Born Into The Business
Originally publushed by Ralph C. Jensen May 2, 2016, was originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Security Today.
Like father, like son. Michael Riotto may not look old enough to have been in the security business for more than 20 years, but he has. Riotto along with his father, Joseph Riotto and Kenneth Durocher created a new corporation in 1995 that began as Advanced Video Surveillance, Inc. This eventually evolved into AVS Technology.
Like many integrators, AVS specializes in a unique market. Of course they work in the real estate, healthcare, and government industry, but their secret sauce, if you will, is their expertise in securing data centers.
About 10 years ago, based in Totowa, N.J., AVS began working with various data centers. Michael said they enjoy creating security for a large facilities with high tech equipment. When numerous data centers began construction in Richardson, Texas, AVS opened a Texas office, and settled in for the long haul.
“We pride ourselves on the ability to retain commercial and industrial customers,” said Michael Riotto, who is the vice president at AVS. “We felt that to work in this space, we would have to get out of the residential security business 21 years ago. Back then, and I think we were the first, AVS bought bucket trucks so we could be more efficient in installing security equipment.”
Family owned and operated, AVS projects its annual revenue at about $7-8 million annually. They continue to expand to other parts of the country, including Texas and Virginia. Their staff of more than 35 people works cohesively to benefit the company.
While AVS installs analog systems, their real strengths are IP installations. Before an installation leaves the New Jersey office, employees set up it up to ensure that they can support it, that all the pieces are compatible, and everything works as specified.
Not long ago, AVS partnered with AMAG, Schlage and other well-known manufacturers, such as Axis, Vivotek, SightLogix, Bosch and Interlogix, to upgrade the New Jersey Institute of Technology campus security system. NJIT is located in Newark, but is also only 20 minutes from downtown Manhattan, N.Y. AVS has been working at NJIT longer than two decades, so they knew the current security systems and what would have to happen to make the upgrade successful. Rolled out in four phases, the access control function was replaced first. Campus security selected AMAG’s Symmetry Access Control with video and encoders. This automated system works well because it operates in real time, where officers can get the information they need to quickly and accurately respond to situations.
“In a university environment, we know security is critical,” Michael Riotto said. “To accommodate the campus environment, we performed the upgrade installation work during semester and summer breaks, and even over holiday breaks, making it seamless for students who didn’t even realize a security upgrade was occurring.”
NJIT went a step further by upgrading the security systems, photo ID, and parking services to better secure the campus. Michael Riotto’s choice of Symmetry manages the security system, creates badges, and fulfills distribution by assigning card access rights for students, faculty and staff. The system also is responsible for contractor card distribution, security installation, as well as upgrades and training.
Just as technology is changing security needs, the demands for a security director may be coming to a close as well. Joseph said the day of the security director is evolving.
Currently, security is being managed through IT, and the director’s position may be better defined as a security system manager.
“I think everyone knows this, but what we have seen is the IP camera, such as the 180 degree, 360 degree, and high resolution cameras do so much more,” Michael Riotto said. “There is higher resolution and more detail in the images. All the cameras are on the network with a fiber backbone.”
As the integrator, AVS works hand in hand with the end user, and they offer suggestions and advice for the proper equipment for today, and well into the future. Joseph Riotto said they want to offer their customers something they won’t have to change every couple of years.
“Some of our favorite installs include those where the end user wants to be involved; people that we know well,” both Michael Riotto and Joseph Riotto said. “All of us at the AVS office enjoy the challenges of bringing a system together. The challenge makes it all worth it.”
Part of the challenge of installing a security system is providing technical support following the install, but Michael Riotto said he and his staff might enjoy this more than anything. He loves inspiring people to get the most of their security system.
“We take a lot of pride in our staff,” he said. “Our technicians are fiber optic certified, and AVS has teams oriented for certain proficiencies. They are trained to specialize in all of the systems and equipment that AVS installs. We are team oriented and trained.”