Interview with Tony Bygraves: Chief Executive of MRFS

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Tony Bygraves is Chief Executive of MRFS who are regarded as one of the leading integration companies in the field of audio visual, fire and security systems.

MRFS supplied and installed new audio visual, fire and security systems for the Corinthia spa within the Corinthia Hotel. This was a huge project and one that was very successful in creating an uber luxury hotel, have you found that this has raised your profile amongst clients?

The works we carried out in the spa embodies some of the best products on the market. The installation is totally discreet for the spa users thus providing a very relaxing environment. Because of the high quality of our work, we were then appointed to install all of the audio visual, fire and security systems within the private residences which are attached to the hotel. There are 12 magnificent residences which illustrate the quality of our work and we are extremely pleased and proud to be associated with this project. It has enabled us to show the capabilities of our company within the high-end residential sector along with the commercial aspects at the hotel.

Explain some of the other luxury properties you have been involved with, is there anything particular on the luxury side, either residential or commercial, that you would want to be more involved with?

We have been involved with high value luxury properties for over 30 years and have now demonstrated our ability within the hotel sector. The installations of our products are not sector specific and therefore choosing a sector is somewhat irrelevant. MRFS Group is committed to “Pride in Excellence” and therefore we are keen to be involved in any luxury project, where quality is the paramount consideration.

The value of artwork is priceless. What can you tell us about the security of art?

Security and technology is developing quickly all the time. This now means that artwork can be protected to a high level through asset protection transmitters; these are fitted onto the rear of the artwork or sculptures and can be used either internally or externally. For example, once a sensor is fitted to the valuable item, any movement or removal will send a signal to the control system alerting the exact item and location of the piece of art that is being displaced. We can integrate this system directly with the burglar alarm and even high definition CCTV systems where the camera can be programmed to view the piece of art once the displacement signal has been received. Furthermore, this technology can be expanded meaning it can be viewed anywhere in the world and also on SMART devices.

Can you give us more detail about how external sculptures are protected?

The systems as above are available in wired or hybrid wireless formats. External sculptures can have wireless transmitters attached to them. Again, if displaced signals are transmitted via the wireless connection to the control panel in the home allowing for the alarm to be raised very quickly. This is in addition to crystal clear CCTV high definition images being able to focus on a particular area. You can also set up a “first line of defence” by installing external beam detectors integrated with the burglar alarm, CCTV and home automation systems.

You founded MR Security in 1983. After over 30 years’ experience in the industry can you explain in layman terms just how much technology and alarm systems have developed?

The basic principles are the same, although with fire and burglar alarm systems, regulations have changed the face of what we can do. In recent times the integration of various systems onto one single platform seems a common requirement thus allowing the customer benefits of a single source of supply, cost efficient management and avoiding any “divorced liabilities”.

CCTV has developed tremendously with the new high definition systems linking mega pixel camera technology onto a software platform that allows lossless recording from potentially less cameras in truly amazing high definition quality.

Amongst other systems, fire alarm systems have developed into the high – end residential sector with more stable air sampling systems. These systems negate the requirement to use unaesthetic ceiling mount detectors with a tiny hole in the ceiling which via an analyser constantly analyses the air within an area, if smoke is detected the control panel is activated in the same manner as conventional devices.

What do you think puts you above other companies who work in the same field as you?

We have all the credentials and compliances necessary to work across various disciplines form access controls to home cinemas to security lighting.

This gives us the ability to offer the installation of multiple systems from a single source of supply thus reducing the cost of labour and project management.

Likewise after the systems are installed, our 24/7 maintenance team are on hand so to ensure the customers’ systems are working correctly. Bespoke maintenance packages can be tailored to suit the customers’ requirements.

Most of your work seems to be done on luxurious properties mainly in the Home Counties. Would you expand within the UK?

With our acquisitions in 2012 we now offer UK service although our preference is London and the Home Counties.

Similarly we now have projects in Europe whereby customers want the same global platforms to control their entire estate, so there is little difference whether they are in their country home, town residence or holiday home in Europe.

Having such a good reputation must stand you in good stead with your customers. Do you have anything particularly exciting coming up in the near future?

We have the most exciting projects on the horizon. Customer confidentiality is a key factor in our service so I would not be able to go into specific details but we have large opportunities at a manufacturing plant, a foreign royal family residence, an embassy in Europe, villas in the South of France, one of Europe’s tallest buildings and several thousand apartments in central London.

From private residences to Jamie’s Restaurants to the Corinthia Hotels, you have substantial experience working on a wide range of projects. Do you have a favourite project?

We very much enjoy working with our established customers and to assist and develop the very best of what can be achieved at a budget suitable for them.

We have had some challenging experiences over the years, and have been fortunate to work on a number of wonderful projects and customers. As an example one of our customers in the South of France has asked us to design a system capable of CCTV cameras keeping an eye on the customer’s yacht miles out at sea, so he can view via his SMART device anywhere in the world.

What do you do to relax?

I am a big supporter of Chelsea FC so watch them as often as I can at Stamford Bridge. Tennis at Wimbledon and Rugby at Twickenham are also favourites.  I enjoy trendy bars and restaurants in London and of course relaxing in the sun.

Where would you like to see your company in the next five years?

Our five-year plan is to continue delivering a first class design, installation service and maintenance process and to remain a “cut above the rest” of our competition. Working in the high end luxury sector enables us to continually develop our skills with integration as new products come onto the market.