Global ePoint Puts Eyes on Its Customers

INDUSTRY - If you're traveling by jet, shopping at a convenience store or playing poker at a casino, chances are you're being watched.

And the video surveillance system that has you in its sights may well have been made by Global ePoint Inc.

The Industry-based company designs, manufactures, sells and distributes digital video surveillance systems for the law enforcement, military, aviation and homeland security markets.

And lately, the company's products are cropping up in other places.

Just last month, Global ePoint's wholly owned subsidiary, Tops Digital, was awarded a $426,000 contract to upgrade the video surveillance system at the new $250million Morongo Casino, Resort and Spa in Cabazon.

The 310-room resort has finalized plans for upgrading the surveillance and security system initially provided by Tops to larger units for longer storage of recorded data.

The casino also plans to expand the system and add additional Tops equipment. Allen Yung, executive vice president of the Tops Digital division, said the revamped system will include nearly 2,000 security cameras and is highly customized.

"We were able to incorporate 75 percent of their recommendations," he said. "The equipment has to be very high quality to pass gaming regulations. It has to be 30 frames per second when all of the cameras are running at the same time. You need to be able to see the color and value of the chips ... and the numbers that come up on the dice."

Surveillance systems are required by law in casinos - and they must be reliable, according to Yung.

"If a camera is not on, you have to close that table," he said. "When you are in a gaming situation, there is a lot of money at stake."

The high-resolution cameras can detect a variety of crimes, Yung said.

"A dealer might have a friend come to the table who didn't actually win a hand, but the dealer might still pay out on it," he said. "The cameras can also ID employee theft in the cash count rooms or slip-and-fall incidents. Sometimes, a person might say they slipped and fell, but the camera will show they just lay down on the ground."

Global ePoint has also tapped into the growing market for Homeland Security products.

The company's AirWorks Aviation division produces a cockpit door surveillance system for commercial aircraft, and sales have increased dramatically as a result of increased security measures following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"Our products can be installed on most Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier aircraft," said John Pan, Global ePoint's chairman, president and chief financial officer. "We have obtained certification from the FAA that allows for the installation in planes."

Global ePoint currently handles 88 percent of the commercial airline market in Germany.

"The commercial airline applications can easily trickle down to mass transit, trains, buses - even school buses," Pan explained. "At this very moment, the president of AirWorks is trying to sell our product for use with the train system in a foreign country. We can't name the country yet because a contract has not been finalized."

The aviation division provides surveillance and safety products, aircraft electronics and communications systems, and various electrical applications.

Global ePoint's video surveillance systems are also used in retail settings and by law enforcement agencies.

"The fixed application, like you'd see in a 7-Eleven store could also be put into an airport," Pan said.

The company has three lines of fixed products.

At the low end, systems for smaller stores typically include four to eight cameras.

A middle-end system generally has 100 or more cameras and runs about $100,000.

A high-end system - like the one at Morongo - can include thousands of cameras.

Global ePoint has picked up numerous contracts over the past year, but the company still reported a net loss of $7.25 million for 2005.

Pan figures that will change this year.

"We expect to show a profit this year," he said. "We had $12 million in orders for our aviation division at the beginning of the year. And we had $40 million in orders from two airlines companies - Avianca and Grupo Synergy - in September."