More than six million people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) visit one of the country’s shopping malls every week, seeking shelter from the often intense heat to enjoy a bewildering array of shops and all-day family entertainment.
Local ‘Emiratis’ are avid shoppers. Around two-thirds of the population visit a mall weekly, according to market research company YouGov, which amounts to around six million people. More than 10 per cent of the population visit a mall more than five times a week. To satisfy this phenomenon a significant number of malls have been built in the UAE in the past 15 years.
So-called mega-malls offer a vast range of all-age entertainment activities, ranging from fairgrounds, multi-screen cinemas and aquariums, to ski slopes, gaming centres and bowling lanes. A family can quite easily stay in a mall for an entire day and figures show that many do, with a huge range of restaurants and cafes to sustain them.
G4S secures 14 malls in the UAE with the majority in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A priority for the mall owners is to provide an increasingly high standard of security and surveillance to protect shoppers without intruding on the customer experience. In fact, the intention is for shoppers to be largely unaware of the actual scale and scope of a mall’s security operation.
Over the the last 12 months, G4S has introduced the use of its app-based incident management tool for its retail security teams, Secure 360, across the majority of the malls it secures.
G4S UAE Secure Solutions Deputy Managing Director Sunil Saxena said “We work intelligently to understand our customer’s requirements, taking a solution-based approach, which has resulted in us incorporating our cutting-edge technology to help to monitor, evaluate and act to mitigate potential risks.”
“The UAE is a shopper’s paradise with high-end malls, designer retailers and hypermarkets requiring protection. Retail is a key sector for our business and we see plenty of further opportunities.”
With the look and feel of a smartphone, Secure 360 is a handheld security information management device. It provides a real-time link between the on-site security teams and the senior management teams based in G4S’s three command centres in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
The data captured is collected and analysed through a Secure 360 dashboard in each command centre, tracking and monitoring incidents as they happen. This level of central monitoring provides greater scope to manage incidents effectively and as early as possible. Secure 360 is used in conjunction with the monitoring that is provided through CCTV cameras, which can total up to 1600 installations in one of the larger malls.