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Why security, phone’s battery life, WiFi now top man’s hierarchy of needs

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Wale Olaoye, GMD/CEO of Halogen Group

Wale Olaoye, GMD/CEO of Halogen Group, in this interview with TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA, x-rays the heightened awareness of Nigerians to security and safety issues and how the Halogen Group is responding to this with the unveiling of six new entities.

As a security expert, how safe are Nigerians?
In risk management, there is what you call the state of alertness, which is decoded by colours. Red is a heightened critical level of alertness. If it is Amber, then it means it is not critical but still crucial and there is a need to be cautious. Next is Yellow, which is relatively a state of small risk and Green, which means everything is calm.

The state of insecurity is not standardized for a general broad area like the whole country. It is segmented into localities, households and business premises. So, to generalize across the length and breadth of Nigeria may not be accurate though it is becoming less assured these days. A few years ago, if you ask about the state of security in Nigeria, the answer you will get is that some parts of the northeast are critical and less critical in other parts of the country save for the occasional car hijacking, kidnapping, and robbery.

Today, if you look at our internal security as a country, what used to be the exception some years back is actually the reality now. Seven months ago, anybody could jump into their vehicles to leave Lagos at 6:00p.m.for Ile-Ife in Osun without thinking twice. The only challenge may be bad roads but if you ask the same person today to embark on the same journey, it would be considered almost a suicide mission. If you paint a risk map of Nigeria, you now have more Red spots than Green spots.

At the unveiling of Halogen Group with the emergence of six operating companies, you noted that the transformation was due to a tweak in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with security, phone’s battery life and data/WiFi now on the top of human needs

Our business takes the notion that human achievement is sacrosanct and at the basic is Maslow’s theory of food, clothing, and shelter before you can talk of the next phase, which is self-development and achievement. That theory will remain with humanity forever but our business has also realized that every human seeks to achieve and we are here to help the human achieve but at the base of that, a man must first be secured before he can have the time to eat. It is the man that feels protected with peace of mind that can put on nice clothes. It is the man who feel secured that can begin to be all he seeks to achieve.

There is a new world order that is determined by technological advancement. Everybody’s life is driven by technology and mobility. Every morning when we wake up, the first thing we do is look at our mobile phones because most people conduct their businesses on their phones. That phone that makes you achieve so many needs to be alive, which is its battery life. Everybody wants the phone to be charged and people go around with chargers and power banks. To make you a connected person to your world, WiFi and data become important before you begin to think of buying food to eat and clothes to wear.

People have begun to excel at what they do through their smartphones and they have become more empowered. Our philosophy is that we are here to enable the achievement of humanity and make you have the peace of mind to excel. That is why our philosophy is live better achieve more. The man should be anxiety-free in order to achieve. We help our clients achieve, forestall threats and reduce anxiety no matter the location and time either to the individual, businesses, government organisations, and government.

Halogen Group is 27 years, how has the journey to becoming the sector’s leader been?
Our business started by circumstance 27 years ago. There was a huge gap than in the market place and we were created to fill that void and set out to be the number one provider of professional security services. We started out by looking for solutions for our business, we could not find the firm that could give us, just 36 human beings security and meet the needs of our executives and the mother company at the time. We then decided to do this ourselves. We combed the world for partners that will establish the global best practices locally.

We began with the private guards, later we set up a training academy, which did not exist anywhere in the country. We sought global partners who helped to build the curriculum. We invested in our own infrastructure. There was no internet then but we were the first private firm to have its own radio VHF link system that connected Lagos to other states of the country. We started to institutionalize background checks as far back as at the time, which was not a norm in the industry. We brought people from the SSS, police and military intelligence to work with us. We tried to set the standards and today it has transformed into the leading firm in security solutions in Nigeria.

Today, we have trained over a million people who have passed through our academy in the last 27 years. Most key managers in companies across the country have passed through Halogen system; from the aviation industry to manufacturing companies. And across Africa, we have our ex-products spread across security management at director levels in many organisations. We have also retained our portfolio of clients many of who have been with us for more than 20 years of consistent service and operations.

All these though have not been without hiccups, but we have learned along the journey to standardize security practice in Nigeria. We were also the first private company in Nigeria to be ISO rated and carry the seal of international quality management as far back as 2007. All these helped us to refine and shape the industry.

What does Halogen’s new philosophy ‘The Power of One’ mean?
In the entire notion of man his safety, anything that a man places value on is important to his wellbeing. The Bible tells me that where a man’s treasure is that is where his heart will be. So for us, if a man doesn’t feel that what he places value on is well secured and protected, he will keep thinking about it and not do other things because that is where his mind will be.

So, we have organized to answer the question of safety for the convenience of each one to go and achieve more. How do you ensure your mobile assets, which are important to you, or intangible assets, or things that are virtual like information stored on your mobile phones, computer systems and network, which can be compromised, or for corporations with static guards, what about the control of access to highly sensitive areas and the risk even cleaners pose to business assets? All these are why Halogen is there, to give you the Halogen insight for clear sight and control even when you are not there.

The entire core of our business is aimed at addressing the entire notion of achievement in our open and volatile world. We have retooled, retrained, brought in new skills and talents, experts across different areas from mathematicians to data scientists, ethical hackers, engineers, specialists in different fields, to answer the question of the need for safety and security for man, business and government that will enable achievement.

What are the six new operating companies under the Halogen Group?
The first one is the oldest one you have always known, the man guarding services. Today that company will now trade as PS Halogen, which is a transformed man guarding service providing you with guards that are smarter and don’t longer work alone. When you see a Halogen guard, he is enabled by technology to first be safe and then secure his perimeter. He is being watched also and is connected to our fusion centreso response that can come to him at the touch of a button. We now have smart guards that are digitally connected to enable safety in the physical domain that they are. They also provide specialist guards for events like concerts, shows and sports activities with bouncers, bodyguards, event identification and scanning system, the safety of the arena, and screening of guests.

The second one is Avert Halogen. Avert is wired to provide telematics electronics and digital surveillance and monitoring solutions for homes, offices, assets and large scale security integration. For instance, if you are at work and you want to know what is going on in your home, bedroom or gate, you can always monitor what goes on and we can always respond at the sight of threat.

The third is Armour X Halogen, which is our cybersecurity. Everything around virtual security needs is provided from information to network and data security. Your CCTV can be hacked, even the cameras on your laptops can be used to track you, that is the depth of the risk out there

The fourth one is Avant Halogen, identity management, risk consulting and resourcing company. It handles everything around identity management, resourcing of personnel for management and background check on staff. That is risk on a human being, from domestic staff to senior managers for firms and we also conduct polygraph tests as part of our processes to aid what we do.

The fifth one is the Armada Halogen. It is a mobile and travel security company. Everything that moves either people or assets from point A to point B is provided remote security, travel risk advisory and travel risk consulting. We are one of the active firms in the northeast because many of the local and foreign NGOs working there to provide humanitarian services are in collaboration with us and the security agencies.

The sixth company is Academy Halogen, the Halogen School of Security Management & Technology. It is the engine room helping to drive capacity for both industries and government. We have alliances with some universities to create new areas of the curriculum in the security space, ethical hacking, electronic and digital security, and capacity building for middle-level management. We are working with Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Babcock University to connect practice with academia. This is to help not just our business but the country at large.


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