AURA, South Africa’s leading security and medical response marketplace, has appointed Mike Isherwood as non-executive director of operations in the UK. The appointment follows the company’s successful entry into the UK market in 2021.
Isherwood brings with him a wealth of experience in security and policing, having worked in these industries for several years. MIT trained, he currently consults with various businesses in the UK and USA on security, and establishing a presence in the UK market. He is also an advisor to Hull University Business School, and the business group chairman of the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials’, where he works with small businesses looking to innovate and do things differently in the security industry. “I have a passion for disruptive technology and its application within the public safety and security industries, so I am fully invested in assisting AURA cement its service offering throughout the UK,” says Isherwood.
Having worked extensively with the police forces and security companies in the UK, Isherwood is well placed to position AURA in the UK market. “Although the UK’s crime landscape is different to that of South Africa from a personal risk profile perspective, the need for access to safety and security services are essentially the same. The bigger the city, such as London, Manchester or Glasgow, the closer the needs are to the South African security market as a whole. The need for safety and security is the same in every nation; we all deserve the right to feel protected as individuals and operate securely as businesses.”
According to Isherwood, there is a glaring and obvious gap in the relationship between security companies and the police forces in the UK. “Alarm receiving centres (ARCs) that monitor sites are finding it expensive and cumbersome to send people out to verify alarms. The result is that many ARCs are relying on grainy CCTV images and gut feelings before acting on alarm calls. They contact the police, if necessary, but the police have a ‘three-strikes-and-you’re-out’ rule and won’t respond to loosely verified or unverified site alarms at a particular premises more than three times in a row. This leaves a gap that criminals are taking advantage of – a gap that is sure to widen with time.”
The UK is one of the biggest adopters of CCTV remote security monitoring, says Isherwood, and as a result, there are fewer police on patrol. “Private security companies are now picking up what used to be thought of as police work. AURA’s value proposition is exciting as it addresses the gap between police and private security companies and provides an inexpensive way to get a fast response to alarms and make sure people and property are protected. At the same time, it provides security companies with technology to enhance their capabilities and increase revenues while keeping people safe.”
Warren Myers, CEO of AURA, maintains that the key to AURA’s successful global expansion is a thorough understanding of local markets, which is made possible with strategic local hires. “By enlisting people on the ground, we ensure that we are targeting the right end users with the right messages, and avoid wasting time in the wrong areas,” he says. “And the beauty of the AURA app is that it is cloud based and infinitely adaptable to different geographies and conditions.”