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 companiesand facilities will need tounderstand the capacities ofrobotics, 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.” 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. 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
There’s no better indication that robots are the next big thing in security than the formation of the industry organisation known as Robolliance. It’s billed as “a forum for technology partners and industry experts in robotics, surveillance and security to advance the understanding and awareness of the Autonomous Robotics marketplace.” Founded by Sharp Electronics Corp, its members include some of the biggest names in security and technology including Bell and Howell, Rajant Corporation, Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI), and others. Sharp Vice President and Deputy General Manager Cliff Quiroga is helping to lead the charge on robotics for security. Recently, he spoke with SourceSecurity.com about the new organisation and what all the talk about robots means for the security industry. SourceSecurity.com: What prompted the creation of Robolliance? How will it help drive innovation in this technology? Quiroga: There are two facts about the introduction of high-tech to our personal and professional lives. One, new technology is disruptive. Two, most people resist change. I remember Forbes publishing an article a few years back about the top five reasons people resist change. The writer’s recommendation was to take the time to understand the change, who it will impact, how it will impact and why people might resist it. Robolliance does just this. Robotics’ introduction into the security industry will be much more disruptive than a smart phone. The fact that people resist change is what Robolliance is all about. It is a resource where people can go to understand and become aware. SourceSecurity.com: What were the main takeaways from PSA TEC [PSA Security Network’s yearly conference] where Robolliance was announced? Quiroga: As Sharp Electronics Corporation was bringing together sponsors to work together on Robolliance, PSA was making a parallel effort to bring robotics into the purview of their membership of security integrators. What better place to introduce both our efforts? PSA has a history of introducing the “next big thing” to their integrators before they eventually hardwire the topic to their training curriculum. Over prior years, they had great success with the introduction of cybersecurity, which is now a focal point of the education security integrators receive to grow their business. Robotics is what PSA deems that “next big thing”. SourceSecurity.com: How will the organisation contribute to innovation in robotics? Quiroga: Robolliance serves as an incubator for individuals and organisations to do their best work. The composition of Robolliance extends beyond the sponsors to the followers, who will join the forum to share stories, collaborate ideas and cross-educate one another. A company, like Sharp Electronics Corporation, has a history of engineering and manufacturing success. Robolliance brings a company, like ours, into an ecosystem that includes other robotics, surveillance and security experts, who can stay within their wheelhouse and leverage their core competencies in contribution with other thought-leaders, who believe in the future of robotic technology. Together, we have the potential to shorten innovation cycles and increase speed to market. The role of robotics in security today is still in its infancy, but indications are the market is ready and waiting for the technology SourceSecurity.com: What role is robotics playing now in security? Quiroga: The role of robotics in security today is still in its infancy. Aerial drones are just starting to appear with some corporate security organisations, but progress has only been inching along, while security and safety directors wait to see how the FAA [U.S. Federal Aviation Administration] will finalise regulations. Concerning ground-based robotics, there is no unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) on the market today dedicated to outdoor autonomous patrol and surveillance. All indications are the market is ready and waiting for the technology. SourceSecurity.com: Is the primary trend using robots as security guards? Where do they work best? Patrolling perimeters and warehouses? Quiroga: We believe the trend is in “Collaborative Robotics” – products that increase the overall productivity of workers, such as security guards. Technology innovation at its best tends to make workers more productive. Robotic products as applied to security tend to show the most promise for those dull, dirty and dangerous – the 3Ds – applications. Examples of this include utilities, such as electrical and water treatment, manufacturing and petro-chemical processing facilities. Typical roles for a security robot on these sites are perimeter patrols and asset verification. SourceSecurity.com: What are the challenges? Quiroga: There is still a lot of emerging technology that will allow ground-based robots to expand and perform more functions than we see today. At the moment, speed is limited, but as sensor technology costs come down, we will see travel speeds of UGVs increase. SourceSecurity.com: Does it create liability? Quiroga: For the most part, we don’t see an increase in liability, especially when we compare the risks and cost related to a person performing dangerous security activities versus having a robot perform those same tasks. SourceSecurity.com: What are the challenges of using robots in this capacity? Quiroga: We believe “change” in general is the biggest challenge. We are all creatures of habit, and using a new tool will require some retraining and adjustments, but we believe as with any new technology this will come with time and exposure. SourceSecurity.com: What are the technical breakthroughs companies are focusing on and need to solve in this area? Quiroga: The basic uses have been defined, and the fundamental capabilities are possible. The improvements will come, just as they have for personal computers. Improvements in performance of key robot components, such as sensors (such as Lidar), will happen and in turn the cost reductions will come as those components are used in more and more products. SourceSecurity.com: What is the most promising market for companies in the robot security area? Quiroga: The most promising market for the autonomous ground-based vehicles is any large private or government outdoor facility with constant “guard-tours” and safety/security compliance reporting requirements. Read Part 5 of our Robots In Security Series here Save
Bell and Howell will contribute its expertise in mechatronics systems to the creation and deployment of UGVs As a leading provider of technology solutions and services for communications, commerce and industrial automation, Bell and Howell has signed on as a technology sponsor of Robolliance. Founded by Sharp Electronics Corporation, Robolliance is a forum for technology organisations and industry experts in robotics, surveillance and security to advance the understanding and awareness of autonomous robotic solutions. Sophisticated mechatronics systems As a founding member and technology sponsor, Bell and Howell will contribute its expertise in the installation and maintenance of sophisticated mechatronics systems to the creation and deployment of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). Through its sponsorship, Bell and Howell will join other leaders in the UGV ecosystem for technology collaboration and to raise awareness of the nascent industry. Throughout its history, Bell and Howell has introduced numerous breakthrough technologies from mail sortation and production automation to intelligent lockers for parcel delivery. Its service organisation is among the most sophisticated in the world for production workflow, automation and industrial mechatronics. As an early example of its ability to successfully service and support UGVs, the company is currently engaged in a service and installation partnership programme with Savioke for its Relay hospitality robots. Century of expertise “As a leading provider of mechatronics services and support, Bell and Howell brings over 100 years of expertise and experience to the Robolliance programme,” stated Cliff Quiroga, President and Deputy General Manager of the Sharp Robotics Business Development (SRBD) division. “Sharp is excited to welcome Bell and Howell as a fellow sponsor of Robolliance. Our SRBD research indicates that product reliability and high-quality service are critical to a successful robotics initiative. Bell and Howell is uniquely positioned to deliver on that necessary support for organisations looking to introduce robotics as a security solution.” Technology advancement “We look forward to partnering with Sharp and the other Robolliance sponsors to drive innovations that will make UGVs more versatile and widely adopted,” said Bell and Howell CEO Ramesh Ratan. “We are in the early phases of game-changing technology advancements that transform classic artificial intelligence into augmented intelligence, leveraging the interplay between human intuition and mechatronics technology in what we call ‘the Internet of people and things.’ In the case of Robolliance, these advances help increase the effectiveness and safety of those providing protection to industrial facilities and critical infrastructures.”
Sharp's Robolliance forum aims to advance understanding of the Autonomous Robotics marketplace Sharp Electronics Corporation, founding sponsor of the Robolliance programme, brought together fellow sponsors and onsite press covering PSA TEC 2016 to announce today the launch of an initiative focused on ground-based security robotics. Today’s announcement defined the Robolliance programme as “a forum for technology partners and industry experts in robotics, surveillance and security to advance the understanding and awareness of the Autonomous Robotics marketplace”. Robotics engineering as a new business area Sharp Electronics Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Osaka-based Sharp Corporation, a worldwide manufacturing company, who revealed nearly three years ago the inclusion of robotics engineering as a new business area. Since then, Sharp Corporation has introduced to non-U.S. markets such robotic technologies as the Cocorobo for cleaning and the Robohon for communication. Specific to the opportunity for robotics in the United States, there is Sharp Laboratories of America (SLA) and Sharp Robotics Business (SRBD). SLA has been working on autonomous vehicles as part of their business robotics R&D. SLA develops leading-edge B2B products that improve employee productivity, reduce costs, enhance collaboration, and meet rapidly changing business demands. Sharp Robotics Business (SRBD), a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation (SEC), whose Vice President & Deputy General Manager, Cliff Quiroga, led the press conference, targets growth industries primed for robotic technology. Security is one of those industries. Collaboration between technologists, industry specialists and sales channel providers In his opening remarks, Cliff Quiroga shared a comment he had received in writing from US-based Sharp Electronics Corporation (SEC) Chairman and President, Toshiyuki Osawa. According to Mr. Osawa, “Sharp Electronics Corporation is proud to be a part of Robolliance. Robolliance gives all participating sponsors the ability to work together as an ecosystem of top-tier technologists, industry specialists and sales channel providers to bring forth vibrant, innovative products and services aptly suited to the changing demands of the security industry. The benefit of collaboration allows each sponsor, like us, to stay focused on their core competencies and collectively enlighten customers on solutions tailored to their needs.” "Robotics is a solution for organisations to liberate manpower to focus on themore demanding, intellectual aspects of security" “There is a growing understanding that “Business Robotics” will play an expanding role in the future of automation and how companies operate”, stated Cliff Quiroga. “The demands on the security industry, both from a manpower and technological standpoint, are growing exponentially. Robotics is a solution for organisations to expand their surveillance coverage in a safe, reliable way and liberate manpower to focus on the more demanding, intellectual aspects of security.” Robolliance sponsors all have a vested interest in advancing the segment and those in attendance echoed Cliff Quiroga’s precept that security is prime for robotics. Bill Bozeman, President and CEO of PSA Security Network and fellow Robolliance sponsor, said “In my 36 years in this space, I’ve seen two or three big game changers that really made an impact on the industry, really made an impact on the dealer’s P&L. I believe this (robotics) to be one.” PSA Security Network is the world’s largest electronic security cooperative and played host to the Robolliance press conference at the Westin Westminster in Westminster, Colorado. PSA also has a strong offering in security integration education and accreditation that is aligned to the purpose of the Robolliance programme. Another Robolliance sponsor, BG (General) William J. Marshall III, has a perspective of autonomous robotics for security shaped by his former military experience and his current role as an Assistant Vice President for Government and Military Relations at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). General Marshall is actively seeking high tech solutions, inclusive of robotics, in his newest role within NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute as Executive Director, Innovation Laboratory for Defense and Homeland Security. Stated General Marshall, “Corporate leadership needs to understand what it means to deploy technology, especially autonomous platforms. Robolliance will support their decision making and deployment. With robotics, we could arrive at a solution that is cheaper, better, faster and safer. The tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant provides an example of why “robotics” are so important to replace and otherwise augment other security considerations.” Three tiers of expert sponsors Three tiers of sponsors comprise the Robolliance. Sponsors can be technology companies working on or with robotic solutions, and some may actually offer robotic components, like Sharp has designed. Sponsors can also be sales channel companies; such as security guard services or security integration corporations as were in attendance at PSA TEC 2016. The powerhouse of the Robolliance are its expert sponsors, whose know-how drives the educational conversation around autonomous robotics in the security space. These professionals have expertise in cybersecurity, law enforcement, robotic standards and testing, technology sales and distribution, engineering, and more. "In the case of robotics for security and surveillance, the technology will be highly disruptive and we need to be ahead of the curve in building understanding" “There’s no doubt, technology is disruptive. Simplistically, every time I upgrade my smartphone there is a feature I must get comfortable using or a glitch I may have to work through”, says Alice DiSanto, Director of Marketing for SRBD. “In the case of robotics for security and surveillance, the technology will be highly disruptive and we as sponsors need to be ahead of the curve in building understanding to ease adoption, streamline implementation and help organisations in search of a security solution find answers. Robolliance can be their resource.” A multitude of excellent information sources exist that address robotics, security integration, surveillance, guarding, autonomy and other topics. Some have actually become Robolliance sponsors. The Robolliance programme was created to bridge the chasm between end-users, sales channel technology providers, and the information necessary to make critical security solutions as they relate to emerging robotics technology.” Robolliance serves this niche. “As someone who has spoken and is speaking about security technology every day, Robolliance is just what I need”, shared Mike Kobelin, Director of Sales (SRBD) and former Board President for PSA. “Robotics is not the first high tech product in my tool kit for large companies looking to strengthen and modernise their security. However with Robolliance, robotics is the first security solution that has a dedicated website and network of professionals working with me to bring awareness to end-users. It’s an ecosystem built on thought leadership and early-adoption advocacy.” Robolliance will feature the Robolliance.com. It will also offer every sponsor offline networking and speaking engagement opportunities that further their interests in robotics, security and surveillance.