The manned guarding sector is witnessing all-time high demand. Tim Mundell, Chief Security Officer, Transguard Group, gives us a low-down on this growing sector.
The UAE’s manned guarding sector has been steadily growing over the past five years. With many leading companies investing in their man/woman guards.
More recently, the security market in the UAE has also become more competitive. Overall, the market is levelling in terms of pricing, with providers now differentiating themselves from others through quality service delivery, the building of strong customer partnerships, and a range of staff welfare initiatives. Key customers in the UAE market understand the importance of the security function in their business and they know that the cheapest security providers are not necessarily always the best when it comes to quality of service delivery and the protection of employees, customers, and assets.
However, that doesn’t mean that manned security is simply limited to a chair in front of the gate. The pandemic has taught us all about how this section of frontline workers evolved into experts who can detect illness, and reinforce and educate people about wearing face masks indoors, all while incorporating technology into their daily life.
REM Times sat down with Transguard Group, one of the UAE’s leading security providers, to learn how this relevant sector continues to grow against the backdrop of changing client perceptions.
Having worked in this industry for more than 27 years, Tim Mundell, Chief Security Officer, Transguard Group says that while the sector itself hasn’t really changed, the big difference is actually the perception of what we expect from our guards. “The pandemic has shown how much we expect out of our guards. However, are we expecting a lesser need for manpower? The answer is no. The fact that Transguard has 17,000 guards says a lot about the market demand,” says Mundell.
Reaching 17,000 guards is a milestone that Transguard is proud of; it is also a reflection of what the market in Dubai is demanding. While a large majority still perceive the guards to be “moral cops” in front of the door, Mundell says that this demographic is certainly more than that, and now it is time to change that perception. As a Tier 1 Security Group, Transguard strongly believes in reinvesting in their guards and giving them holistic training: “We believe that constantly reinvesting in our guards will enable them to progress in their careers. While the role is still the same, they come out armed with more knowledge on using technology and becoming more efficient. Now it is the client who needs to see this value and what it brings to his property,” explains Mundell.
Keen to bring in a fresh approach and innovations to the industry in general, Mundell says that it is important to note, that it all comes down to what the client is willing to pay for; this directly reflects the scope of technology that is integrated into the manned security services.
Of late, the market is filled with innovative solutions for guarding services, such as very high-end, large commercial solutions like biometrics, facial recognition, smart access control, etc. But if the clients don’t see value in it, there is no point in packing those ad hoc features into the services. That’s why Mundell stresses how important it is to understand the needs of the client and then cater to exactly what they need.
“At Transguard, we provide Systems Integration along with our manned guards, as certain properties will need a person to monitor or stand by in case of emergencies. While technology is important, it is even more essential to use it in a way it enhances your services and makes you more efficient. This way, you now have a guard with sensors or a camera on him, which will enable me, as a controller, to witness what he is doing and what’s going on around him,” he explains.
So, are clients able to see the value in having both technology and a guard? While a large majority are yet to see the complete value, there are many clients like airports and banks Banks, etc. who do see it. “The market here is still very much a human one. The mentality to throw more people at a problem is slowly changing to a more dynamic one. A lot of that change depends on how tech-savvy your clients are, as well as the willingness to pay to have technology integrated into your guarding services as these solutions are expensive,” he adds.
The future for the manned guarding industry looks bright. Mundell says that the Middle East is still dependent on the security guarding system. However, he believes that if the industry can collectively invest more in holistic training, the result will be higher standards all around as well as the opportunity for each guard to grow as an individual. “Being guards is not just about stopping the bad man anymore. It is now about crisis management, incident reporting, and a crucial aid in helping building operators. They are another sensor and set of eyes that we ought to use instead of just leaving them standing at the door,” he sums up.