault down a marble staircase.
"The damage to that staircase was unbelievable," said Jagger.
Jagger said the two most recent safe thefts in Kerrisdale, attended by Provident, are examples of what can happen when vaults aren't secured.
In the first incident thieves smashed through a sliding glass door, went straight to the master bedroom and stole the safe from the closet. The safe was at least 500 pounds and the size of a large dog kennel. The break-in took place between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. Jagger said unfortunately the homeowner had a significant amount of jewelry in the safe. And as with many cases, the safe had never been professionally installed because the homeowner assumed it was far too large and heavy to be stolen. Jagger noted the woman was not a Provident client, but called the company after the break-in.
According to Jagger, the second incident occurred at a home where the alarm system was not armed. The thief gained entry by prying open a basement window and entering the mechanical room where the safe was mounted in a wall. Because of its location in the mechanical room, the safe was in plain sight of anyone who serviced the home's cable, phone, furnace or water tank. Since nothing else was stolen from the home, Jagger assumes the safe was the target of the burglary.
VPD media liaison Const. Tim Fanning said three safes have been reported stolen from the city's West Side since June.
"It's not exactly a rash, but it does happen," said Fanning.
Fanning said it's more common for smaller safes to be stolen, but still not typical.
"Most guys who break into homes grab whatever they can shove in their pockets or a backpack," said Fanning.
Jagger said besides money and jewelry, people tend to keep important documents, such as passports, in their safe because they're usually fireproof. In some cases people keep jewelry, pictures of their jewelry and the attached assessments in the same safe.
"In that case it might be better to spread those valuables around your house," he suggested.
Jagger said once the thieves get the safe away from the home, they have all the time they need to get it open.
"Whether that's prying it open or jamming it open," said Jagger.
"They'll pry the hell out of it or they'll use a torch, but they will get it open," he said.
Jagger advises that the best security measure when buying a safe is to have it professionally installed. An alarm connection, separate from the home alarm and attached to the safe, is also recommended.
Jagger also recommended homeowners "five-minute proof" the things they love most. Most thieves follow a pattern, starting in the master bedroom searching bedside tables for cash and jewelry, then moving to the living room to grab CDs. If they have time, thieves will then typically hit the office looking for computer equipment. Armed with that information, said Jagger, residents can make it more difficult for thieves to get in and out of their home in a hurry. Securing a safe or vault is one step in stalling burglars.
"The best way to secure a safe is bolt it to the floor and have an alarm system installed," he said. "Or keep your real valuables in a safe-deposit box."
Published October 19, 2007 · The Vancouver Courier · Written by Sandra Thomas
This is the time of year when somebody besides Santa could be interested in what goes under your Christmas tree.All that loot wrapped and ready to be picked up represents a bonanza for enterprising thieves who can turn this into a very merry season for themselves and a dismal one for their victims."Break-ins hurt, but people can be hurt even more this week," said Michael Jagger, president of Provident Security and Event Management. "Now is a busy time.Michael Jagger in the alarm monitoring control room at Provident Security and Event Management."Much of property crime is opportunistic and there is no shortage of opportunity now."Police say Christmas shoppers can make it particularly easy for thieves, either by leaving bags full of presents in their cars while they continue to shop or stacking them early under the tree."It certainly can be a lucrative time for criminals," said Const. Tim Fanning of the Vancouver police department. "Houses can be full of brand new gifts such as iPods, cellphones, computers -- all wrapped up and under the tree."Every year we caution people, if you have a bunch of gifts, tuck them away in the house."We appreciate you can't hide the new 50-inch TV, but if you went to Tiffany's and bought that lovely $10,000 ring for your partner, make sure it is tucked away safe and sound until Christmas."Fanning said one of the biggest problems at this time of year is theft from autos."People throw bags into the car and go back into the mall to shop," he said. "If you have to put them in the car, lock them in the trunk and make sure you don't have a trunk release inside that is easily accessible."Fanning said sometimes thieves watch for people putting items in their trunks at the mall, but they usually won't go on a fishing trip through locked trunks."But if you have bags from shops filling the back seat, they are going to be breaking into your car," he said.Fanning said 80 per cent of property crime is directly related to the city's drug problem. Thieves are looking for items they can easily convert into cash for drugs.Even with alarms blaring, they are liable to run through the house, calculating they can grab enough to make it worthwhile before they are interrupted. In the case of some alarms, that interruption could be a long time coming.Provident guarantees its customers, within a certain area limited to Vancouver's west side, that its security personnel will be on their premises within five minutes of an alarm sounding.That means security in the home has to stall would-be thieves for at least that crucial first five minutes."You have to make it five-minute proof," said Jagger. "Ninety-nine per cent of break-ins happen the same way -- they kick in the front door, they use a screwdriver or crowbar and the door frame itself actually snaps."They go straight to the master bedroom, dump out the bedside drawers and check the closet for cash and jewelry."For businesses, Jagger said one of the more common ways to gain entry is through the drywall."They go straight for the servers and take the computer equipment," he said.People usually don't think of bolstering their security until they have a break-in, according to Mitch Verigen, president of the B.C. Association of Security Professionals and owner of Keyhole Locksmith in Langley."We have noticed an increase like we do every year at this time," he said. "We're definitely increasing the strength in a lot of doors and putting in extra security, whether it's plates or deadbolts or what not."Verigen said the focus on such lucrative hauls as copper has put even the wiring in apartments at risk."They break in to steal the copper," he said. Published December 22, 2006 · The Vancouver Sun · Written by Gillian Shaw
All that loot wrapped and ready to be picked up represents a bonanza for enterprising thieves who can turn this into a very merry season for themselves and a dismal one for their victims.
"Break-ins hurt, but people can be hurt even more this week," said Michael Jagger, president of Provident Security and Event Management. "Now is a busy time.
Michael Jagger in the alarm monitoring control room at Provident Security and Event Management.
"Much of property crime is opportunistic and there is no shortage of opportunity now."
Police say Christmas shoppers can make it particularly easy for thieves, either by leaving bags full of presents in their cars while they continue to shop or stacking them early under the tree.
"It certainly can be a lucrative time for criminals," said Const. Tim Fanning of the Vancouver police department. "Houses can be full of brand new gifts such as iPods, cellphones, computers -- all wrapped up and under the tree.
"Every year we caution people, if you have a bunch of gifts, tuck them away in the house.
"We appreciate you can't hide the new 50-inch TV, but if you went to Tiffany's and bought that lovely $10,000 ring for your partner, make sure it is tucked away safe and sound until Christmas."
Fanning said one of the biggest problems at this time of year is theft from autos.
"People throw bags into the car and go back into the mall to shop," he said. "If you have to put them in the car, lock them in the trunk and make sure you don't have a trunk release inside that is easily accessible."
Fanning said sometimes thieves watch for people putting items in their trunks at the mall, but they usually won't go on a fishing trip through locked trunks.
"But if you have bags from shops filling the back seat, they are going to be breaking into your car," he said.
Fanning said 80 per cent of property crime is directly related to the city's drug problem. Thieves are looking for items they can easily convert into cash for drugs.
Even with alarms blaring, they are liable to run through the house, calculating they can grab enough to make it worthwhile before they are interrupted. In the case of some alarms, that interruption could be a long time coming.
Provident guarantees its customers, within a certain area limited to Vancouver's west side, that its security personnel will be on their premises within five minutes of an alarm sounding.
That means security in the home has to stall would-be thieves for at least that crucial first five minutes.
"You have to make it five-minute proof," said Jagger. "Ninety-nine per cent of break-ins happen the same way -- they kick in the front door, they use a screwdriver or crowbar and the door frame itself actually snaps.
"They go straight to the master bedroom, dump out the bedside drawers and check the closet for cash and jewelry."
For businesses, Jagger said one of the more common ways to gain entry is through the drywall.
"They go straight for the servers and take the computer equipment," he said.
People usually don't think of bolstering their security until they have a break-in, according to Mitch Verigen, president of the B.C. Association of Security Professionals and owner of Keyhole Locksmith in Langley.
"We have noticed an increase like we do every year at this time," he said. "We're definitely increasing the strength in a lot of doors and putting in extra security, whether it's plates or deadbolts or what not."
Verigen said the focus on such lucrative hauls as copper has put even the wiring in apartments at risk.
"They break in to steal the copper," he said.
Published December 22, 2006 · The Vancouver Sun · Written by Gillian Shaw
Slipping silently through the front door past curfew, pausing to listen to parents snoring and avoiding the squeaks on the stairs - the tired and true method of sneaking in late.
And one that teens may soon find more difficult.
Big Brother won't be watching, but across the country several alarm vendors are adding features to their systems guaranteed to rat our curfew breakers at every turn.
For example, Damar Security Systems of Sarnia, Ont., will e-mail, phone or page parents every timer their kid walks through the front door.
If the teen is a Ferris Bueller-type known to find loopholes, parents can pay a bit more for the company to install a camera and send a photo that confirms it was in fact their kid punching in before curfew. And that he or she wasn't bringing home a keg of beer and the football team.
Sales manager Dave Lavoie said he sees the package as a great opportunity to really expand Damar's hoe security business. "I think we could have quite a bit of success with this.
"Every parent's lifestyle is so busy, we can't be everywhere and checking in on the kids at all times," he said. "With this, parents can look down at their Palm Pilot wherever they are and boom, they can tell if their child is home safe."
In most cases, teens under surveillance aren't told so they don't start trying to beat the system. But for some, the whole thing smacks of something George Orwell might have dreamed up for his novel 1984.
"In a way it would make me feel violated and bad that my parents don't trust me. I don't want to be watched all the time," said Jenelle Sadowski, 15, just home from school in an affluent Vancouver suburb. "It would be better if parents could just talk to their kids, because most will listen."
Her mom agreed, but said if she had any concerns that her kids were lying to her or falling in with a wild crowd, she wouldn't hesitate to install an invasive security equipment.
"I know they probably wouldn't like it," said Colleen Sadowski. "But if I felt I had to, I would. Unfortunately, that's something I have to do as a parents and it's because I care about their safety."
She said she know her friends, especially those with problem children, would see the alarm system as a tool that could take the worry edge off their lives. And she believes that her daughter is growing up in a world that is far more dangerous that it was when she was a teenager.
"You know, I want my kids to be kids and have a good time and party with their friends like we used to," she said "But today, you decide to have a party when your parents aren't home and with cellphones and pagers the word is spread in minutes."
He son has told her about parties getting out of control and strangers showing up with weapons. One ended with boys outside throwing beer bottles and hitting another kid in the face.
Mike Jagger, president of Vancouver's Provident Security, has seen the same headlines and in them a need for service. He checks up on kids when parents are out of town, does a covert sweep around the house and looks in windows to make sure no rules are being broken.
He said he's seen parties and alerts the parents who then "make a well-timed phone call." And as more of his clients hear about the service that e-mails them when their kids are home, it is becoming increasingly popular.
"Our clients are telling their friends and it's catching on," he said. "One client uses it tons. They have three kids and on is a teenager who's been causing problems and coming home quite late, especially when his parents aren't home, and doing things he isn't supposed to be doing."
So Jagger programmed the alarm system to generate an alert when something's amiss that is faxed, e-mailed or phoned to the parents who then call the house.
The youth's parents keep the high-tech wiring secret, Jagger said.
"They want to give the impression they have eyes in the back of their head."
He said when he was 17, he certainly wouldn't have imagined he would be spying on teens for their parents.
"Things were a lot different then, that's for sure. I don't know what I would have thought of it. But on the other hand, today kids are hiring us to do security at their house parties because they know they can be crashed.
"I think this kind of monitoring can be a real help as long as it's used properly."
Published February 3, 2004 · Times Colonist · Written by Amy Carmichael
It was 2 a.m., the Lower Mainland was locked in a snowstorm and Dwayne Stewart couldn't reach his company's premises In Abbotsford to open the doors to let his snow plough drivers in.
Instead, a staffer at Provident Security's operations centre in Vancouver did the job, opening the door by remote control to let the chilled drivers in.
Michael Jagger's company is among those combating the property crime trend and he is fighting it with a recently opened high-tech operations centre in Kerrisdale. Sophisticated controls allow his security specialists to monitor locked premises -- from the apartment down the street to businesses across the country.
Remote access controls allow Provident to assist in everything from bailing out owners who have forgotten their keys to guiding paramedics through an opened door to reach someone struck down with a heart attack In a 16th floor apartment.
"We can do it whether it is in Toronto or Tallahassee," said Jagger.
In the case of apartment buildings, Jagger said police and paramedics could find their way to help people blocked by secured doors with no one available to open them. And apartment buildings also face the problem of thieves getting keys or garage door openers for unfettered access through secured areas.
"Many buildings have so many keys floating around and no way to manage it," he said. "With our system if a clicker for the garage or a code gets lost, we can take it out right away so no one can use it to get in."
The system can also track who is gaining access and at what time.
Jagger said in most residential towers and commercial buildings the access systems are controlled through an onsite computer with a database that tells the system which access cards or other devices are allowed to open which doors and when.
If someone were to steal the computer with the database, it could contain all the personal information of residents or employees -- and it would leave the system inoperable.
Employees or residents who leave may not always have their access removed promptly and unless the system is regularly backed up, it risks being lost in the event of a harddrive breakdown.
Jagger said Provident removes the on-site computer, replacing it with secure communications equipment that links the commercial or residential site to its operations centre, with the system backed up to withstand any computer failure.
Stewart, who is a partner in Pacific Rim Services, had the system installed at the contracting company and he regularly calls on the Kerrlsdale operations centre to help out with access problems.
"It's especially helpful In bad weather when people are trying to get Into our facility and I can call Provident and say, 'Somebody is standing at the front door, can you let them in.'
"They can hop on a camera and see if there is one guy there, or 16 guys with a truck.
"It has worked out very well for us."
Published December 22, 2006 · The Vancouver Sun · Written by Gillian Shaw
By car, on foot and by bicycle, Provident Security & Event Management is making Vancouver a safer place to live. Michael Jagger has built his company around the simple dictionary definitio of his company name: Provident, having or showing foresight. Unlike traditional alarm establishments, the Vancouver, B.C. based Provident Security & Event Management Corp., began as an event security company and, as Jagger points out, did not start with grand ambitions, but was allowed to grow slowly on its own.
Provident has a different business model because we are not relying on just one factor, notes Jagger when comparing Provident to other companies. Provident is very much based around providing a full suite of services.
All of our business is based on referral business word of mouth, he adds.
According to Jagger, the bulk of Providents business is taking over and expanding existing systems. This business model and working philosophy has resulted in a 3,000 percent increase in business over the past five years.
Jaggers career in the security industry began while studying criminology at SimonFraserUniversity in British Columbia. He gained experience by working as a Special Constable with the RCMP and performing concert security for a local guard company. But Jagger wanted more and instead of pursuing a career in law enforcement, he decided to develop his own company. His first gig was providing security for a high school dance and from this again, through word or mouth he expanded into private house parties and eventually the retail sector.
Utilizing this experience, Jagger entered into a business opportunity perfectly suited for his pro-active, progressive business philosophy and the city in which he lived.
Vancouver is an affluent and diverse city which, unfortunately, in 1997, suffered from a property crime level higher than the national level. It was ready for a different approach to private security. With this in mind, Jaggers attention was drawn to the Kerrisdale Business Improvement Association an upscale, four-block stretch of approximately 150 retail stores situated in the heart of Vancouvers west side. At the time, this area of the city was suffering 16 to 20 burglaries per month, even though it had spent a lot of money on alarm systems and target hardening.
Jagger concluded that alarms were not enough, and with a quantum leap in faith by the Kerrisdale BIA, Provident was hired to start an unarmed bicycle patrol. In concert with the Police, Provident quickly established itself and, in the first month, the Kerrisdale section of Vancouver did not report a single break and enter. Even more impressive, it has only experienced 20 break-ins since 1997.
From this, Provident began receiving additional patrol business, with guards in cars and on bicycles. As the business grew, Provident began turning its attention to commercial clients and launched a five-minute response time policy to attract clients. As it had no control over the calls from monitoring stations, it remained small and independent in order to fulfill this daunting promise.
Eventually, Jagger wanted to expand but felt that in order to maintain his five minute promise, it was not smart to rely on another agency, which he could not control. Instead, Jagger felt that the future for Provident was taking its suite of services to where it was responsible for security 24 hours a day. Provident accomplished this through the purchase of Vytaltek Security, a Vancouver-based alarm company it had worked with in the past. Almost instantly, Provident became a full-service security company; one that is totally independent and able to offer the additional support of an alarm system to its clients.
Provident has married its guard and alarm divisions by having two signals sent when a clients alarm is triggered one to the guard directly and one to the monitoring station. Through the use of bright yellow marked SUVs, outfitted with GPS, PalmPilots and radios, Provident staff are able to respond within that five minute promise.
The industry, in general, assumes that all alarms are false until proven otherwise, says Jagger. By the time it is proven otherwise, it doesnt matter anymore. And thats what these guys who are breaking in regularly have figured out. Everything is built around the five minute guarantee. Absolutely everything that gets in the way we have tried to get rid of.
We really try to train [employees] for a customer service focus, he adds, noting that clients only need to turn the system on and off and Provident does the rest. We are trying to get across to both our customers and our staff that we will do anything whatever the issue is, we will do anything to look after our clients.
Reflecting Providents customer service philosophy, the company offers clients assistance in a variety of ways, from picking up mail to watering plants and checking to ensure the iron was turned off when someone leaves for vacation. Customers know that they can call us and trust us, says Rebecca Bligh, Providents service manager. Our focus is moving into developing a fantastic service department, even better than what we have now.
To achieve this, Provident stresses education. Guards and sales staff are trained in the installation of equipment to ensure that they can perform their duties with a high level of expertise, which allows the guards to interact with the client and alarm technician when minor adjustments to a customers alarm are required. This, of course, not only provides the client direct access to a person for service, but ensures that problems are quickly addressed in a skilled manner.
Bligh believes this allows staff to make quick decisions in order to satisfy the client, which is augmented by the fact that Provident primarily uses products manufactured by two main suppliers: ADEMCO and Hirsch.
We started with a guard company, she adds, and we are hearing more and more that alarm companies are realizing that guard response is the key.
One of the things that makes us unusual is that there are no contractors, adds Jagger. It is all one company. We have made a real effort to empower the guys that are responding. They work hand in hand with the on-call technicians.
From providing personal security for Britney Spears and Elton John to the five minute guarantee of alarm response, Provident is not afraid to tackle a variety of problems within the security field. But maybe even more importantly, it has shown the foresight to utilize a variety of methods to bring total satisfaction to customers via an eclectic mixture of guards, alarms, mobility and technology.
Published November 1, 2003 · SP&T News · Written by Lance Naismith
At a recent Ontario government conference for successful growth companies, a marketing consultant touted the benefits of social media. Recognizing that many business owners are still shy about Twitter and Facebook, he suggested they look at these new channels as a recruiting tool.
Social media let you spark conversations with potential employees and promote your business as a great place to work. When you're satisfied with your results, he said, you can tackle more marketing-oriented conversations.
I found that suggestion sensible, and sensitive to many entrepreneurs' doubts about social media. So I was shocked when some delegates denounced the consultant's proposal. They said people are the most important part of business, and expressed fears that social media will wipe out face-to-face relationships.
The consultant adroitly responded that social media don't replace anything. Blogging, Web video, Twitter and Facebook help you build new relationships, by promoting and sustaining conversations with the growing numbers of customers who don't read your brochures or prefer interactive media.
Still, I was struck by the hostility in the room. You'd expect entrepreneurs to lower their defences when they find a better way to hire. But it's hard to blame them for being suspicious of social media.
The hype has been higher than the payback, successful case studies are rare, and it's tough to know how to get started.
But it's precisely because these new media are in such flux that businesses should be exploring how to win in social media. LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook (oh my!) are growing like Topsy, and companies that don't learn how to use them are digging themselves into a hole.
Looking for a success story? Meet Provident Mike, aka Michael Jagger, founder and CEO of Provident Security in Vancouver. He founded his company in 1996 to provide security services for special events and pay his university tuition.
Today, Provident offers alarm and security-guard services for business, and residential security services -- including a guaranteed "five-minute" response time for homes in Vancouver's west end.
Jagger uses all possible media to promote his company. So he's become an expert at public relations, public speaking, video, blogging and, most recently, Twitter.
He believes in integrated promotion. When asked to make a presentation on security, he has the presentation taped. Edited portions of the speech -- say, talking about new security technology -- may be uploaded to his website and his blog. Then he'll tweet about the videos on Twitter.
A key advantage of social media is that content posted online may remain there forever -- and great content never goes stale.
One day last week, Jagger tweeted about "Disabling a burglar alarm."
Clicking the accompanying link took you to Jagger's 2007 blogpost explaining how a clever thief in Kitsilano had broken into an office and disabled the burglar alarm before roving the office stealing computer parts.
Jagger proves you don't have to be a professional writer to maintain an intriguing blog; he just writes about what he knows, using an even, "just the facts" tone reminiscent of Dragnet.
So that old blogpost is still useful, warning businesses of vulnerabilities in their own offices and proposing innovative solutions, such as radio-based alarm systems, vibration sensors and "look down" motion detectors.
Jagger credits his willingness to share his expertise through social media as a key reason the company has grown consistently and now has more than 100 full-time staff.
Another integrated campaign: Two weeks ago, Jagger read a New York Times article by "Wealth Matters" reporter Paul Sullivan on the failings of home-security systems (e. g., slow police response, and drained alarm batteries that take weeks to replace).
Blogging about that article, he linked to the Times story and noted the situation is worse than Sullivan had suggested.
Then he pointed out that his company solves many of those problems -- through alarms that automatically signal Provident when their batteries are low, or its five-minute response guarantee.
Jagger then cited the benefits of "Five-Minute Proofing" -- installing window blocks, or deadbolts on your bedroom door, to slow thieves down. And he linked to both a previous blogpost and a video he'd made on the subject.
But Jagger didn't stop there. He emailed Sullivan about his blogpost. So when Sullivan wrote a follow-up article a few days later, he devoted one-third of his story to Jagger's "five-minute fixes" and quoted from his blogpost.
Best of all, he mentioned Jagger's response guarantee, giving Provident a huge marketing win for very little effort.
Then of course Jagger Twittered about the whole thing.
Social media don't replace relationships or marketing practices that are working for you. Social media provide new channels for getting your message out.
But before you can reap any of these benefits, you have to lower your natural defensive shields against new tools with silly names.
Published May 17, 2010 · Financial Post · Written by Rick Spence
It would have been a ridiculous job posting: "Security firm seeks person to keep track of paper." But three years ago, such a hiring seemed inevitable for Michael Jagger, CEO of Vancouver-based Provident Security. That's because in the 10 years since starting his one-man security guard operation in 1996, the firm had exploded into a full-service security provider with more than 200 employees and 4,500 customers. In the blink of an eye, it seemed, Jagger was drowning in paper and administrivia when he should have been focusing on business strategies.
"If you don't have control over every aspect of your business when you have a few thousand clients, what will happen when you are 10-or a hundred-times bigger?" asks Jagger. "To replicate the client experience we offered when we started out, we knew we'd need to spend our time and money on customer service, not administration." So, in 2006, he began pulling the plug on his photocopiers, fax machines and printers.
When the "paperless office" buzz first sounded in the mid-1970s, office computers were clunky and the law didn't recognize digitally signed documents. But today, it is possible to run a business sans paper: most offices thrum with network-linked computers loaded with software that lets users create, read, duplicate and distribute digital documents, the latest scanners are modern miracles and the digital signature is ratified. Yet, more than ever, we live in a world that encourages hard-copy proof, proliferated by the rock-bottom prices of printers. In the eyes of most businesses, operating without paper is impossible; but a handful of entrepreneurs are discovering that such a corporate change in today's economic climate is not only possible, it's preferable.
An ever-increasing number of files, reports and invoices meant client services at Provident were suffering because it lacked the resources to perform anything in a timely manner. For example, the company holds thousands of house keys for its clients; every time a security call came in, the key had to be signed out and back in manually.
"The way we were operating," says Jagger, "it was costing us way too much to grow." When he began looking for advice to eliminate paper-based processes, he came up short. He isn't alone. According to a recent study by IDC Canada, a Toronto-based market-intelligence firm, lack of information is the No. 1 barrier for companies on this front.
Still, going paperless isn't rocket science; but old habits die hard. According to a survey by Montreal-based Léger Marketing, Canadian workers print an average of 30 pages of work-related documents a day. What's more, says David Senf, director of infrastructure solutions at IDC Canada, his firm's research has revealed a business culture that's painfully lacking in the incentive and awareness necessary to see the paperless dream through. Despite the fact that 61% of the 844 senior executives surveyed reported they believe "being green is good for business," two out of five concede they're printing a lot more than they were five years ago. While the results reveal an acknowledgement among corporate Canadians of pressing environmental issues, "[most] firms think that the negative impact of environmental changes on their business will be 10 years from now and beyond," Senf says. Before change can be enacted, he adds, businesses need to understand better the fallout from printing all that paper: loss of money and efficiency.
Despite the lack of information, Jagger was determined to turn the paperless concept into a reality, so he hired a consultant to help guide his company through its optimization and waste-reduction processes. Today, Provident's key system is Web-based, with a numerical code assigned to each key on file. Guards' key requests are tracked, and a real-time electronic log accounts for all of the keys' whereabouts. Provident now sends and receives electronic invoices and monthly statements (those few that don't arrive digitally get digitized upon receipt), which allows the firm to track expenses easily. Scanners have taken up residence on employees' desks, the office's filing cabinets have been emptied and the contents carted off by a shredding company, and the photocopier has disappeared. As for marketing and communications? Jagger blogs, Tweets and posts YouTube videos on a remarkably constant basis. And, in a move to establish an "I mean business" tone, he refuses to accept anything on paper unless it absolutely cannot be scanned or e-mailed.
Like Jagger, Michel Jullian, CEO of OCM Manufacturing, an Ottawa-based electronics manufacturer, had aspirations to create a paperless work environment. But it was the pursuit of an ISO 9000 rating in 2000 that motivated him to do so. The registrar reviewed the application and requested changes that required a do-over of half of it. But the information needed was crammed into more than 100 binders, and a do-over was no simple task. "I remember thinking it was a big waste," says Jullian. "I was disgusted."
Jullian encountered a similar dearth of information initially. But the technical requirements, he says, mostly boil down to scanning and storing documents in PDF format. OCM secured Adobe Acrobat software, some projection systems for meeting rooms, a couple of high-end, multi-function scanners and more storage space on its servers to accommodate the digitized documents. "We developed our system internally using one IT person," he says.
Jullian urges CEOs to introduce a paperless revolution in conjunction with other new corporate processes. Piggybacking paperless initiatives on a more comprehensive change, such as an ISO designation, he says, helps minimize resistance. He also suggests identifying a champion to act as the paperless evangelist for the company. "But be prepared to have to remind employees continuously that anything they do with paper, they can do electronically instead," he says.
Today, 90% of OCM is paperless, including its HR, finance, manufacturing, purchasing and marketing departments. But you can't eliminate it all, says Jullian. In manufacturing, work orders are often still paper-based, a condition of the multi-person access required of these documents and the lack of computer stations on the shop floor. And then there are business contacts who insist on sending paper accounting, and who want paper accounting in return.
Indeed, human resistance to eliminating paper is a big hurdle to hop. At OCM, younger employees eased into the new world relatively easily, but baby boomers dug in their heels. "Only people's habits are hindering the world from going paperless," says Jullian. "It's a matter of people accepting the changes, not resisting, as they have in the past. There's plenty of technology to make this happen."
Jullian believes giving staff, suppliers and customers the tools to transform this technology into reality is key. All of OCM's meeting rooms have projection systems with access to the mainframe's databanks, so meeting attendees need not bother with paper, pens or a bottleneck at the photocopier in preparation for a gathering. And most employees have two computer monitors, a move undertaken, says Jullian, in acknowledgement of people's need to compare documents.
Critical, too, is persistence. It's easy to revert to old habits, says Jullian. OCM recruits are indoctrinated aggressively, learning that the filing cabinets they ordered just aren't coming. Jullian has chosen not to exact penalties on slow converts, but never misses an opportunity to remind an employee of his expectations.
The ROI OCM now enjoys since making the change is measured in productivity, which has increased by about 10%. What's more, says Jullian, although the company continues to grow its revenue and customer base, it hasn't had to bring on any additional administrative staff because paper-wrangling is now a thing of the past. "It equates to saving on three full-time equivalents across the company, which is about $100,000 a year."
As for Provident's ROI, Jagger estimates he spent $700 each on a dozen new Fujitsu desktop scanners, $8,000 on servers to host the firm's files and much more than that on consulting and the IT staff necessary to make it happen. But the returns on such an investment, he says, are priceless. The company saves $1,500 a month in postage alone.
"But the most important return by far," he says, "is that it has allowed us to become scaleable. It's forced us to become infinitely better organized, and has given us much tighter control over our information. Now, we can get back to focusing our time and efforts on servicing clients, not chasing down missing files."
Published May 1, 2009 · PROFIT Magazine · Written by By Laura Pratt
A West Side security company is using the Internet to track down graffiti taggers and burglars.
Mike Jagger, owner of Provident Security, said it only took 36 hours to track down a young teen caught on video last week. Jagger said the boy was filmed walking up to the back of the Provident Security building last Thursday night and spraying his tag on a diesel generator. A graffiti tag is the personalized signature or symbol of the writer.
"Because of the generator we have a number of cameras out back, and he walked right up to one," said Jagger. "We had it on tape and published it on our blog, which is powered by [Internet video site] YouTube."
Anyone with information on these suspected burglars, caught on tape, is asked to call 604-664-1087 or 604-717-3434.
Jagger said the video was picked up by other kids who forwarded it to friends and posted it on social networking sites like Facebook. Almost immediately Provident received phone calls and emails from people identifying the boy as a Kerrisdale resident. Just 36 hours after the video was posted, Jagger received a phone call from the boy's father confirming his identity. Jagger said the boy's parents were anxious to have him take responsibility for the vandalism. At the request of the parents Jagger removed the video from Provident's blog and YouTube.
"His parents were on it right away," said Jagger. "And I think the kid is young enough that he really didn't realize what a big deal this was."
Jagger said the graffiti incident was a big deal because Provident had documented examples of the kid's personal tag. When Provident staff find or are notified of graffiti in and around Kerrisdale, they take a picture and note the time and date. That information is filed in a database of local taggers.
"This kid had been doing the same thing for awhile, and we had documented a dozen other tags of his close by," said Jagger. "In Kerrisdale it's not just the tag you did 30 seconds ago you'll be accountable for, but all of the tagging you've done."
Jagger said because the criminal consequences for young graffiti vandals tend to be minimal, the Kerrisdale community tries to tackle the problem with civility. Once a tagger is identified, the youth and his or her parents meet with a team including Jagger, a member of the Kerrisdale Business Association and Const. Ray Gardner of the Kerrisdale, Oakridge, Marpole Community Policing Office.
Gardner said pursuing a criminal mischief charge isn't always the best way to handle young taggers and that the meetings are an opportunity to explain to the parents the seriousness of graffiti vandalism. He noted the city's West Side has become a target for graffiti, which gives the perception of increased criminal activity and troubles seniors and new immigrants who don't understand much of the tagging is done by their neighbour's children.
"We look at things like, has this person been through the system before," he said. "But just because it doesn't go criminal doesn't mean a civil case won't be pursued and the burden of proof for a civil case is less than for a criminal charge."
Gardner agreed the use of video surveillance can be a valuable tool in solving crimes. The VPD, and Jagger, are now trying to identify three burglars caught on a Provident surveillance tape breaking into a Southlands home May 25. Jagger said three homes were broken into in the neighbourhood that same day and the men caught on tape are suspects in each crime. The tape shows one of the men knocking on the door of the home. When no one answers, he returns to a vehicle where his friends are waiting. Wearing gloves, the three men approach the home, and one of the men kicks in the front door.
The video is available at www.providentblog.ca.
Published June 11, 2008 · The Vancouver Courier · Written by Sandra Thomas
Mike Jagger, on Realty Television, talking about how to protect your investment against thieves.
Broadcast August 7, 2007 · CityTV: Realty Television
In July 2001, Shaw TV interviewed Mike Jagger from Provident for a story on summertime burglaries in Vancouver.
May 24, 2008 - Shaw Television
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