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The customer base of more than 235 businesses includes a diverse clientele

Big Brother-like security system might save you money

RIDGELAND — When a restaurant was served with a sexual harassment lawsuit, the district manager pulled up a still-store photograph from his laptop computer. Thanks to a new security system that downloads information from security cameras to computers, he was able to provide proof that the lawsuit had no merit. The company saved thousands of dollars in legal fees, hundreds of hours in production downtime and avoided the risk of potential settlement or an unfavorable verdict.

It also sent a message — Big Brother’s always watching, said Everett Flagg, president of Rapid Response in Ridgeland.

“We just started offering the service within the last several weeks,” Flagg said. “It’s been very well received. Almost everyone we contact by phone wants to set up an appointment.”

Rapid Response, established in 1997, is one of few dealers, perhaps the only one in Mississippi, that distributes Microview Security Systems, Flagg said.

Overt and covert cameras that pan, tilt, and zoom, all operated by remote computer, are produced by MSS, which manufactures, designs and installs the protection systems, including remote video transmission hardware and software, closed circuit television systems, and integrated point-of-sale modules especially developed for the hospitality and retail industries. Images can be recorded on hard drive or via VCR.

The customer base of more than 235 businesses includes a diverse clientele such as Chase Manhattan Bank, Houston Power & Light, International House of Pancakes, Hilton Systems, U.S. Naval Academy, Avis Car Rental and the California Department of Transportation, he said.

“The primary reasons people give us for wanting this service is to control and manage business from anywhere in the world, see POS transactions remotely and locally, see and hear activity in their business, increase profits and eliminate losses, increase productivity because employees are being monitored while they work, eliminate employee and vendor theft, improve employee-customer relations, reduce bad checks, reduce the risk of armed robbery, reduce lawsuits, develop new management tools, save on travel expenses for district managers and eliminate blind spots,” Flagg said.

For a remote video with existing cameras, expect to pay approximately $4,350 for a transmitter, software and modem. Remote video with camera and on-site monitoring might cost a little over $8,000. Digital alarm monitoring for multi-unit operations start at less than $20 a month.

“Video monitoring can be tied into the security system,” he said. “If the security alarm trips because someone walks in front of a motion detector, the video monitoring company automatically signs on. Through the camera, the company can see what’s going on, call the police department and describe what’s going on, take a still frame picture and send it to the local police station for immediate identification.”

Monthly charges vary, depending on the requirements, he said.

“Some places might want the video monitoring people to view in every hour on the hour, lock or unlock gates, open or close doors, check photo IDs for drivers,” Flagg said. “A lot of companies like to know someone’s watching their loading docks at night.”

Even though it won’t eliminate the need for security personnel, it may eventually phase some of them out, he said.

“It’s also going to eliminate the need for more personnel, such as district managers,” Flagg said. “Rather than having a district manager travel all day and stay overnight to handle a problem, he or she may be able to handle a problem in 15 minutes. Instead of sending a trainer for cash control, a company rep may watch a cashier’s transactions for 30 minutes and realize the cashier is not counting money back correctly.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.


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