How a RAD ROSA System Reshaped an HOA Community’s Security
Westside Manor, an ungated, middle-class community in San Jose, California had a problem with daytime break-ins and trespassing. Adjacent to a high school and an expressway, much of the neighborhood’s foot traffic was from non-residents, including San Jose’s significant homeless population. When homeowners were at work, robberies occurred frequently. Doorbells with video cameras were proving ineffective at deterring the criminals, as were sporadic patrols by contracted securing guarding services and the San Jose Police Department.
The Westside Manor Homeowners Association works with Grayson Community Management (Grayson) to handle vendor services like security and preventative maintenance. Francisco Martinez III, Grayson’s Senior Community Manager assigned to Westside, explains, “We knew we needed to do something, but budgets were a limiting factor. We didn’t have the funds for a dedicated full-time patrol, and because the community is older, it’s only wired for electricity. We assumed that meant we couldn’t easily deploy a video surveillance network. Besides, we weren’t convinced that cameras alone would make much of a difference in stopping the break-ins.” A statistical study published by New York University supports this belief. 
A RAD-ical Proposition
Martinez met with EPIC Security Works (EPIC), a high-end residential and commercial guarding services company based in the San Francisco Bay area. Justin Frazer, Director of Systems at EPIC, recalls discussing Martinez’ challenges and asking, “Does your guard need to be a person?”
Frazer had recently been introduced to Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD) autonomous, artificial intelligence (AI)-based security and safety solutions, which deliver surprisingly affordable and effective 24/7 virtual guarding. The RAD systems do so via turnkey hardware and software that leverages powerful AI analytics to detect suspicious situations or behaviors, attention-grabbing lights, powerful audio and visual messaging. RAD devices transmit video and data via enhanced cellular to a proprietary cloud platform that enables security personal and property managers to monitor and manage a site’s security from anywhere.
Frazer proposed deploying nine RAD ROSA devices (Responsive Observation Security Agent) at strategic locations where break-ins were most prevalent. The system would provide coverage of streets and perimeter areas where pedestrians or vehicles must pass to reach the vulnerable areas of the Westside Manor neighborhood. Frazer gave Martinez an online demonstration of the system. “I’m a child of the ’80s and a science fiction buff. The ROSA units reminded me of the movie Demolition Man. I was definitely intrigued. It seemed like this could solve our problems in a way that neither I nor the community had previously imagined.”
Martinez gave a presentation of EPIC’s proposed RAD solution to the HOA’s elected five-member board. Impressed with its capabilities, pricing, and testimonials from satisfied RAD customers, they scheduled a community-wide open meeting to present the solution to all residents.
At that event, Frazer educated homeowners on how the system works and conducted a live Q&A. He assured all residents that the system would be deployed and monitored in a way that would respect their privacy. No cameras would face the doors or windows of individual homes, and a professional, contracted service, Phoenix, Arizona-based Centralized Vision, would perform camera monitoring. Residents would not have permission to view any video themselves. However, they could request that clips be released to law enforcement when investigating incidents.
EPIC and RAD deployed the ROSA units at Westside Manor in October, 2022. Most are positioned on poles about 9-10 feet up; a few are wall-mounted. They can detect activity up to 400 feet away. “When you’re driving down the street, you see these things lit up. They’re very hard to miss,” says Frazer. “If any of the devices see something peculiar, they trigger an alert and Centralized Vision operators take a look at what’s happening in real time. Based upon the situation, they can contact local law enforcement or use the device to ‘talk-down’ live to the suspected perpetrator.” There hasn’t been a single break-in in the ten months since the system went live.
“People coming into the property who are up to no good stop, stare at it, and think, ‘What is THAT?’ The devices deflect trouble before it occurs,” says Martinez.
Furthermore, the multiple ROSA system encourages residents to report any suspicious or troublesome incidents they observe immediately. LED lighting on each unit displays a direct phone number to reach Centralized Vision. Operators there can call up live and recorded video to investigate the situation and be on the lookout for similar events in the future.
RAD’s resounding success has expanded opportunities for EPIC to support Westside Manor. The HOA board will soon vote on a proposal to provide coverage of additional areas experiencing some issues. Martinez, Frazer, and Rich Flanagan, Executive Vice President at Centralized Vision, are also collaborating on ways to leverage ROSA’s automated response capabilities.
Currently, the units at Westside Manor detect suspicious events, but all intervention and response involve remote human operators. The units could be doing more, as ROSA’s integrated lights, scrolling LED messaging, and speakers can provide warnings or assistance autonomously based on perceived triggers. For example, the units could alert drivers if they have parked illegally or remind children using the community pool that they must have a supervising adult present. Pre-programmed messaging could also offer advance notice about scheduled roadwork or information about upcoming HOA events.
Frazer explains, “So far, we haven’t set up any automation because this is such an active community. We don’t want the devices going off at all hours of the day.” However, Martinez expresses optimism that there may be a larger role for ROSA’s autonomous response capabilities in the near future.
The ROSAs already make significant use of artificial intelligence. Flanagan says, “With the advancements of AI and analytics, we can finally rely on data from these systems to drive efficiencies. Our employees provide professional and reliable monitoring services while they trust the RAD technology to identify events or situations that require analysis and possible intervention. We’ve essentially eliminated false alarms associated with legacy camera systems.”
The Westside Manor installation has led to positive changes beyond the community.
Martinez is so impressed with RAD’s effectiveness and affordability that he has recommended to Grayson Community Management that the solution be deployed at other properties across the company’s portfolio. “The challenges facing Westside Manor are common to many HOA-managed communities. RAD can provide tremendous value to residential communities, improving security and the overall homeowner experience,” he says.
EPIC believes in the technology so much that the principals are creating a new company that’s stepping away from staffing people and will focus solely on selling RAD systems. “This solution allows us to expand our services beyond the one-hour driving radius of our office. We can sell to customers anywhere in the country. RAD is a tremendous partner, performing much of the heavy lifting during installations, while Centralized Vision solves the monitoring piece of the equation. We see incredible potential in this business model.”
Recognizing the power of RAD’s solutions and the unparalleled performance and cost-saving results of their ROSA deployments, EPIC has created a new company, TARS Solutions, with a mission of focusing on providing these advanced security and safety solutions to clients across the nation.
Centralized Vision concurs. “We’ve known that RAD was going to be a real market disrupter,” says Flanagan. “As they’ve continued to grow, we have supported them as they work with security guard companies. Most of RAD’s “dealers” aren’t dealers in the traditional sense. They are guard service companies, like EPIC, that don’t sell surveillance solutions or monitoring services. That’s where we come in.
“As the folks at RAD understand so well, the two most important factors when creating a ‘security-in-a-box’ solution for virtual monitoring are 1) the ability to rely on data, and 2) an audio component. The audio is so important because it allows us to have an immediate impact on an environment and a situation that may be developing. The autonomous audio response can happen faster than the human eye can react. Then, when we receive an alert and see what’s happening live, our officers can communicate with those on site, letting them know they’re under surveillance and provide instructions to leave, or stop doing whatever they’re doing.”
“With the efficiencies delivered by RAD combined with the visual and audio deterrent it creates, we can perform the same duties as onsite officers for a fraction of the cost. Customers who could never afford security guard services in the past now can. And, security companies can expand their businesses and operate more profitably. Everyone wins.”