Reaching To The Clouds
New Jersey-based real estate agency increases safety, security and saves money by installing an integrated cloud-based security solution
- By Lee Pernice
- Mar 01, 2017
Century 21 Action Plus Realty is one of New Jersey’s premiere
real estate agencies, employing more than 250
sales professionals. The company has seven locations
covering Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Mercer
Counties. The agency has built its success on serving
their clients through integrity, professionalism and commitment to
quality service. It also recognizes that buying or selling a home or
property can represent one of life’s biggest decisions and that perspective
clients are looking for a real estate agent that they can trust,
is well versed with the community and keeps their best interest top
For Tom Hogan, president and owner of Century 21 Action Plus
Realty, attracting and retaining the best and the brightest agents in
the business is key to his agency’s future. He goes to great lengths
to support his team of independent sales professionals with the best
resources and on-going training programs.
SECURE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
These programs are designed to enhance his agents’ knowledge of the
latest real estate, industry and financial services available. Hogan also
operates a customer service center where operators handle incoming
calls and quickly and efficiently distribute inquiries to the real estate
agents for prompt follow-up. Most importantly, providing a safe and
secure working environment for his agents and clientele is one of his
Century 21 Action Plus Realty’s locations were secured by an
outdated access control system that had limited capabilities and
was hard to administer, time consuming and costly. Changes to
open and close schedules had to be made from a single, dedicated
computer located in one of the offices. This required an individual
with administrative rights to travel to the site to re-program the
system or lock or unlock doors to accommodate changing business
As with many real estate agencies, Hogan experiences high turnover
of associates and contractors, making it difficult to retrieve issued
access cards, disable them or replace those that were misplaced
or lost. Agents also shared cards, which made securing the premises
even more difficult. Finally, the system did not provide any auditing,
reporting or integration with video capabilities and updates to
the existing software were unavailable, leaving the system exposed to
“The system was not very nimble,” Hogan said. “If we needed to
remotely lock the door during the business week, it was a big process
and could only be done through one stationary computer.”
The current security system could no longer meet the needs of
this growing and prosperous real estate agency.
Looking for a better solution, Hogan engaged Protection 1 to explore
alternate means of securing his operations. He was looking for
the latest in cloud-based access control systems that could be integrated
with advanced IP-video technologies.
Protection 1, working closely with its technology partners Brivo
and Eagle Eye Networks, designed a new comprehensive system that
could deliver the capabilities that Hogan was looking for in a costeffective
The access control system was built on the Brivo OnAir platform.
This platform is cloud-based, eliminating the need for local servers
and software. This approach also eliminates the need for fixed capital
expenses and maintenance costs to maintain an on-site, server-based
system. Brivo OnAir is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. With
SaaS models, software updates and patches are automatically delivered
ensuring the site is secure from the latest threats.
To address Hogan’s concern as it related to administering the old
access control system, Brivo OnAir gives him the ability to remotely
manage and control his physical security at all sites from a secure
connection to any desktop, tablet or smartphone – from anywhere.
The system also provides for real-time alerts of critical events via
email or text and ensures compliance through customized security
reports. These reports are automatically delivered via email on a predetermined
As part of his new security solution, Hogan has also installed approximately
seven new IP-video cameras at each of his location that
are fully integrated with the access control system. With this new capability,
he is able to monitor live video streams or review clips linked
to important events. More importantly, the integration of the access
control and video is a completely cloud based solution, allowing for
total flexibility right down to a specific camera in terms of storing
video in the cloud or on premise. Cameras are placed both inside the
offices to monitor areas like stairwells and outside for a view of the
entrance and parking lots.
The Eagle Eye Cloud VMS also separates the cameras from the
Internet onto an isolated, protected network so they can’t be compromised
or used maliciously. Furthermore, the Eagle Eye Bridges
are actively managed devices, which get firmware updates without
having to send someone on-site. This allows for security patches and
general updates to be deployed in a timely manner.
Century 21 Action Plus Realty has also adopted Brivo Mobile Pass
for credentialing. It allows users to access secure areas through an
application on their mobile devices, eliminating the need for physical
keycards. The application provides a simple process to activate
and deactivate access privileges, is extremely easy to use and requires
no special hardware. It also solves the problems of lost or misplaced
cards and card sharing.
In all locations, Protection 1 has also added several silent panic
buttons and motion detectors that are monitored at Protection 1’s
central station and can be integrated with the video footage. In the
event a panic button is activated, Protection 1 is instructed to dispatch
local law enforcement.
Tom Hogan now has a single, standardized access control system
across all seven of his Century 21 Action Plus offices that help address
safety concerns and improve operational efficiencies. The new
system gives him the ability to view real-time activity logs to better
understand who is coming and going in each of his locations.
The cloud-based system helps minimize on-site hardware requirements
and the associated cost for maintaining them. Door scheduling
for all offices can be done with a few quick clicks and changes can be
made remotely. And a single browser interface controls both the access
control and video systems.
With Mobile Pass, Century 21 Action Plus is able to eliminate the
need to track cards and fobs and has streamlined the process for issuing
and revoking credentials.
The new video solution allows for customized views and remotely
monitors all locations. As an example, one layout allows Hogan to
see all of his parking lots on a single screen whether it’s a desktop,
tablet or mobile phone. This flexibility will assist in such things as
determining if parking lots have been plowed after a snowstorm and
whether an office should be closed for the day or delay opening. It can
also be used to provide documented evidence of potentially fraudulent
activities on his property.
Hogan is now able to monitor his offices to ensure they are fully
staffed particularly as it relates to his customer service operations.
Finally, through the use of the new video system, he has the ability to
provide video escorts for employees and agents who are uncomfortable
entering or leaving the offices alone.
“My new security system did much more at less cost per user,”
Hogan said. “The ability to change when doors are locked on a bad
weather day or to remove a repairman’s access to the building when
a job was complete was the flexibility we needed. The system is very
easy to use and the support is fantastic.”
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Security Today.