How Technology Can Alleviate Surveillance Blind Spots
Navigating evolving demands in the security industry
Even as technology has rapidly advanced over decades to meet changing demands in the security industry, persistent challenges—such as staffing shortages and limited scope of surveillance—remain.
Electronic surveillance systems have continually been an essential element of security programs, supplementing guards as an “all-seeing eye” that never tires and remains constantly alert. However, virtually all electronic surveillance systems are fixed in some way to the structure they’re designed to protect, therefore they are limited in their scope of surveillance. The introduction of pan-tilt-zoom cameras to the industry notably expanded the breadth of surveillance capabilities, but even those are still restricted to a fixed anchor point. This means that blind spots and hard-to-access and/or surveil areas can still be a prevailing challenge for security providers looking to reduce risk at their commercial facilities.
Security leaders also struggle to find, train and retain qualified guards or officers. Especially in an industry where turnover is often high, the effort required to hire and retrain new guards makes maintaining a consistently effective guarding program particularly challenging. Establishing a successful guarding program also requires resources, such as administrative churn and labor-intensive management and oversight. Often these programs become increasingly costly with little return.
Addressing security challenges with cost-effective technology
As the industry looks for a cost-effective path forward that addresses these gaps in surveillance, security partners are finding answers in technology. For instance, ADT Commercial has established a dedicated innovation program aimed at developing technologies, like humanoid robotics and indoor drones, to directly address challenges like these facing security leaders today—directly augmenting and optimizing the security guarding industry.
“Our humanoid robot is the first of many iterations to come. It’s approximately six feet tall, complete with arms and hands that can be programmed to mimic humanlike movement—capable of conducting patrols, two-way communications and fine motor skilled actions, such as unzipping and searching a backpack or opening a door,” said Mike Lavway, Director of Operations for the Enterprise Security Risk Group and ADT Commercial’s Innovation Lab in Irving, TX.
“By using a fleet of robots, one guard is now capable of managing many robots and controlling them as needed in order to conduct the scope of several guards, ultimately minimizing the burden of staff shortages,” Lavway added.
Innovative autonomous indoor drone technology
In tandem with humanoid robotics, ADT Commercial is working to develop an indoor drone surveillance solution to enhance non-human patrolling capabilities. The current drone in development is a ceiling-mounted, mobile platform that combines the feature of traditional fixed cameras while charging and mobile patrols while in flight; both postures allow the device to provide 24 hours of valuable coverage to its users.
“The most groundbreaking feature of this drone technology is that all flying will be conducted autonomously. The interface is intuitive, so users do not need to be experienced drone pilots or be certified by the FAA.”
— Mike Lavway
Director of Operations
Users also can program a destination or set a patrol route at routine intervals, as well as program alerts from external sensors to trigger investigatory flights. The drones are also equipped with an onboard thermal camera, people detection capabilities and object avoidance analytics which augment their ability to spot unsafe conditions or security concerns beyond recorded video alone.
Technology that helps protect your people, property, and assets
Similar to the humanoid robots, one guard can interact with a fleet of drones to cover more ground. Security guards are most often limited to strictly observe-and-report function, preventing them from engaging in events beyond dispatching. Consider a fire event in which an alarm is triggered—a guard must evacuate along with the rest of the occupants, but a drone or robot can remain indoors and investigate on behalf of the security officers and first responders without risking human life or injury. Both robots and drones in commercial security applications allow users to surveil their surroundings dynamically and can see virtually all areas a human could see with the added benefit of recording the experience for forensic purposes.
The development of indoor autonomous drones and humanoid robotics, along with other explorations into emerging technologies, allow security leaders to move beyond responding to events in the past tense and begin to move towards engaging with preventive tactics and real-time incident response to effectively reduce risk to an organization’s most precious asset—its people.
As the world around us continues to rapidly change, we’re taking chances and striving to be proactively ahead of the curve to address your evolving security needs.
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