Matt Stevenson – HSM Group Security – CEO Business Marketing Interview 19

Matt Stevenson from HSM Group talks about how new security technology is transforming the security industry in Hawke’s Bay, how this is benefiting business owners and landlords, as well as what you should be doing at home to protect all the things of sentimental value. I also ask Matt what the most secure property in Hawke’s Bay!

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Ryan: This is the Ryan Marketing show and you’re listening to episode 19 of 100. Today I’m with Matt Stevenson from HSM Group in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay. Now Matt, you’ve got a pretty exciting business in security.

Matt: Yeap.

Ryan: Tell us a little bit about it.

Matt: Basically, what we probably, makes us a little bit unique is we offer the one stop shop, so in the security side of things we found this real niche in the market where a lot of the bigger companies like the Chubb and the Armourguards were selling off or breaking down their security divisions. We wanted to be able to offer our customers the one stop shop. So, we do the monitoring, the guard work. We do the fire protection work, the security, access control, CCTV. The full monty. So really much taking that approach with our customers is the buts stops with us, and being able to offer those services under the one roof.

Ryan: So it sounds like from that that your business is really around the commercial or business centric services.

Matt: Yeah, we would say probably about 80% of our business is commercial based and then the others made up of residential.

Ryan: And what’s happening in that space in terms of security, what are some of the things that have, as technology is touching all types of different industries, how is that changing what’s happening in security?

Matt: Yeah, probably in security especially with the commercials more, are health and safety. So a lot of our systems we’re installing these days have integrated health and safety measures. So, a lot of access control systems, that type of thing so we’ll know who’s on site, who’s off site, time and attendance, also obviously if there’s a fire evacuation we can immediately email out those key people that need to know who’s on site. That type of thing, so probably a lot of the product out there is more adapting to the commercial package and offering again that one stop shop.


Ryan: So your business is started in security and moving now into more around business processes, around health and safety. So going more into the business around securing ins and outs, knowing who’s there and who’s not there.

Matt: Even in our guarding division, that’s something that’s really grown in the last 18 months. We’ve got more involved in like supermarkets, in court houses and that type of scenario where they’re contracting a lot of that type of work out. And again it’s having out guards meeting their particular health and safety requirements on that particular site, but also being able to offer a clean service from that point of view.

Ryan: Do you see in, looking way to the future, there’s some conversation in the market place around, automation and robots taking over from people in certain areas, where do you see that mix really changing from guarding now to… or do you think there’s always a place to have..-

Matt: I think there’s always going to be a place, I think the technology is probably a lot more smarter and helps us, managing our staff and giving our customers the right reports and the information. I think the reporting in factor from our point of view and for our customers for who’s on site, off site, information data gathering. We do a lot of live CCTV here, where for schools and business where we can audibly talk to people on site, so our monitoring staff, if they see an unwelcome visitor or a skateboarder or that type of thing they can zoom the camera in, get a good I.D. shot and then if needed we can contact the police immediately or dispatch the guard and let them know exactly where that intruder is, or if it’s just like for some schools, if it’s kids on skateboards that type of thing we can audibly talk to them and say, “hey guys, no skateboard. You know, you in the pink shirt or you in the grey shirt, no skateboard riding here. You gotta move on,” or whatever the case may be.

Ryan: Do they respond to that?

Matt: Yeah, definitely. You obviously get some regulars where we have to dispatch a guard to actually issue a trespass notice, that type of thing but yeah, it works well.


Ryan: So you’re really using technology to help the guards prepare before they actually get to site, so they’re not going there to understand what’s going on. They’re there to then complete something that your head operations have..

Matt: And a lot of our customers as well you know, cameras are great but at the end of the day if you can’t identify the number plate or you can’t identify that individual, all you’re doing is seeing somebody in a balaclava who’s driving a stolen car that’s broke into your business and it’s after the event. So that’s not a lot of help to a lot of people, where if we can actually identify someone coming on site and catch them in the act, or catch them before they actually go that next step, then you know that’s again offering our customers something unique and different that not many people are doing these days.

Ryan: So really, if you’ve got a business that, in that either a commercially sensitive space where you’ve got commercially valuable items or people or things happening, then there’s an opportunity now to prevent bad things happening to those areas rather than just picking up the pieces the next day.

Matt: Absolutely, and I think that’s where security is really starting to grow. We’ve got, like even now for fencing we do also part of what we do, we do electric fencing and preventative fencing as well. And one product we’re looking at getting into in the near future is it’s underground cable. Which will give up to two metres in height, and about similar type distance and width. So it’s invisible. So if someone walks across that invisible barrier, you know then we’re getting the alert back here into the monitoring room. So there’s little things like that that are out there in the market place that aren’t a physical barrier, but obviously an invisible barrier that you’re wanting to arm at 9 o’clock at night of whatever the case may be.

Ryan: Does that help then with that cat and mouse game between those, the badies and the goodies.

Matt: Definitely.

Ryan: You actually know something and they don’t know where that’s buried.

Matt: Yeah exactly, so we know what’s going on and what’s happening. It’s always trying to stay slightly ahead of it, but let’s face it most criminals are young kids, you know. Or people that are usually stoned or whatever the case may be so they’re not the brightest people in the box, and then you obviously get the more professionals ones that make life a little bit difficult for everyone.


Ryan: So for those listening, I’m sure everyone’s seen those CCTV videos either posted to social media and you know, the comments below that that can very quickly identify who that person is, how important is that to the security side of the business? Is that something you recommend or is that something..

Matt: I think it’s got to be a complete package, you’ve got.. we often say to people the first thing you want to get is an alarm. Even residential, because at the end of the day it’s so not much losing your TV set, it’s something of sentimental value or the fact of having somebody in your home, what you really want to do is make sure it works out there on the footpath. Or commercial property you really want to try and make sure it works out there on the footpath so, it’s all about putting deterrents in place, and the more deterrents you have, obviously the less likely you become victim. So I think that’s the key starting there from that point of view, and then you can build on things like CCTV or fence perimeters or that type of thing from that perspective.

Ryan: And where we’re sitting now in this room in Hastings in Hawke’s Bay, does everything come back here? Is this where you then monitor..

Matt: Yeah so we monitor throughout New Zealand, so we’ve got a graded monitoring station. We’re one of only three in New Zealand with our particular grading, which makes us unique and then we have contractors or subcontractors we use out of town for guard response or technical response, but we also have a number of our clients as well that request we do all the technical work as well so we might  have a six month roster or whatever the case where the guys are out of town, servicing product or installing product out of town.


Ryan: And then, now moving on to the marketing side of HSM, what do you do to get your message out there about what you do and why you do it?

Matt: Probably the biggest thing for us is word of mouth, and I think that’s what really makes us unique is people know who we are, what we do and what we offer and that’s probably our biggest strength is being the word of mouth scenario. As you probably notice in Hawke’s Bay, there’s a hell of a lot of stickers and signs around the place and that is our marketing tool.

Ryan: It’s kinda unique right, very few business get to put a big sticker saying “warning, HSM Security monitored”.

Matt: Absolutely, yeah and we often get phone calls, “hey look I’ve seen your sticker on so and so, I’ve seen your sign on so and so, can you come and have a look at what we’re doing?” Our bigger commercial clients that we look after again, I think it’s about networking and having key sales guys that are on board that are actually networking with those clients and let them know what’s happening, what’s going on and what’s new. You know, what’s new is important to.

Ryan: Is there anything you do with your existing customers to educate them on what trends are coming up, or how they could..

Matt: We try hard to get out every six months a newsletter, to be frank, we’re probably about 12 months behind since the last one. We’re just in the process of updating our website as well, and that’s going to integrate a lot better with our newsletter so we can actually post that out. So that’s meant to be launched in the next couple of weeks, our new website, so we’re pretty excited about that.

Ryan: And what’s the website address?



Ryan: Okay, excellent. So it sounds like from the products and services side you’ve really got  a quite compelling offering, and I think in the market place is quite unique being able to put your brand on everyone else’s business, is there any new areas you’re looking to move into that you’ve seen have kind of taken off internationally because of the technology that’s now around, cameras, or around cloud services or fibre.

Matt: Yeah, I’ve just been to, we had a security convention in Los Vegas, in April, so went over here and that was really interesting to see what’s going on. I suppose the biggest thing with cameras and CCTV, you’re probably getting a lot more value for your buck then you used to, five, ten years ago. And you’ve gotta be careful too, cause there’s a lot of cheap stuff out there and when it comes to actually getting the image or getting the recording back and the rest of it can be a little bit challenging. So we always tell a lot of our customers is, “Don’t look so much at the live picture, look at the recording side of things.” Our guards and our fire department, probably our fire department in the last 18 months has really grown, we do a lot of building warrant of fitness’. Which is to do with the council, so basically health check on peoples’ commercial properties. So we do monthly testing, we do fire extinguishers, we do evacuations and all that type of stuff so that’s to do with IQP. So we have three of us that are IQP registered that can sign off a building warrant of fitness.

Ryan: What does the IQP stand for?

Matt: Independent…now you’ve got me.


Independent qualified person, actually. Independent qualified person. Again that was quite useful going overseas because I’ve been able to bring back some product that we use for testing. So for testing smoke detectors and heat detectors that are often in a commercial building can be eight, nine metres high. We’ve got this massive big pole that has the ability to test the heat detectors and also the smoke detectors and also has the ability to replace the detector.

Ryan: Wow.

Matt: So that’s great, it just means we’re not launching around some big massive ladder through a commercial property, we can walk around. So there’s neat little things like that, there’s a lot of those little test monitors and bits and pieces for the techs they use from that point of view, so.

Ryan: So always new technology coming out.

Matt: Yeah, always new stuff coming out, we invest a lot of money back into our guys that are training, last year alone we were close to 20,000 worth of training courses we put our techs through. Again it’s just keeping them up with what’s going on, what’s latest and helping us to when we’re responding to our customers is sending the right technicion who’s got the experience to do the job and that’s always a challenge from that point of view.


Ryan: Now looking at Hawke’s Bay as a region, there was some recent information that was published I think by, a census where they released what areas are kind of crime hot spots. Do you look at that or do you actually know it more in depth from which places are alarming, do you see the same things over and over or is it, you know, kind of random?

Matt: Yeah I think even if you talk to the police a lot of them are done by the same families or you know, the regular faces that are doing the crime activity. I think at the end of the day, it’s a funny thing with residential and with crime. It’s often a bit like, a lot of people do think after the horse has already bolted, so normally unfortunately some one waits to get burgled then they hop on the phone and start installing the burglar alarm. It’s a real challenge to try and change peoples’ mindsets, obviously was a lot more difficult, you know 20 years ago when we got involved in the industry. People would leave windows open, doors open, that type of attitude. So that’s changed, but unfortunately I think in the residential market is, someone’s gotta be burgled or something has happened to somebody to motivate them to make that phone call.

Ryan: Which is tough, cause that’s like having the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, when you really need that fence at the top.


Matt: Absolutely, and you know it’s Grandmas jewellery or it’s memories you know, it’s things like that that people, that’s the sentimental value, that’s the stuff they never get back again and as I said before, people never ever grizzle about losing their TV set. It’s the fact that someone’s been in your home, gone through your private things and it’s those things that they’ve taken that, you know sentimental value. The ironic thing is is the cost of a burglar alarm for a residential home sits around about $900 to $1000 max, and it’s nothing in the scheme of things when you think of the value of what’s inside the house. Then you can add smoke detectors on there for your family, that can be monitored through to us, so and you can put panic alarms if you want to, you can put drive way beams. You can add on to it if you want to, but you know there’s just a lot of options for people.

Ryan: So the basics are, get protected before you need to get protected.

Matt: Yeap.

Ryan: And protect all those memories and maybe, you see very often on Facebook, someone’s posted…just losing their laptop, but the laptops got all the family photos.

Matt: Yeah exactly.

Ryan: And you can’t get those memories back.

Matt: No, it’s a real challenge, yeap.


Ryan: Side question, this is just a personal one that I wanted to ask is, what’s the most secure building or property in Hawke’s Bay? What’s the one that’s got all the bells, and you might not be able to answer this but,

Matt: Yeah, no I couldn’t tell you that. There’s…you’d be amazed. There’s people with some beautiful cars, you get to see… Hawke’s Bay has a wonderful group of mixed people that have done very well on life, and yeah, it’s interesting.

Ryan: So you’re protecting some of the biggest businesses, but also some of the biggest personal collections or, residential properties.

Matt: Absolutely. Yeap.

Ryan: So good insight but I can see, just by the body language, you can’t see here on the interview, but there are some questions that Matt certainly can’t answer here, but it looks like he’s seen a lot.

Matt: Yeah, and Hawke’s Bay is a great place you know, we’ve got a number of staff here now, and a lot of them have come out of Auckland or some of them were brought in from overseas just for the skills. Biggest challenged in Hawke’s Bay is getting skilled staff, and we really struggle with that. I’ve got an ad running for technicians at the moment, we could do with another two out of our ten of nine techs we’ve got on board, and just to get experienced, qualified technicians is very difficult, and we’re trying now to bring them out of Auckland or trying to bring them out of Christchurch, and some we’ve had to bring in from overseas which is obviously very time consuming and a little bit frustrating.

Ryan: Now your last name is Stevenson, is your father Fred?

Matt: Yeap, so Dad is very much involved in the business, and unless the sea is clean he’s always here. He’s very much hands on, so we’re a family business and we like to have mottos throughout how we work and how we operate. We’re both very passionate about the brand, and passionate about what we deliver, cause a lot of our customers are friends, as well. And that makes us unique is the fact that some of our customers, you know, they will ring us on our personal mobiles cause they want a guard organised for tonight or they want this done, or that done, so we’re very hands on. Very hands on.

Ryan: Excellent so even though you’re growing and you’re bringing people in, you’ve still got that personal touch for that. People can contact you directly.

Matt: Absolutely, and that’s really what, I think also again, makes us different us different, you know that we are very hands on, very involved in the business, and we understand we’re looking after people’s businesses’. Which is, everything that’s tied up in that, and also their homes and their property and you’ve got to be very sensitive, and you’ve also got to make sure we will respond well. Our motto is, “Every second counts.” And I think that’s something we work very hard on delivering.

Ryan: Well, it’s been a fascinating insight Matt, into HSM Group, and what you do and the wider picture of what’s happening with security. And some of the ideas and things that you are now implementing, that you’ve learn’t from overseas, so I wish you all the best in the future.

Matt: Great, thanks for your time.

Ryan: Thank you, Matt.

Matt: Cheers.