Allied Universal CEO Steve Jones

Allied Universal CEO Steve Jones

Allied Universal, the Santa Ana-based security guard giant positioning itself as a tech company, unveiled an artificial intelligence platform designed to improve safety and reduce risk by enhancing on-site guarding services.

Called Heliaus, the system offers an advanced approach to location awareness that uses a combination of GPS, Bluetooth beacons and near-field communications tags to quickly and accurately capture real-time location information both indoors and outdoors.

The AI uses this information to understand what’s likely to happen at a client’s site regarding safety and security incidents and then automatically suggests workflows to security professionals that drive better outcomes, thus reducing accidents and crime.

Heliaus “understands not only what’s likely to happen, but what to do to drive better outcomes,” Allied Universal Chief Executive Steve Jones said.

“We found the efficacy of the predictions to be quite significant,” Chief Information Officer Mark Mullison told the Business Journal, adding that the system works “much faster” than traditional prediction analytics. Allied Universal plans to use Heliaus in combination with its traditional security guards.

“We developed Heliaus to deliver better results for our clients through advanced workflow automation, robust data capture and visualization, and artificial intelligence that understands not only what’s likely to happen, but what to do to drive better outcomes,” Jones said in a statement. “Now, our security officers are better equipped to help reduce incidents, respond faster to emergencies and provide unmatched operational performance accountability.”

Jones has built the security firm from $12 million in annual revenue in 1996 to $7.25 billion currently through a series of acquisitions and organic growth that has boosted its headcount to 210,000. He’s made moves to position the company as tech savvy, such as using robotic guards; last year hiring Chief Financial Officer Drew Vollero, a proven Wall Street veteran whose experience includes a stint as the CFO who took high-tech Snap Inc. public; and in April buying Securadyne Systems, a Dallas-based provider of security systems.

The name Heliaus was created by merging the Greek word helios, or sun, with the Allied Universal acronym AUS.

Heliaus is based on its predecessor called P3, which was developed by U.S. Security Associates (USSA). Allied Universal last year purchased USSA for $1 billion from Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division.

Earlier this year, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada’s second-largest pension fund with $235 billion in assets under management, agreed to buy 40% of Allied, giving the privately owned company a valuation topping $7 billion.

Jones told the Business Journal on June 26 the deal “should close in the next 60 days.”

“In the long term, Allied Universal will most likely be a public company,” Jones said in an email. “The investment from CDPQ allows us to execute on our long-term vision as a private company and determine the right time to take Allied Universal to the market.”

With a current valuation of more than $7 billion, it would rank sixth among publicly traded OC-based companies, topping the $6.7 billion valuation of Irvine’s Alteryx Inc., a maker of data analytics software.