Another travel item to consider: A security strategy

Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

In the current global political climate, traveling can be stressful for even those of us who worry less than we should when visiting exotic locales.

And high-net-worth travelers often have a lot more to be concerned about than terrorism.

On one recent trip, I met a well-known single traveler who said she traveled almost exclusively with Abercrombie & Kent, as much for the security afforded by its guides and experts on the ground as for its range of product offerings.

And while many wealthy people have their own security staff, a new global concierge security service called Zone Intelligence offers a variety of real-time, technology-based threat-mapping and tracking services that can be combined with on-the-ground security.

Developed in partnership between Helios and Matheson Analytics, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze big data, and Red Zone, creator of an app that maps crime data, Zone Intelligence offers packages ranging in price from $29.99 to $150,000, according to Helios CEO Ted Farnsworth, who said he came up with the idea on a trip to Israel.

The basic package offers an analytical report on your destination and access to a 24-hour hotline.

"Say you are going to Israel, or Turkey, or some other place in the Middle East," Farnsworth said. "We'll do a whole dossier for you about what kind of security issues there are.  You get a full-blown report by email. It's usually about 30 pages long and it tells you everything about what's going on economically to whether there have been uprisings, rioting, what hotels are threatened."

Starting in the $5,000 range, he said, are services that include on-the-ground, armed "human assets" and people who can come in and "extract" you from a dangerous situation.

He expects the most popular package to be the one for $499, which includes geotracking that alerts a team if, for instance, you go out of your designated zones. That can also provide geofencing, which enables Zone to put a virtual fence around, say, a traveling child, so the parents can be alerted about the child's whereabouts or potential trouble.

While there are other ways via Google and smartphones for families and travelers to track each other's whereabouts in real time, Farnsworth says Zone Intelligence is the only service he is aware of that brings together the intelligence and real-time technology with more traditional on-location physical assistance.

For that, Zone works with the global security firm Viollis Group International

"The key factor in effective global safety is proper security proportionate to the risk, which is heightened when protecting corporations and high-net-worth individuals," Viollis CEO Paul Viollis said last week in a press release about the launch of Zone. "A company is only as good as its intel, and the reliability of that intel is paramount."

Farnsworth said he has not yet worked out any formal arrangements for paying commissions to travel agents but added he has begun conversations with some agencies.

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