Story of the Early Days of SECOM 21−30 (1970−1975)

21. Brand New Control Center for SP Alarm

“SP Alarm Center” at Harumi, Tokyo.

In July 1970, a brand new office designed exclusively for the Central Control Center called “SP Alarm Center” was opened at 2nd Floor Rito Center Building Harumi, Tokyo. At the same time, Regional SP Alarm Centers were either opened or upgraded and their total number increased to 18 nationwide.

The capacity of the Alarm Center was boosted from seven hundred to fifty thousand customers in one shot (the actual customer base as of the previous year was five hundred).

The SP Alarm system, which had contributed to the arrest of “Serial Killer 108” on April 7th the previous year, was now set for tremendous growth.

22. Withdrawing from Patrolling Business

“SP Alarm Center” at Harumi, Tokyo.

In 1970, Iida took a strategic decision during the Regional Manager Conference held at Fujiya Hotel, Hakone. “It is against human dignity to let ourselves do what machines can. Therefore we will withdraw from the Patrolling Business. We will stop growing the Static Guard Business and increase our prices. We will focus our sales activities solely on SP Alarm”. Everybody attending that meeting was caught off guard.

It could not be helped because the customer base for patrolling had reached two thousand the previous year whereas SP Alarm had only five hundred. From the very next day, all managers had to visit all their customers to ask them to switch to SP Alarm. It was no surprise that many customers did not accept it or preferred to terminate the contract. After overcoming unimaginable challenges, SP Alarm customers swelled to five thousand by the year 1971. On the other hand customers of Patrolling Services shrank.

It would be safe to say that the foundation of SECOM’s core business was formed during this period.

23. Mission completed at Osaka EXPO

A moment of the closing ceremony of the party for Osaka EXPO.

1970 is remembered by many because it was the year when Osaka EXPO was held at Senri, Suita City, Osaka. It was the first time an international expo was held outside the western hemisphere, with participants from seventy seven countries. The event was inaugurated on March 15th and continued until September 13th for one hundred and eighty three days.

Prior to the event, visitors were estimated at thirty million. The actual number turned out to be sixty four million two hundred and twenty thousand, a record breaking number at that time. There were one hundred and eighteen pavilions, of which the American pavilion display of the moon’s rock attracted wide popularity.

Security for the Osaka EXPO started during the construction phase, which was a joint operation with other companies. The mission started on March 15th, and SECOM was responsible for the South Section. The mission was completed successfully without any untoward incidents on September 13th, two years and one month later.

The experience from this project was passed on to posterity and accordingly utilized at the Osaka International Championships in Athletics held in August 2007. 

24. Baseball Superstar Shigeo Nagashima chosen for Company TV Commercial

Mr. Shigeo Nagashima at 1971.

Baseball superstar Shigeo Nagashima, who became a Hall-of-Famer later, appeared on the company TV commercial from March 20th 1971. Many of the younger generation may be aware of the recent commercial in which a retired Nagashima would say, “SECOM shite masuka” or “Have you joined SECOM?” But it was a period when Nagashima was younger and at the top of his career, and he agreed to stay on until the following year.

On February 19th, a crew went to Miyazaki Camp where Nagashima was training. He was filmed playing a spectacular third baseman. He eagerly cooperated throughout the project, remaining there even after others had finished training. The commercial emphasized the “impregnable defense” and was well received by the public and helped promote the company’s name.

Mr. Nagashima appeared once again on the company TV commercial in 1990. He is still the company’s PR character today.

25. Introducing SP Alarm with public line capabilities

A press release of the launch of “SP Alarm-Phone”.

On 27th October 1971, at the Kitanomaru Park Science Technology Building, a press conference was held to announce the new SP Alarm with public line capabilities called “SP Alarm-Phone”. It was five years since the first SP Alarm was introduced to the market.

Until then the system worked only on a leased line. It was the first time ever for an on-line security system to have a public line capability, making it dramatically more affordable for the user.

Public phone capability was a breakthrough technology in those days and was a key development for on-line security systems to become a de facto standard.

26. Sapporo Olympic Games

A moment of Sapporo Olympic Games.

Eight years after the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Winter Olympic Games were held at Sapporo from February 3rd through 13th 1972. The nation was especially excited because of the Japanese athletes’ outstanding performance at the ski jumps.

After successfully securing the Tokyo Olympic Games, the company played an important role to provide security during the Sapporo Winter Games. Many events like ski jumping and downhill skiing were outdoor events, under blizzard conditions where temperatures would reach minus ten degrees centigrade, making the mission most challenging.

Main tasks were to control traffic of people and vehicles in and around the venues, but the mission was carried out without any unsavory incidents or any accidents, and due to the high challenges involved, the morale became higher than ever.

27.“SECOM” brand is born

The first advertisement using “SECOM” brand in a newspaper.

Since the company was established in 1962, the name “Nihon Keibi Hosho” became widely known to the public through its innovative services and also by providing security for the events like Tokyo Olympic Games and Osaka EXPO.

It was February 1973, a time when crimes were on the rise and security could not be taken for granted free any more. It was a time when communication technology was improving fast, and a new brand “SECOM” was getting established. “SECOM” is short name for “Security Communication”, thereby creating a new word. It connotes, establishing “a new security system collaborating people and science”.

For ten years, the “SECOM” brand and the name “Nihon Keibi Hosho” both co-existed. Dual brands existed until SECOM ventured into the cable television business, a point of time when “SECOM” was well known amongst the general public, and it was a turning point when SECOM was considered not only a security company any more. It was in 1983 when the company’s name was finally changed to SECOM.

28. Introduction of “SECOM 3” for large facilities

“SECOM 3”, the first “Total Solution System”.

On March 8th 1973, at the Harumi International Exhibition Hall, the very first Exhibition of Security and Fire Protection Equipment was held, and SECOM participated with its own captive booth. This was the venue where the product release of “SECOM 3” was officially announced.

SECOM 3 was the very first system that integrated intrusion detection, fire detection, access control, and facility monitoring. Verily, it was the first “Total Solution System” for large facilities. In addition, it was the first product that carried the brand name SECOM which it was just introduced in February. Upon inauguration of the brand SECOM, the company had declared “the establishment of SECOM Society” as its corporate mission. “SECOM Society” was considered as “a society where security is guaranteed”, and it was essential to seek a solution for large scale facilities. The “SECOM 3” would be the platform for large scale facilities, and would later be reinvented to what is now known as TOTAX System.

29. SECOM Cooperates with Major US financial institution for development of a Fully Automated Banking System

A branch of Huntington National Bank.

August 1st 1973, SECOM signed a business partnership agreement with Huntington National Bank, one of the most innovative banks in the United States at that time, to develop a fully automated banking system called “Handy Bank System”.

Originally developed for Huntington National Bank, the system was the first of its kind in the world, based on a mini computer. 80% of banking services, including depositing, withdrawing, remitting, and repayments were made possible without the hassle of lining up for a bank clerk. The system operated uninterruptedly 24 hours on all 365 days and could be installed anywhere including department stores, supermarkets, airports, and even drive-ins. The very first “store” in the U.S. was opened in March that year. This partnership eventually led to the product launch of “CD Security Pack” on April 1st, 1974. The system was well received as the nation’s first security system for cash dispensers. Further in November, a new product designed to detect outdoor intrusions called “SP Border Contact” was launched.

30. The world’s first C.S.S. (computerized security system) is launched

Celebrating the launch of C.S.S., where Iida is seen in the center.

The company was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Second Section on June 24th 1974. By this time the company had an office in almost every prefecture and had a complete national coverage.

On March 1st 1975, the world’s first computerized security system named C.S.S. became operational at Tokyo Control Center located at Harumi, Tokyo.

Until that day, operators would manually monitor warning lamps, but the new system would automatically display customer information including the time when the signal was received, which boosted productivity and improved safety. It helped in boosting the on-line security business dramatically too.