The age of robotics is fast approaching. To be successful, security systems integrators need to understand how these machines fit in the security of their clients, according to industry experts.

“The integrators did not begin this trend,” says Bill Bozeman, President and CEO of the PSA Security Network, cooperative of security product suppliers and system integration companies. “They did not say, ‘Oh boy I can’t wait to introduce robotics into my portfolio'. This is driven by the end users. This is the norm. Like it or not, the integrator community is somewhat reactionary.”

Robotics in vertical markets

For those security integrators who serve industry verticals such as utilities, oil and gas, healthcare, higher education and even real estate owners with large campuses and buildings such as malls, knowledge of robotic security solutions is essential, he adds.

Those serving large companies
and
facilities will need to
understand the
capacities of
robotics, the leading-edge

manufacturers and the designers

You go into the meeting with your portfolio, and the security director comes in and says ‘Hey, tell me your thoughts on security robotics. Do you think it’s a fit for my organisation and what do you think?’ If you say ‘I don’t know’, they’re going to think ‘This company is not keeping up.”

For those professionals geared to providing security to small shops and stores or homes, robotics will not be a prime solution for many years to come. Those serving the great mass of large companies and facilities will need to understand the capacities of robotics, the leading-edge manufacturers and the designers.

Educating integrators on robotics

“PSA has a history of introducing the “next big thing” to their integrators before they eventually hardwire the topic to their training curriculum,” echoes Cliff Quiroga, Vice President and Deputy General Manager at Sharp and a leader in the new formed Robolliance.

Bozeman’s organisation has taken the lead in providing a wide variety of educational and networking programmes that bring together integrators with manufacturers and industry experts on the topic of robotics. “For those who choose not to play, well they’ll be forced into the small segment of verticals where robotics doesn’t make a difference,” says Bozeman. “There won’t be many of those. Their pool of potential business will shrink.”

Robotics offers an unparalleled growth opportunity for those companies that commit early to the technology
Advances in technology will reduce the costs of deploying robots into facilities, making them more appealing to companies

Future with service robots

The deployment of robots into civilian security operations has been limited so far, but the number of product options is growing rapidly. Major companies such as Sharp have created robotic divisions and are readying products for testing and deployment to real-world customers. Guard companies are already looking at robots and how they can be incorporated into their offering to work alongside human officers.

“The latest advancement in robotics, particularly in the area of drones and unmanned ground vehicles, is a game-changer,” observes Brian Higgins, founder and president of Group 77, a security and public safety consulting firm. “The robots of today will provide that catalyst, that direct connection between humans and technology creating the integration we are trying to accomplish.”

Robots won’t replace security officers, but they will take over many of the mundane and boring tasks such as monitoring cameras and sensors that humans simply aren’t very good at doing, notes Higgins.

"Robots will patrol, they will
inspect, they will sense and they
will perform actions that are
pre-programmed by humans"

Robots will patrol, they will inspect, they will sense and they will perform actions that are pre-programmed by humans,” says Higgins. “The routine patrols performed by the robots will be done with cameras that are better in capturing images than the human eye. They will sense better than the human nose or ears. I think there is very little limitation on what robots can do and will do in the future.”

Making robotics appealing

Advances in technology will reduce the costs of deploying robots into facilities, making them more appealing to companies that are all too well aware of the limits of human attention.

“The security industry is plagued with commoditisation of their traditional technology,” says Quiroga. “Many products, especially video, are being mass-produced with very similar performance capabilities and made available through a variety of online outlets and distributors.  The industry is choking on commoditisation and channel conflicts with limited value being added by the integrator.”

With robotics, security integrators will now have a unique technology to gather data for the client, provide the constant security presence, and insulate them from the future increase in minimum wage for their existing services, he adds.

Although the technology is still in final development, there is no other market segment related to electronic security that could provide the business opportunity that robotic technology will provide
Being first requires an investment to build and train a staff committed to robotics

Bumper opportunities for robotics experts

“Being an ‘expert’ in robotics will be a differentiator for the integrator, open more doors for them, and help them win over new clients because of the value they bring to the overall security solution,” says Quiroga.

Experts agree that the integrator community needs to understand that robotics offers an unparalleled growth opportunity for those companies that commit early to the technology. Wall Street is already taking note of the industry and its potential.

Earlier this year, iRobot, which makes robotic vacuum cleaners, spun off its military and police robot division into a separate company. Now known as Endeavor Robotics, the company was purchased for $45 million by Arlington Capital Partners. The company is the largest supplier of robots to the U.S. military.

“Although the technology is still in final development, there is no other market segment related to electronic security that could provide the business opportunity that robotic technology will provide the early adopters,” says Quiroga. “Being first requires an investment to build and train a staff committed to robotics; successful integrators will not be those who only offer robotics as a solution on the occasional project. Robotics is coming; get ready now.”

Catch up on our Robots in Security series here

Save

Save

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

Randy Southerland Special Assignment Contributor, SecurityInformed.com

In case you missed it

ISC West rescheduled again to October 5-8
ISC West rescheduled again to October 5-8

ISC West, in collaboration with premier sponsor SIA, is rescheduling the ISC West 2020 event to take place October 5-8 at Sands Expo in Las Vegas. The SIA Education@ISC conference will be October 5-7, and the exhibition will be Oct. 6-8. Previously, ISC West had announced the postponement of the 2020 edition of ISC West to July. However, given the continually evolving COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home guidelines, organisers deemed the July dates no longer viable for the security industry. ISC West has expressed concern for everyone impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Based on Reed Exhibitions’ close monitoring of ongoing developments with the virus, recent reports from public health officials and extensive consultation with partners in the global security community, they have rescheduled ISC West. ISC West takes pride in offering vital business opportunities to customers, including networking, education and access to new products and technologies, and are committed to making the event live up to high standards. Over the coming weeks, along with ISC West’s Premier Sponsor SIA, ISC West organisers will continue to serve the industry, creating ways to connect, collaborate and keep the world moving during this difficult period.

What’s the next big thing in video image quality?
What’s the next big thing in video image quality?

Superior image quality has been the “holy grail” of the video surveillance business for several years. A transition to 4K images and a race to ever-higher pixel counts have dominated product development conversations for a while now. However, it’s now possible that the tide has turned. These days, data is sometimes more important than image quality, and increasing use of smaller-format mobile devices has helped to make image quality variations moot. As the industry changes, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What’s the next big thing in video image quality (beyond 4K and megapixel)?

How do agricultural security systems measure up against livestock theft?
How do agricultural security systems measure up against livestock theft?

“Some embark on farmyard heists whilst others are devoted to back-bedroom chicken sanctuaries,” a quote taken from Channel 4’s new documentary ‘How to Steal Pigs and Influence People’. Whilst many think this is part of the positive vegan uprising, The National Pig Association have expressed grave concern of the glamorisation and condoning of livestock theft from farms. Wesley Omar, who was featured in the documentary, was found guilty of theft after he broke into a farm and stole a pig stating "he was saving it from slaughter." Due to this ‘humane reasoning,’ he received a 12 month community order and completed 100 hours of unpaid work. However, the farmer in question incurred huge losses as he could not reclaim the pig due to potential contamination and had a cost of £6,000 to upgrade his security. The cost of rural crime Opportunistic thieves have now turned into organised criminals According to NFU Mutual, the cost of rural crime has risen by 12% since 2017, and the Home Office statistics stated that 26% of rural businesses experienced at least one crime incident in 2018. However, the face of rural crime is changing, with M.O.’s shifting. What once were opportunistic thieves have now turned into organised criminals stealing heavy machinery and livestock. One example saw around 200 sheep stolen in the last three months within the Wiltshire area alone. Due to the volume of these incidents, police speculated only skilled sheep rustlers could conduct this crime so efficiently and undisturbed. The result of this crime has cost the agricultural industry £3m in 2019 alone. However, theft isn’t the only emerging rural crime trend hitting these farmers. Fly tipping on private land has risen considerably over the past few years with figures constantly rising. Once again, like the face of rural theft, criminals are evolving. The Environment Agency has stated that organised gangs are making high profits through ‘waste removal’, undercutting legitimate waste management sites through fly tipping. This crime is affecting 67% of farms and landowners as criminals try to evade landfill taxes. But what happens when you’re the victim of this crime? According to Countryside Alliance, it is the only rural offence where landowners are legally responsible for the disposal of said waste, costing them around £47m each year. So, how can farmers and agricultural landowners protect their premises and assets from both animal rights activists and organised criminals? A scheme has been introduced within specific areas in order to curb the increasing rates of rural crime across England and Wales. Dedicated police teams have been created to provide protection and support to rural areas, with specialist knowledge in dealing with cases. Agricultural physical security How does the farming industry's physical security measure up against these criminals? With this in mind, how does the farming industry's physical security measure up against these criminals? How can they prevent these targeted attacks on their livelihoods? One area that should be considered is a line of defence that deters, detects and delays these intruders - rather than allowing them onto the land - whilst waiting for police to respond. Security measures nowadays are able to delay intrusions, being the difference between criminals getting away and getting caught. A physical fencing system with anti-cut and anti-climb features would offer the first line of defence to farmers and landowners by restricting access onto their fields. Alongside effective high security fencing systems, used to prevent livestock trailers entering farmers fields, entry points need to be reviewed and addressed on whether they are effectively deterring criminals. Many successful livestock thefts are due to organised criminals and their vehicles being able to access fields undetected. Improving the security of field perimeters and entry points is the first step in protecting a farmer's livelihood against criminals. In turn, having a single entry point in and out of fields and premises is also an effective deterrent. Properties with various exit plans are more likely to be targeted as criminals have a higher percentage of escaping. Access point security Security measures such as CCTV cameras or motion sensor lighting have quick installation times In order to increase security at field access points, blocking off the gateways to these fields would act as an extra deterrent to those looking to steal livestock and fly-tip. With perimeter and access point security comes additional physical security measures that could help prevent the theft of livestock. Security measures such as CCTV cameras or motion sensor lighting have quick installation times that help detect an intruder rather than deter and delay like perimeter security. With rural crime on the rise, livestock theft and other criminal activity is becoming a common occurrence for farmers and agricultural landowners. Rural crime is not only having detrimental effects on the individuals but also communities across the UK. Many other industries such as the commercial industry and sports sectors utilise effective physical security within their premises in order to protect their assets. And so we are asking; why is the agricultural industry any different?