Technology trends: four reasons robots and drones took center stage at GSX

Technology trends: four reasons robots and drones took center stage at GSX

This article originally appeared in December 2022 issue From Security Business Journal. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business Magazine on LinkedIn And the @tweet on Twitter.

The recent Global Security Exchange (GSX) in Atlanta was packed with much of the same technology and services the security industry has come to expect; However, there were a few gems scattered all over the fair grounds – many of them were related to the robotics industry.

The one thing that seemed to catch the eye of every person who walked by was Spot, the Boston Dynamic’s unmanned quadruple vehicle (Q-UGV) and its many different colors. Spot can be seen patrolling the booths and was even caught dancing at a Friends of Chuck Texas Night event.

Spot was just one of many robot and drone technologies unveiled. ADT Commercial has doubled down on robotics and drones with a humanoid robot on wheels on displayas well as an in-house drone system resulting from its partnership with Israel-based Indoor Robotics.

SMP Robotics had a four-wheel-drive robot on display, as did Robotic Assistive Devices (RAD), That revealed RIO (ROSA Independent Observatory)Solar powered mast with ROSA platform for RAD detection.

Outside of the show, Johnson Controls has re-revealed its partnership robot Ava Robotics in its innovation suite. Knightscope, maker of indoor and outdoor robots, held a Robot Roadshow in Underground Atlanta just a mile from the GSX venue.

While drones and robots were the new element that caught the attention of the masses, they also brought companies with them to prevent these technologies from being used against websites. Radar companies like Magos and Navtech, as well as drone detection technologies Dedrone and 911 Security have also garnered interest.

Finally, there have been more than 30 companies offering some type of autonomous patrol, or the ability to detect unmanned vehicles.

why now?

Many of our childhood heroes included C3P0, R2-D2, Optimus Prime, Robby the Robot, and Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. In retrospect, many of us get a taste of what can happen when artificial intelligence goes awry – when Skynet launches the Terminator, or when robots rise up against humans in I’m a robot.

Are we getting close to this reality?

There wouldn’t be more than 30 companies offering technologies related to robotics and drones if there wasn’t a market. So, what has changed? What made robots part of the future?

People have been fascinated with robots since their inception. Here are four key factors as to why robots and drones are gaining a foothold in security:

1- Epidemic: For all the terrible things it has done to society, COVID-19 has also shown businesses that they need to be able to monitor sites effectively—both internally and externally—even when the workforce has been brought to its knees. Bots can be eyes and ears, with limited ability to solve basic problems like calling 911 or providing directions. Robots can be sterilized frequently and can operate for long periods of time with minimal expectations.

2- Increased security: Security guard companies are constantly faced with the challenging task of finding qualified and capable guards. Once found, companies deal with a very high turnover rate once they are hired; In fact, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) reports an annual turnover rate of between 100 and 300%.

The custodial companies may have reached a point where the human custodian can no longer be fully trusted. Most drone and robotic technologies are driving sales ads as additions to sentinels, not replacements. Some of the guard forces have adopted this mentality, such as Prosegur with Yellow, Boston Dynamic Spot dog.

Corporate facilities, which have better guard retention than most janitorial service providers, are still finding that drones and robots can respond to incidents faster with technologies humans don’t have, such as thermal cameras to detect a failed valet or a person under a vehicle stealing catalytic converters.

Although no guard wants to hear about the possibility of being replaced, the security guard industry is no longer reliable for many end users – whether due to high turnover, pricing or some other reason – and this influx into the security guard industry has brought the need for bots to the fore. The biggest failure of a security guard is complacency. Complacency gives a false sense of security, and causes humans to lose things. Although they may not be trained to look for behaviors and body language cues that humans can be trained to detect, robots cannot be complacent.

When most security guards encounter a slick, wheeled, or walking robot, they will say that an AI is only as good as the set of data that trained it; And if it is based on rules, then persistent data is provided. However, an Oxford University report nearly a decade ago in 2013 predicted that the probability of security guards being replaced by robots by 2033 is 84% ​​or higher.

3. Safety of the officer: If there’s an upside to the average security guard, it’s that robots and drones aren’t ready yet for prime time. This statement may upset more than a few manufacturers, but let’s look at it from a different perspective.

These bots are tools that trained employees use to make them better at their jobs. As a tool, the drone dog could enter a collapsed mine and help extract injured miners. It can enter radiation-laden places and other dangerous locations that humans should not go to. From the point of view of a ranger or safety officer, why put human life at risk when a metal structure filled with replaceable equipment can be put into the field for less money and less risk?

Robots as sentinels – although somewhat autonomous – are not without the need for both human input as well as on-board sensor monitoring. The robot can’t testify in court, but the operator can spot a thief who’s stealing a catalytic converter, for example.

Despite the importance of the safety of the officers, the publication was met with mixed reviews. The NYPD in 2021 canceled a $94,000 contract with Boston Dynamics for Spot; Nicknamed Digidog, because according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, “It’s scary, obtuse, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers.”

4. Costs: Companies are having a hard time not looking at robots and drones as the need for workers is constantly increasing and the cost of the guard force is also increasing. A fleet of leased or owned robots and drones can cost a fraction of the guard force without having to pay interest, overtime and worry if they show up next week. Security companies and end users are finding that a few trained guards in a monitoring center can effectively monitor more square footage of more than just security concerns using autonomous or unmanned vehicles.

John Polley is Chief Solutions Officer at ProTecht Solutions Partners, a security consulting company focused on monitoring smart cities. Connect with him on LinkedIn:

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