The electronic doorman
In the nightclub and entertainment industry, institutional memory is short; frequently, patrons who are thrown out one night get back in the next, with no way to follow up and no way to stop them from creating problems again.
October 27, 2008 By Carolyn Yates
TreoScope Technologies, Inc. hopes to change that. Founder Owen Cameron created the company in 2003 with the goal of
deterring and offering a follow-up for negative incidents in bars and clubs. He realized that goal by collaborating
with law enforcement, privacy professionals and club goers.
The result was EnterSafe, which can process drivers’ licenses and passports from across North
America while simultaneously taking a live photo of the individual and
displaying the results of both on a screen for the patrons’ benefit.
The process lasts roughly a quarter of a second.
“I originally created the product because a friend of mine had her
drink tampered with, and that’s what originally brought me into this
whole business in the first place,” says Owen Cameron, founder and
owner of TreoScope Technologies. “Now you look at how many
drink-tampering cases we’ve worked with and helped with; the number of
warrants we get served, even in a given week… we’ve helped.”
The information stored in the system (and not available to the end
user) can be a tool in police investigations into incidents at venues —
as long as a warrant is produced.
Cameron says Treoscope’s foundation was security, not marketing, and
that that foundation has stayed at the forefront of their development
and policy. Privacy is an obvious concern. Addresses, contact
information, ID numbers and dates of birth are never displayed on the
user interface. The only way to access that information is by producing
a warrant. Additionally, end users cannot print, copy, or manipulate
the information within the system beyond a few non-essential
modifications, such as giving patrons VIP status, banning them or
entering notes. The system also has information retention policies
built in to it—if a patron hasn’t created problems at an establishment,
their information becomes invisible to the end user very quickly.
Visual impact is what gives EnterSafe most of its deterrence power.
TreoScope essentially sells an out-of-the-box system, easy enough to
install that end users could theoretically set it up on their own.
TreoScope also offers a basic installation — but it’s up to the
installers (which Cameron calls “referral partners”) to take the
aesthetics up a notch.
“Obviously you can put four screws in and hope for the best, but some
of our clients want to do it more elaborately — they want to hide the
wires, they want it mounted in the wall, they want a LAN cable brought
through. We’ve had clients build entire wall units for the system, and
we’ve had referral partners offer that service; they come in and they
do a cool set up with the system for the end user. There’s tons of
various options,” says Cameron.
The system augments traditional cameras, which, Cameron says, are less effective as a standalone option.
“Surveillance cameras are incredibly powerful tools. Unfortunately
they’re limited by one major, major flaw: if you don’t know who the
people are in the footage, it’s worthless.”
However, the combination of footage, data and a photo to help pair the
two together creates an effective system. “Now you’ve got tons of
evidence, you’ve got tons of follow up material, and you’ve got a big
bite to your bark,” says Cameron.
The ability to follow up, in combination with deterrence, has given end
users positive results. Some have seen such a reduction in the number
of incidents they have to deal with that their insurance companies have
cut their rates.
“Some of our clients have gotten up to 25 per cent off their insurance premiums,” says Cameron.
While Cameron says that EnterSafe has more than surpassed his
expectations for it, the biggest challenge has been changing the way it
reaches customers. “It’s really our go-to-market strategies which are
continually evolving and growing so we can continually evolve as a
company ourselves. That’s been our biggest challenge.”
The system is currently used primarily by nightclubs and restaurants, but it has the potential to expand into other industries.
“We’ve created the foundation for a company that can go down a lot of
different verticals, including working with lotteries and casinos,
working with liquor boards and things like that to establish a baseline
of what’s expected from anything that’s serving an age restricted
Carolyn Yates is a Montreal-based freelance writer.
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