Editor's Note: Rise of the Machines

Oct. 14, 2016
The paths of robotics and security officially crossed at ASIS

Rolling guards and flying machines...what year is it again? Believe it — it is 2016, and the future is now, with the paths of robotics and security having officially crossed. At ASIS 2016, attendees were greeted by rolling Knightscope units from Allied Universal, which patrolled the lobbies at all times. Once you actually got onto the show floor there was more — with a unique demo of the RAMSEE unit from Gamma 2, and Sharp’s unveiling of its INTELLOS unmanned ground vehicle.

While drones were not buzzing overhead on the show floor in Orlando, be ready to duck at next year’s ISC West, as show organizer Reed Exhibitions just announced the “Unmanned Security Expo” — an expo within the larger expo in Las Vegas (more at www.securityinfowatch.com/12262521).

While many of these robotic solutions are designed to ease the burden of a traditional guard force, that doesn’t mean there isn't something here for the security integration community to seize upon as well.   

"There isn’t any doubt that the physical security integrators will be impacted, it is more a matter of when,” says Bill Bozeman, president and CEO of PSA Security Network. “Traditional guard companies are changing. They are smart enough to know the robots are coming and they have to deal with it. They may not all be happy about it, but the bigger companies will begrudgingly be offering the services because they have no choice. The go-to-market strategy by the people who are working on this and putting money into this see the two champions of these products as the guard companies and security systems integrators.”

Ground based robotics are probably going to make the quickest impact on the security space, likely due to government regulations that surveillance drones are dealing with; however, the FAA in late August issued official regulations for small drone operations that is expected to evolve into a major expansion of business drone use.

In essence, the ground-based autonomous robotic products are on the cutting edge of perimeter security. Bozeman says all you need to do is take a look at the feature sets of these products — whether Knightscope, Gamma 2 or Sharp — to see their potential. “They can provide surveillance via camera, audio surveillance and communication, and the second generation will likely have the ability to check if doors are locked,” Bozeman says.

In the case of Gamma 2, the units are designed for interior patrols, for applications such as retail malls, or hallways in an office building or healthcare facility, or the entrances to a trade show. The INTELLOS, on the other hand, is a rugged outdoor unit designed for outdoor perimeter patrol, and is targeted at critical infrastructure and utilities. Knightscope is a combination of indoor and outdoor applications, such as parking lots that may not require an all-terrain sort of vehicle.

“There is no question that autonomous unmanned ground vehicles will play an important role in the future security marketplace,” says David Antar, President of A+ Technology & Security Solutions, a New York-based regional integrator. “Our company has always prided itself on being ahead of the curve in recognizing the value of emerging technologies.”

Obviously there will be growing pains. Integrators and end-users will have to work through the process of learning to use and understand the benefits of such a disruptive technology. “It’s going to change everything — that includes the systems integrators, the people making products for the system integrators and even the guard companies,” Bozeman says. “It’s not going to happen overnight — it won’t be next week; but it will be a gradual thing.”

From ground-based, to air, to even technologies designed to defeat and detect drones , now or in the future, it will be up to cutting-edge security integrators to have disruptive technology on their proverbial — or possibly in this case their actual — radar.

Paul Rothman is Editor in Chief of Security Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine. Access the current issue and archives at www.secdealer.com.

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.