swimmingvally

Reasons Why Your Real Estate Needs Swimming Pool Remodeling

To begin with, swimming pool remodeling serves a number of purposes. Shelling out some dimes on such a project is more than it’s worth because it doesn’t need to be done every year. Once done, you can be ensured of a functional pool for a number of years. Thus, the first advantage of swimming pool resurfacing is a great return on investment.

Despite the fact that the decision to go for Westlake Village pool remodeling depends mostly on the requirement, there are other factors too, which need to be taken into purview.

For instance, swimming pool remodeling increases the durability of the pool, which, in the long run, ensures the pool’s longevity.

By now you must be wondering when it becomes necessary to have your swimming pool renovated. The answer to this is whenever the pool floor tiles’ or plaster get damaged.

Swimming-Pool-Resurfacing-Service

Why?

Because when the floor becomes damaged, it can hurt you or your children. Apart from that, damaged floors are also an unsightly sight to behold.

So what changes can be made when resurfacing your swimming pool?

Changing the heating systems is one of the most preferred ones. These days, solar heating systems for pools are ruling the roost. The landscape of the area around the pool can be changed to give the surroundings an air of opulence.

Swimming pool resurfacing can thus serve as a viable alternative for showcasing the change in your lifestyle. This can be achieved by having the pool resurfaced using high-quality stones or tiles.

In the end, it boils down to the question of when should the work of swimming pool resurfacing be done?

The best time for swimming pool resurfacing happens to be in the months of winter. This is because the pool is not used during the winter season. However, if your residence happens to be in an area where it snows or rains a lot during winter time, then it would not be the right time for doing the work of resurfacing. In such a case, summer would be the best choice. This would entail foregoing a few days of swimming in the pool.

However, for getting the best out of your pool and giving it a new look altogether, it wouldn’t harm in sacrificing a few days of your comfort. Isn’t it?

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marketing for fitness businesses

MARKETING, ADVERTISING AND SALES – SEPARATE BUT EQUAL CONTRIBUTORS TO YOUR SUCCESS

To anyone just starting out in business, marketing for fitness businesses or otherwise, the words marketing, advertising and sales all sound synonymous with large expenditures of money for very little return. We just want to get people through the doors, right? Can’t we just have a sales guy up front ready to take the money? And, be honest, raise your hand if you use the three words interchangeably. It’s ok. I used to be one of them.

Many business owners believe they have a killer marketing plan, advertising campaign and sales strategy in place when the opposite is true. When you start allowing marketing people to do sales and sales people to create and upload ads, you can run into serious issues that can impede your growth by a large margin.

Understanding the purpose of each of the disciplines is paramount to your success. So, let’s start with some definitions.

Marketing

marketing for fitness businesses
marketing for fitness businesses

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” – American Marketing Association.

This overarching term refers to what you need to do to create a plan to get your product in front of customers. This includes research into what your consumers want, how they want to receive it, how you will strategically “get the word out” (i.e. which mediums will you use to promote your product) and determining a budget that you will adhere to in spreading the word about your product. And, in fact, the next two pieces – advertising and sales – are planned out in detail under the marketing plan.

Advertising

“Advertising is the paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers.” – About Money

Determined as part of your marketing plan, advertising comprises the actual mediums you chose to utilize to get the word out about your products. Placement mediums include everything from the traditional TV and Radio spots to Pay Per Click options such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Advertising. This is the portion of your plan that costs you money – make sure you have a tried and true plan to spend it or else it’s as good as throwing money down the drain.

Sales

“A sale is the act of selling a product or service in return for money or other compensation. Signaling completion of the prospective stage, it is the beginning of an engagement between customer and vendor or the extension of that engagement.” – Dictionary.com

Sales should be the easiest piece of the puzzle, right? In my experience, it can be the toughest job of all and many gym owners do not have actual processes in place to close the deal. Your Marketing Plan detailed the offer, your Advertising Campaign spread the word, now your Sales Team needs to take over to convince consumers the price is right and they need to jump on it before it’s too late. You must empower your sales team or dedicated trainers who do double duty as sales people to make decisions that allow for slightly different offerings to ensure you gain new customers. 

Separately, marketing, advertising and sales don’t do you any good. Together, they work in unison to target and solidify the ideal customer for your business.

If you’d like to lear exactly how to run powerful marketing campaigns for your business, check out my free webinar “Fitness Marketing Domination” and get registered!

At Profit Marketing Solutions, we have spent countless hours determining the best way to capture your ideal fitness audience for your marketing for fitness businesses and advertising efforts. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you take your gym to the next level.

Source URL: https://pfmarketingsolutions.com/2017/07/10/marketing-advertising-and-sales/

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off grid solar

Solar Growth Is Steadily Rising in Australia Based on Industry Report

Australian Solar Council reported that off-grid solar system kits installations in Australia increased 10% during the second quarter of 2017 compared with Q1.

The total number of STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificates) created was 54% above Clean Energy Regulator targets. It also shows there were more than 16,000 SWH (solar water heater) and 41,500 solar power PV certificates created during the quarter.

It is unknown if the trend will continue, but trading prices of solar rebate certificates have already fallen more than 32% during July in just a week.

The Clean Energy Regulator has taken steps to clamp down on the installation of unapproved panels. A number of STCs up are in breach of the required standards.

off-grid solar
off-grid solar

As outlined in the ‘Clean Energy Australia’ 2016 report, the growth in solar fits with the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) positive predictions for 2017. It also mentioned that household and commercial solar growth is steady, with the fastest-growing sector being commercial solar between 75 and 100 kW.

More than 17% of all electricity generation in Australia during the year are from renewable, which also generally increased in 2016, with small-scale solar PV accounting for 16% of the total.

According to the CEC, the industry outlook is positive for 2017-2020 because of several state governments recognizing its economic opportunities provided by RET (Renewable Energy Target).

There are also the more ambitious state targets, including 100% of energy from renewables in the ACT by 2020, and 50% in Queensland by 2030.

Article Source: https://positive.net.au/solar-growth-is-steadily-rising-in-australia-based-on-industry-report/

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HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL & SCALABLE FITNESS BUSINESS

I’m just going to put this out here: it is downright difficult to compete in the fitness industry these days for digital marketing fitness, let alone set yourself up for long-term financial success. I read a statistic recently that indicated there were nearly 37,000 health clubs/fitness centers in the United States alone. So, how in the world are you going to make sure that what you offer not only brings in enough clients to keep your head above water, but also generates enough revenue that you can rest assured that the lights will come on for another day and you may even be able to take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about for years?

Here are 5 Go-To Methods I recommend to all of my consulting clients to ensure their gym is around longer than it took to build it out:

digital marketing fitness
digital marketing fitness
  1. Adjust your business model to include layers of memberships. There are many gyms out there that exist solely in one niche – one price point, one type of membership. In this current climate, that’s not going to keep you competitive. If you introduce multiple price points, you can cast a wider net to attract more potential clients in different demographic segments.

Start with your basic membership – the lowest price point – these are the people who just want to come in, do their own thing and leave. They will not require too much of your time which is good, because they’re not paying for it. Level that up to your next price point and introduce large group/team training ie: boot camps, yoga, spin – any type of class where you can have one instructor who is giving specific exercises, but in a larger group setting. It’s a little more structured, but still not too much personal attention. Your next level should be a couple of sessions of small group training per week where you cap your group to 4-6 people and each individual gets more attention. That can be bumped up again to include unlimited small group training sessions for a higher price tag. Round out your price list with private one-on-one training for those clients who want a completely individualized program and a lot of attention.  Each level will appeal to a different type of client and require a specific level of interaction in direct relation to the price tag.

  1. You MUST have multiple profit centers – ideally 6-8 sources. This is where many gyms set themselves up for failure. What do I mean by this? Diversify your offerings! Just like with stocks, you do not ever want to put all of your eggs in one basket. What if that basket breaks? Your completely out of luck. Don’t tie all of your potential into one profit center. Explore alternate product offerings such as supplements, sports performance, nutrition, heart rate monitors, specialty programs, saunas, massage/FST, workshops, clinics, seminars…the list is only limited by your own creativity. Whatever you do will not only open up another revenue stream, but will also increase your overall visibility and perceived value in the community, in turn leading to additional potential clients.
  2. If you don’t currently offer Small Group Training (SGT), get that set up immediately. Over the past ten years, private training clients have become fewer and further between. At the same time, the interest in small group training (4-6 clients) has grown exponentially. While my gym tends to attract more private training clients than many across the nation due to its location, I still wanted to figure out how to take advantage of the SGT trend and make it just as lucrative for my gym and it worked out perfectly. Now, they are not only tied to the trainers, the program and the gym itself; they are now tied with the other members in the group. It creates more of a bond.

Let’s use my own numbers at Pulse Fitness for digital marketing fitness. My trainer was already going to set aside an hour of his time for Private Training Client A for $80.  For that same hour of his time, we decided to replace out the single session PT client with a SGT session. I lowered the individual cost of each client to $45 per client and raised the number of clients to 4 in same time slot. I am now bringing in $180 for the same hour with the same coach which is more than 2.5 times the total I collected for the single private training client during the same amount of time. Why wouldn’t you do this?! Not to mention that most of our PT clients only purchase a handful of sessions and then move on. Our SGT clients tend to sign monthly contracts that earn this same hourly rate month after month. Don’t miss out on that piece of the financial pie. 

  1. Do not pay your trainers per head, per session or a percentage. Pay your trainers a flat rate for their time; not for what they’re doing. This does several things for you. First of all, it keeps your employee costs predictable every month. Gym Owners are, as a whole, pretty bad with money. As soon as it comes in, we spend it. This way, there are no surprises when it comes to payroll and you know exactly how much is left over to cover any unexpected expenses. Secondly, it doesn’t matter if your trainer has one client or 30, your costs do not change. You can keep your coaches on a set schedule that is hourly so that no matter what they do, they make the same amount. This puts you in charge of your own gym, your own payroll, your trainers and your own money – not the other way around.
  2. Stop selling sessions! If there is only one thing that you take away from this blog, remember this: stop selling sessions and start selling results. Everyone is different and it takes a different amount of time to reach their goals. There is no way to say that someone can reach their goal in 5 sessions, 10 sessions, or more, especially since these session packages don’t usually expire. One client may come in 5 x week and spend the entire 10-session package by week two; another may come in twice one week and you won’t see their smiling face again for a month! Hence any results they may have expected or you may have promised are impossible to predict.

Additionally, most trainers are not very good sales people as they intrinsically want to help people and feel “bad” asking for money from the same clients time and again. Remove that obstacle and sell people into monthly memberships with x sessions per month instead of x sessions total. Sell them into the long-term results they will get from continuing with a program – lose body fat, increase self-confidence, feel great about themselves, or accomplish the impossible. This way, you’re only selling a client once and you will have recurring monthly EFTs.

Article by: https://pfmarketingsolutions.com/2017/12/04/fitness-business-success/

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GEAR VR

The Samsung GEAR VR

GET GEAR’ED UP FOR AMAZING TECH!

The SAMSUNG GEAR VR – Details Page!

So I’ve found some spec’s and I’m GEAR’ed up to tell you!

As you know the GEAR is Powered By Oculus and the Galaxy Note 4 the “innovator edition” gives you content and enthusiast creators/players and general VR things to do in downtown toronto enthusiasts to get in the virtual world. All powered by a smartphone. Impressive.

Early adopters can enjoy a whole range of new content experiences as well as building their own.

things to do in downtown toronto
things to do in downtown toronto

Spec List

Weight: 379grams

Compatibility: Galaxy Note 4

In The Box: Gear VR headset, carrying case, replacement face foam, lens cloth, 16GB microSD card loaded with starter content, SD card adapter, user manual, warranty statement

96 degree field of view. Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Proximity Sensor. Controls: Touch pad, dedicated back button, focus adjustment wheel, volume keys, phone eject button

Lovely. However only comes in one color.

The UI in the GEAR looks simply AMAZING with a Windows 8 cross PlayStation Network look. Its sleek design allows users to access content with an awesome comb of head movement and touch controls. Available to you is downloadable FRESH content from Oculus, new app’s as well as new experiences from the GEAR innovators edition users.

At a Glance:

-Compatibility: Galaxy Note 4

-Package Contents: Gear VR Innovator’s Edition headset, carrying case, replacement face cushioning, lens cloth, 16GB microSD card loaded with starter content, SD card adapter, user manual, warranty statement

-Controls: Touch pad, dedicated back button, focus adjustment wheel, volume keys, phone lock button

-Download new applications from the Oculus store. Oculus store downloaded at device setup while following on-screen prompts. For more questions on device setup, please reference the inbox user manual.

A few app’s you should know about that are available: Milk VR, Oculus 360 Videos and Oculus Cinema.

Will be honest if your a social junkie MilkVR sounds perfect. 360-degree video 5 days a week with music, sports , action and stories what more can you ask for? It also tracks what’s trending across the VR world to find the best content!

360 Video is an app which will take you to both and virtual environments… So far a helicopter tour and a superhero’s lair, futuristic sports arena and of course a trip back in time currently available and more awesome stuff coming. You should definitely check this out.

Oculus Cinema is basically your own personal cinema. Watch trailers, clips and your own movies in a completely new way. Immerse yourself in the multiple theater environments including; home, multiscreen and even surface of the moon. Seriously if your still reading… Why? WHY AREN’T YOU BUYING THIS??!!

Games.. This unit takes games to a new level. Fully immersive gaming that uses head motion and you WILL feel like your driving that spaceship… This is top-quality gaming. Do not miss out.

To finish is the price… Now this is the kicker, if you’ve read all the above and wasn’t quite sure because you thought Samsung was going to hammer you for price… THINK AGAIN… $200… I repeat $200… $199.99 to be precise but hey who’s arguing! Don’t wait go now get your card use your feet fingers car or chair and buy this and enjoy the FULL benefits of Virtual Reality Experience.

Ok together with a Samsung Note it will be much more expensive, but first, you have an awesome mobile phone and an awesome VR Device. On the other hand, I don’t think that the Oculus or the VIVE will be much cheaper than 600$.

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ProtectiveSurveillance

Hostile Surveillance Detection

The global kidnap industry is booming and no longer is the focus predominantly on Latin America. It is prevalent throughout the world and for a successful kidnap, hostiles will normally conduct some degree of pre-attack intelligence gathering. The early and covert identification of this intelligence gathering by security teams can significantly minimize the risk of kidnap.

To provide a professional security service it is imperative that security teams and the ‘at-risk’ individuals themselves learn how to identify the signs that may precede an attack. By identifying a threat early, and pro-actively working in unison to increase awareness, the risk of a successful kidnap is drastically reduced. The preemptive action and early identification of possible hostile intent allow a security team to remove the client from danger or deter and disrupt the potential attackers.

Scoping for Opportunity

Why would kidnappers put a person or group under protective surveillance Australia prior to an attack? What would the hostile surveillance teams be trying to achieve? Business executives when planning strategy utilizes the SWOT analysis model. This same model can be engineered to help identify what hostile individuals or groups will be looking for.

SWOT Analysis

By identifying a target’s Strengths and Weaknesses, the hostiles will then be able to identify their own Opportunities and Threats. This intelligence-gathering model will help them answer the following questions:

  1. Can we kidnap our target?
  2. How can we kidnap our target?
  3. When could we kidnap our target?
  4. Should we kidnap this target?

Point four identifies that the hostiles may want to carry out the kidnap but realize that it is a hard target and therefore not worth the risk, OR as can be seen in the case study below, they may just adapt their attack and exploit the weaknesses they have identified.

ETS

In March 1978, Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was being driven to work in a two-car motorcade in Rome, accompanied by five bodyguards. His Motorcade was ambushed and eleven members of the Red Brigade terrorist group ambushed him. As the motorcade approached a stop sign a car pulled in front and stopped suddenly. Moro’s car was following too close and struck the car, then Moro’s follow vehicle, also traveling too close, rammed into Moro’s car pinning his vehicle with no chance of immediate escape.

Two men got out of the blocking vehicle and shot with pistols through the front side windows of Moro’s car killing his driver and bodyguard. Concurrently, a second attack element consisting of four men dressed in Air Italia uniforms that were stood on the pavement as if waiting for a bus pulled weapons from their flight bags and proceeded to fire at the remaining bodyguards. A third attack element of two terrorists jumped out from behind bushes (possibly within a car) and pulled Moro from the car and put him into a waiting vehicle. The terrorists then escaped with preplanned and strategically positioned vehicles.

The whole operation lasted no more than 30 seconds, involved eleven terrorists who fired between 80 and 90 rounds and killed five bodyguards. Yet the build-up and preparation were far more detailed and time-consuming.  Through prolonged covert surveillance and potentially a mix of human intelligence sources the terrorists had identified the strengths and weaknesses of Moro and his security team and utilized these to focus on the opportunities and threats.

The terrorists identified a pattern of life and common route that Moro and his team used. They had also noted that the drivers of both his motorcade drove too close to each other and tailgated other vehicles and the Red Brigade planned to exploit that. They also noted that many airline personnel lived in the area of attack so adopted the air uniforms for cover. The terrorists did several other things that would have been gained through intelligence gathering operations. They slashed the tires of the flower vendor whose normal place of work was near the attack site, telephone lines were overloaded during the attack and vehicles were positioned for a getaway.

There are many conspiracy theories surrounding his capture and detention, whatever the true story, fifty-five days after his abduction Aldo Moro was found shot to death in the trunk of a car in Central Rome. It is interesting to note that according to later terrorist declarations, in the months before the kidnapping they had instead envisaged the possibility of kidnapping another leader, Giulio Andreotti. This was abandoned once they deemed that Andreotti’s police protection was too strong.

Sourced from: Just2Seconds: Using Time And Space To Defeat Assassins. 2008, Gavin De Becker, Tom Taylor and Jeff Marquart.

This case study identifies how focused surveillance can be utilized to identify and exploit weaknesses and enable efficient and successful attack planning, even against a defended ‘hard’ target such as a Former Italian Prime Minister.

Intelligence Gathering

Just as the Red Brigade terrorist group did in the case study, hostiles will be trying to gather as much intelligence on the target’s pattern of life as possible, asking themselves the following questions and many more:

  • Is there security, are they aware, are they armed, are they any good?
  • How do they travel and by what means? Do they drive, what do they drive, is it armored?
  • Do they have good travel security in place?
  • What routes do they take to work, events, school? Do they vary routes?  Are they forced to take the same routes?
  • Do they have a family, is there family an easier target?
  • Are they creatures of habit? Is there a pattern forming? If so what is the pattern? What are the weaknesses?
  • Do they have employees, can we use them, can they provide us with information, can we corrupt them?

The hostiles, however, must have the capability to gather this information, it cannot just be plucked from the air. Where intelligence gathering and Protective Surveillance Australia operations come into play, there are always limitations.

Capability and Limitations

The quality and type of hostile surveillance can vary greatly, it may be quick and basic observations by untrained and opportunistic gangs looking for the best time to strike, or it could be professional, criminal organizations carrying out effective and focused intelligence gathering prior to a kidnap or assault.

There are of course a number of potential limitations to a hostile surveillance team, these will affect the quality and capability of the surveillance. Examples of limitations are:

  • Training
  • Capability
  • Resources – Human and Technical
  • Finances
  • Environment

All the above factors will determine how capable a group is of carrying out effective and covert surveillance without detection, whilst still obtaining all the necessary information.

Many terrorist and criminal organizations may not have the technical and practical expertise to carry out a high level of surveillance that is required to defeat good anti and counter surveillance procedure. They may only have one or two people with limited skills and resources to observe their target compared to the ten or twenty that a government team has available.

Numbers do not necessarily mean results though, a team of three well-trained surveillance operatives with time and resources would be able to glean a surprising amount of intelligence, perhaps even within a few days. Specifically, when dealing with high-risk clients it must always be taken into account that a hostile group may in-fact have a good capability and a small professional team with time, patience and resources.

The large range of limiting factors will, however, normally provide the security team a much greater chance of identifying hostile surveillance, but two major factors must be taken into consideration. The first is that terrorist and criminal organizations normally have time and dedication on their side. They can pop in and pop out, they can choose their times and methods, they can also utilize human sources and agents. All the time slowly building up their intelligence picture. The second and most important to acknowledge and understand though is that accurately and covertly identifying surveillance is far from easy.

Skills and Drills

There are two factors that must be taken into account when dealing with hostile surveillance detection:

  1. The skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the person or group carrying out the hostile surveillance.

BUT ALSO…

2. The skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the person or group carrying out the anti and counter surveillance.

Whilst attempting to identify hostile surveillance it is important that tactics are undertaken to a high standard, but also covertly. This is just one of the reasons why intensive training and specialist counter surveillance teams should always be considered, especially for high-risk clientele. Whatever the level of hostile surveillance being conducted, whether it be rudimentary or highly professional it is important that hostile surveillance does not realize that anti and counter-surveillance measures are in place and being utilized. There are two main reasons:

  • If hostile surveillance is unaware of the counter-measures in place they are far more likely to make a mistake, use sloppy tradecraft or become complacent and therefore be identified easier and quicker.
  • If hostile surveillance becomes aware that they have been spotted it can lead to a number of possible actions including, impulsive behavior and an increased risk of action or attack. But, and this is more likely, they may just take a step back to then take two steps forward in the future, with better skills and resources. As we mentioned dedicated and professional teams will spot poor anti and counter surveillance early, they will drop out and only come back when they feel it is safe to do so.

It is clear that a hostile surveillance detection is a vital tool in trying to minimize the risk of kidnap. Those that wish harm on others, especially professional and dedicated terrorist or criminal organizations will strive to gather intelligence on their targets. With this intelligence, they will look to exploit the weaknesses of a target and turn these into opportunities for a successful attack.

Remember, if there is a gap between the skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the hostile surveillance team and those of the security team, one side will falter.

 

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How exciting is a virtual reality experience?

With the advancement in technology, there have been many transformations in the gaming industry. Since the last few years, gaming has reached to a new level. With virtual reality, an artificial environment can be creating into almost anything. With the help of a combination of hardware and software, the user can experience virtual reality near the reality surroundings. The person who interacts with it becomes a part of the artificial environment and can operate or perform operations. VR experience is a hot trend these days.

VR experience
VR experience

There are many VR arcades near you where you can pay some money and rent a VR headset to play a bundle of games. This helps a person enter the computer-generated world with a small amount of fee. The best part of virtual reality experience is that you get the exposure to sounds, sights, and feelings too. It would be an amazing experience for lifetime.

Some of the best types of VR experience:

  • Flying

Have you ever dreamed of flying? Well, VR experience can make this dream come true. With a VR headset, you can fly. Once you put your VR glasses on, you would come across the excitement of flying.

  • Swimming

A VR experience of swimming under the oceans would excite you. How beautiful it would be to see yourself swimming in an ocean witnessing dozens of fish, sharks, and whales? You would definitely feel like you’re underwater along with the sea creatures.

  • Roller Coaster

Even when you are at your home sitting on a couch, you can experience a roller coaster ride. Put your VR headsets on and start feeling the gravity when the roller coaster turns and twists. This virtual reality experience can be a great idea if you are afraid of experiencing a real roller coaster ride.

VR experience
VR experience
  • Skydiving

Skydiving is an adventure sport that is a dream for many people as it is expensive. You can get a headset and experience skydiving. You can fly to high altitudes without digging a hole in your pocket.

  • Fight Zombies

If you are a person who is fascinated about zombies, you can experience a game where you can shoot the zombies in an VR experience. You would love to see them dead in front of you.

If you are bored of video games, you can have a real-time experience with Virtual Reality games. They are surely a cheaper substitute for real-life experiences. It is really fun to be in an exciting environment for some time and the person feels refreshed after it. Even if you want your kids to experience a scuba diving or a paragliding, you can make them do so with the help of a virtual reality experience. If you have kids below the age of 13 years, you must supervise them while they experience virtual reality. No matter what age you may be, you would surely enjoy experience a VR games.

A person would love to enter into a world of virtual reality to experience new things. A VR game can be a refreshing treat for anyone after a long, tiring day at work.

LevelUp Reality can offer an exciting experience to you with the help of Virtual reality. You can book a session or invite your friends for a lifetime VR experience.

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Hostile Surveillance Detection

The global kidnap industry is booming and no longer is the focus predominantly on Latin America. It is prevalent throughout the world and for a successful kidnap, hostiles will normally conduct some degree of pre-attack intelligence gathering. The early and covert identification of this intelligence gathering by security teams can significantly minimize the risk of kidnap.

To provide a professional security service it is imperative that security teams and the ‘at-risk’ individuals themselves learn how to identify the signs that may precede an attack. By identifying a threat early, and pro-actively working in unison to increase awareness, the risk of a successful kidnap is drastically reduced. The preemptive action and early identification of possible hostile intent allow a security team to remove the client from danger or deter and disrupt the potential attackers.

Scoping for Opportunity

Why would kidnappers put a person or group under protective surveillance prior to an attack? What would the hostile surveillance teams be trying to achieve? Business executives when planning strategy utilizes the SWOT analysis model. This same model can be engineered to help identify what hostile individuals or groups will be looking for.

SWOT Analysis

By identifying a target’s Strengths and Weaknesses, the hostiles will then be able to identify their own Opportunities and Threats. This intelligence-gathering model will help them answer the following questions:

  1. Can we kidnap our target?
  2. How can we kidnap our target?
  3. When could we kidnap our target?
  4. Should we kidnap this target?

Point four identifies that the hostiles may want to carry out the kidnap but realize that it is a hard target and therefore not worth the risk, OR as can be seen in the case study below, they may just adapt their attack and exploit the weaknesses they have identified.

In March 1978, Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was being driven to work in a two-car motorcade in Rome, accompanied by five bodyguards. His Motorcade was ambushed and eleven members of the Red Brigade terrorist group ambushed him. As the motorcade approached a stop sign a car pulled in front and stopped suddenly. Moro’s car was following too close and struck the car, then Moro’s follow vehicle, also traveling too close, rammed into Moro’s car pinning his vehicle with no chance of immediate escape.

17320119537

Two men got out of the blocking vehicle and shot with pistols through the front side windows of Moro’s car killing his driver and bodyguard. Concurrently, a second attack element consisting of four men dressed in Air Italia uniforms that were stood on the pavement as if waiting for a bus pulled weapons from their flight bags and proceeded to fire at the remaining bodyguards. A third attack element of two terrorists jumped out from behind bushes (possibly within a car) and pulled Moro from the car and put him into a waiting vehicle. The terrorists then escaped with preplanned and strategically positioned vehicles.

The whole operation lasted no more than 30 seconds, involved eleven terrorists who fired between 80 and 90 rounds and killed five bodyguards. Yet the build-up and preparation were far more detailed and time-consuming.  Through prolonged covert surveillance and potentially a mix of human intelligence sources the terrorists had identified the strengths and weaknesses of Moro and his security team and utilized these to focus on the opportunities and threats.

The terrorists identified a pattern of life and common route that Moro and his team used. They had also noted that the drivers of both his motorcade drove too close to each other and tailgated other vehicles and the Red Brigade planned to exploit that. They also noted that many airline personnel lived in the area of attack so adopted the air uniforms for cover. The terrorists did several other things that would have been gained through intelligence gathering operations. They slashed the tires of the flower vendor whose normal place of work was near the attack site, telephone lines were overloaded during the attack and vehicles were positioned for a getaway.

There are many conspiracy theories surrounding his capture and detention, whatever the true story, fifty-five days after his abduction Aldo Moro was found shot to death in the trunk of a car in Central Rome. It is interesting to note that according to later terrorist declarations, in the months before the kidnapping they had instead envisaged the possibility of kidnapping another leader, Giulio Andreotti. This was abandoned once they deemed that Andreotti’s police protection was too strong.

Sourced from: Just2Seconds: Using Time And Space To Defeat Assassins. 2008, Gavin De Becker, Tom Taylor and Jeff Marquart.

This case study identifies how focused surveillance can be utilized to identify and exploit weaknesses and enable efficient and successful attack planning, even against a defended ‘hard’ target such as a Former Italian Prime Minister.

Intelligence Gathering

Just as the Red Brigade terrorist group did in the case study, hostiles will be trying to gather as much intelligence on the target’s pattern of life as possible, asking themselves the following questions and many more:

  • Is there security, are they aware, are they armed, are they any good?
  • How do they travel and by what means? Do they drive, what do they drive, is it armored?
  • Do they have good travel security in place?
  • What routes do they take to work, events, school? Do they vary routes?  Are they forced to take the same routes?
  • Do they have a family, is there family an easier target?
  • Are they creatures of habit? Is there a pattern forming? If so what is the pattern? What are the weaknesses?
  • Do they have employees, can we use them, can they provide us with information, can we corrupt them?

The hostiles, however, must have the capability to gather this information, it cannot just be plucked from the air. Where intelligence gathering and Protective Surveillance operations come into play, there are always limitations.

Capability and Limitations

The quality and type of hostile surveillance can vary greatly, it may be quick and basic observations by untrained and opportunistic gangs looking for the best time to strike, or it could be professional, criminal organizations carrying out effective and focused intelligence gathering prior to a kidnap or assault.

There are of course a number of potential limitations to a hostile surveillance team, these will affect the quality and capability of the surveillance. Examples of limitations are:

  • Training
  • Capability
  • Resources – Human and Technical
  • Finances
  • Environment

All the above factors will determine how capable a group is of carrying out effective and covert surveillance without detection, whilst still obtaining all the necessary information.

Many terrorist and criminal organizations may not have the technical and practical expertise to carry out a high level of surveillance that is required to defeat good anti and counter surveillance procedure. They may only have one or two people with limited skills and resources to observe their target compared to the ten or twenty that a government team has available.

Numbers do not necessarily mean results though, a team of three well-trained surveillance operatives with time and resources would be able to glean a surprising amount of intelligence, perhaps even within a few days. Specifically, when dealing with high-risk clients it must always be taken into account that a hostile group may in-fact have a good capability and a small professional team with time, patience and resources.

The large range of limiting factors will, however, normally provide the security team a much greater chance of identifying hostile surveillance, but two major factors must be taken into consideration. The first is that terrorist and criminal organizations normally have time and dedication on their side. They can pop in and pop out, they can choose their times and methods, they can also utilize human sources and agents. All the time slowly building up their intelligence picture. The second and most important to acknowledge and understand though is that accurately and covertly identifying surveillance is far from easy.

Skills and Drills

There are two factors that must be taken into account when dealing with hostile surveillance detection:

  1. The skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the person or group carrying out the hostile surveillance.

BUT ALSO…

2. The skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the person or group carrying out the anti and counter surveillance.

Whilst attempting to identify hostile surveillance it is important that tactics are undertaken to a high standard, but also covertly. This is just one of the reasons why intensive training and specialist counter surveillance teams should always be considered, especially for high-risk clientele. Whatever the level of hostile surveillance being conducted, whether it be rudimentary or highly professional it is important that hostile surveillance does not realize that anti and counter-surveillance measures are in place and being utilized. There are two main reasons:

  • If hostile surveillance is unaware of the counter-measures in place they are far more likely to make a mistake, use sloppy tradecraft or become complacent and therefore be identified easier and quicker.
  • If hostile surveillance becomes aware that they have been spotted it can lead to a number of possible actions including, impulsive behavior and an increased risk of action or attack. But, and this is more likely, they may just take a step back to then take two steps forward in the future, with better skills and resources. As we mentioned dedicated and professional teams will spot poor anti and counter surveillance early, they will drop out and only come back when they feel it is safe to do so.

It is clear that a hostile surveillance detection is a vital tool in trying to minimize the risk of kidnap. Those that wish harm on others, especially professional and dedicated terrorist or criminal organizations will strive to gather intelligence on their targets. With this intelligence, they will look to exploit the weaknesses of a target and turn these into opportunities for a successful attack.

Remember, if there is a gap between the skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the hostile surveillance team and those of the security team, one side will falter.

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