Across all divisions of Corps, our aim is to create professional development opportunities for life. Joining the Corps Monitoring team is a chance to build a career in the remote monitoring security sector. From our NSI Gold Cat II accredited alarm receiving centre (ARC) in Glasgow, our team protects people, businesses, and their assets around the country 24/7.
We spoke with Robert Thomson, a member of the Corps Monitoring engineer support team about his career with us so far –
Tell us about your career at Corps so far?
I started working in the Corps Monitoring Centre (CMC) in 2013 as a temp, filling gaps in the rota to cover holidays and absence. Within a few months I moved to a full-time contract as a night shift operator handling the alarms. Here, I learned the security job, working with experienced operators (some ex-military) who had been in the trade for over 15 years. Having no experience in security these nights were valuable to me learning from the experienced operators how to do the job correctly.
When I started a family, I asked to be moved onto dayshift instead of nights. I was trained up by Jamie Brownlee and learned the admin duties in the CMC: how to run reports, deal with faults and liaise with the installers, set up keyholders and alarm handling procedures. Once I was up to speed, I started learning the networking side of security including CCTV systems.
Now, as the shift supervisor, I ensure the smooth running of the CMC leading a four-strong team on a four-on-four-off basis. I work closely with CCTV and alarm system installers, ensuring everything is correctly set up with procedures in place for alarm handling.
Why did you join the Corps Monitoring team?
I started at Corps at 27, I was saving to buy a house and wasn’t earning enough working in the hospitality trade. I knew working at Corps would not only pay better, but it felt like it would be a job for life with multiple opportunities for career development down the line. When I started, there were a range of different paths to choose: sales, IT, or operating. I choose to pursue operating, and I’ve not looked back.
Why is remote monitoring important today and how is it evolving?
Today’s society demands instant information; ‘five minutes ago’ is history. The general public increasingly uses remote monitoring for their private residence, be it a video doorbell or a CCTV camera in the driveway. More than ever, people know about the advances in technology available to them. A decade ago, the demand for this tech was significantly less as far fewer people knew they could lock or unlock doors, turn lights on or off lights, or access audio PA systems remotely. As more people learn about the advances in security tech and the benefits it carries, the appetite is growing.
Sadly, since the 80s terrorism remains a factor too. CEOs are under pressure from governments to keep their organisations secure and not be an easy target. As a security service in a secure location, remote monitoring has an essential role to play here. It’s also an effective deterrent. Criminals will think twice before intruding on a monitored premises – in some cases, even a sign on a gate can deter a criminal.
Remote monitoring is also evolving to meet the demands of safety in the workplace. 20 years ago, corporate premises security was an officer on manual patrols around the premises and filling in a logbook. Today, CCTV can monitor the site and activations can be logged and emailed to the client automatically using CCTV software. Tech has reduced the need for human interaction unless intervention is needed. This saves money while improving the role of the officer too.
How has Corps Monitoring changed in the last 5 years?
Thanks to hard work of our sales team, our client base has grown significantly. In the past, much of our business comprised large workplaces like factories and office building, but we now also monitor many smaller premises and individual residences too.
The cost of security equipment has come down, and with the range of products available, it’s no longer limited to big corporations; and everyone has access to it. CCTV alarm monitoring systems have become easier to install and many engineers that do housework (i.e., fitting lights and sockets) are now adding security installation as a service.
The job has also become more automated. For example, the software we use to monitor CCTV cameras can identify a fault and, if set up, can email the client informing them of the issue without any human interaction. With door access systems, an authorised person needs only to swipe their access card to enter. The information about when they swiped, their onward path and how long for is automatically reported and shared to the client without human interaction. These advances in hardware and software makes operating so much easier, plus the end user benefits from the information in real time.
What’s next for the remote monitoring industry?
With advances in AI, the next step will be integration with security. This is already happening, of course; a CCTV camera can be told to send activations of a DHL van but not an Amazon van. The camera reads the writing on the van and can determine if an alarm activation needs to be actioned. For wildlife, a camera can learn the shape and size of animals on sites and through machine learning can understand what is an animal and what is not. Once the system determines it is an animal, an activation will not be triggered, leading to fewer false alarms. Believe it or not, some criminals will wear bunny ears and a mask to try and fool the system, but the AI is smarter.
In future, security providers may use AI to assess whether premises are properly protected, drawing on local information and current set up to determine where a break-in may occur or detect vulnerabilities that criminals may exploit. We’ll be able use this information to keep premises more secure.
What’s the most exciting aspect of working at Corps?
Catching the bad guys! There’s nothing more rewarding when operating the security systems than being instrumental in seeing an intruder being handcuffed and detained. In my current role, I’m rarely monitoring the CCTV systems when most sites are armed, but I still get the same buzz when my operators tell me they have an incident, and they are liaising with the police and seeing an intruder detained.
Machine learning and AI is also very exciting to see. Cameras are learning from previous activations and adjusting accordingly. It likely won’t be long before we can upload images of criminals to a national database with facial recognition and cameras will pick them up in the street and send the location to a local constabulary to aid in their detainment before they even know they have been spotted.
Corps Monitoring is a division of Corps Security – the UK’s longest running security company. Corps Monitoring offer a range of technology solutions including CCTV Monitoring Services, CCTV Sensor Activated Monitoring, CCTV Live Surveillance, Fire Alarm Monitoring, Intruder Alarm Monitoring, Personal Protection Services, Key Holding, Call Centre Monitoring, Lone Worker Monitoring and more.