Improving Rentability

Industrial real estate holder seeks options to secure properties

Olymbec is the largest, privately owned industrial real estate holder on the East Coast. Managing upwards of 300 properties in Quebec and 15 different States in the US, they own more than 30 million square feet of property.

Managing this much real estate means that Olymbec has to balance a variety of concerns, including providing positive tenant experiences, generating revenue, and protecting assets. Technology plays a key role in the company’s business strategy.

According to Jack Ross, chief technology officer, Olymbec USA & Canada, “In today’s climate, technology reaches into almost every area of commercial real estate.” As a result, he is responsible for everything from building controls and IT to fire safety and security.

As someone with a military background, security is as important to Ross as it is to Olymbec. States Ross, “Olymbec differentiates itself in that we have invested a significant amount of capital in the infrastructure protecting properties and common spaces.” These common spaces include everything used by more than one tenant, like lobbies, elevators, entrances, and hallways and parking garages.

One of the reasons that Olymbec is investing in its security infrastructure is that it improves rentability.

“We find that buildings that have high-end security systems are more rentable. “Tenants are looking for more amenities,” Ross said. “And, if there is a building that has a high-end security system in it, while it is not the sole factor, it is definitely a contributing factor to our rentability.”

MEETING SECURITY CHALLENGES

But, of course, a solid security infrastructure also helps Olymbec meet a variety of security-related challenges in its properties. The company is faced with everything from accidental damage and theft to vandalism and refuse dumping both inside and outside their buildings. Their security system is intended to address these challenges.

Soon after coming to Olymbec, Ross realized that the existing analog-based camera systems were not meeting the company’s needs. According to Ross, “When I started, our properties had old camera systems that were scattered throughout the buildings. I knew we needed a systematic approach that included a variety of camera options and allowed us to view all of our cameras remotely.” Ross began the search for alternatives.

From the outset, Ross knew what he wanted. He says, “We needed a best-of-breed vendor because we were getting into a long and ongoing project.” After looking at a number of different options, the company chose Hanwha Techwin. Some of the contributing factors were the range of products, the modularity of the solutions and the cost, which allows Olymbec to add components easily, and the excellent training and customer support. According to Ross, “Security at Olymbec is very hands-on. All 10 of our security staff are Wisenet Certified, after taking an intensive three-day instructorled course to ensure complete familiarity with our systems.” Olymbec deploys more than 700 Cameras across its Organization

Today, Olymbec has deployed over 700 operational cameras and carries stock for both replacement purposes and new systems. The deployed cameras are connected to either Wisenet WAVE in their larger installations or NVRs in their smaller installations.

“We are very happy with the combination. It gives us the flexibility to install a 5-10 camera system or a 50-70 camera system, depending on the size and specific requirements of the property being secured,” Ross said.

Another important feature is that through their VPN, everyone, from the CTO to security staff and property managers, can access video footage from every one of their 700+ cameras remotely from their phones and tablets. This allows them to view footage from anywhere at any time and gives them the flexibility to react quickly and appropriately when an incident occurs. Hanwha cameras have the capability to trigger alerts and alert security staff, based on a variety of rules such as detecting motion after hours.

With their exceptional image quality, Hanwha cameras help to protect Olymbec against liability claims. This was the case when one of the company’s properties was threatened with a lawsuit when a tenant fell in the lobby. The incident was captured by one of the cameras, and security personnel were able to zoom in on the tenant’s ankle to prove that the company was not at fault.

The company has spent ¾ of a million dollars on equipment from Hanwha to deploy its new security infrastructure. The result is a robust, homogenous environment that makes it easy to manage and add new camera systems to its properties.

MULTI-SENSOR CAMERAS FOR HIGH-QUALITY VIDEO

Olymbec’s approach to security is quite unique. “Generally, our cameras are not monitored 24/7. They are used either as a deterrent or after-the-fact for investigative purposes,” Ross said. This means that the company relies heavily on the quality of the video feed.

To capture the best possible video, Ross decided to go with multi-sensor, multi-directional cameras, which are deployed across the company’s properties. “I’m a big fan of multi-sensor cameras. They allow us to cover a very wide area with just a single device,” he said.

When it comes to deploying cameras, Ross has a number of different strategies. To cover a building, for example, he installs a single multi-sensor dome on a corner instead of four separate cameras. To cover parking lots from tall buildings, he installs a multi-sensor camera on the roof using a goose-neck arm, covering the entire lot with just one device.

SUPPORTING LAW ENFORCEMENT

The multi-sensor cameras also work very well when it comes time to pull footage. This is especially helpful because Olymbec’s security department receives video requests from law enforcement four to five times each month.

This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Security Today.

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