As a security service provider with a rich history in manguarding, Allied Universal is launching a new technology platform to increase productivity and accountability of security officers and to transform guard service operations from an ‘observe and report’ mission to a ‘detect and respond’ function.
Mark Mullison, Allied Universal’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), says the new Heliaus platform also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse data, predict outcomes, and prescribe optimum responses. The platform includes a smart phone app that guides security officers to ensure post orders are followed and provides a ‘virtual’ coach or supervisor to guide security officers throughout the day.
“The walls between technology and people need to come down in the future,” says Mullison. “We need an ecosystem in which people and technology can cooperate well and respond to threats and drive outcomes.”
Real-time situational awareness
Technology plays an increasing role in security and safety, but it will never replace humans"Heliaus is a step in that direction. It has two components – the mobile app used by security officers; and a cloud-based portal, like a command and control centre that compiles information from the app and other inputs and performs AI analysis of data. Heliaus is an add-on for Allied Universal customers and is offered for a per-device subscription fee of $199 per month.
A customer company’s managers can also access the portal for data visualisation tools and real-time situational awareness, or to input data such as ‘approving’ an incident report or action. “Technology plays an increasing role in security and safety, but it will never replace humans,” says Mullison. “It will augment and enhance the workflow and make people more effective.”
“We are focussing on delivering better outcomes for safety and security,” he adds. “The impacts are as broad and diverse as the clients we serve.” Customisation of forms enables the system to collect and use any information that was previously collected on paper.
Monitoring and Response Center (MaRC)
A system is effective only to the extent that it is used, and Allied Universal has engineered the user experience to make the mobile app easy – almost fun – to use, says Mullison. Elements of ‘gamification’ drive greater user adoption. “It is designed to support the work [security officers] do and make information collection a by-product of people doing their jobs.”
The system brings together rich data, AI, location-aware workflow automation, and friendly user experience design
Effective AI depends on data, and Heliaus pulls data from Allied Universal’s Monitoring and Response Center (MaRC), where a cloud server integrates the company’s managed security services, including access control, video surveillance and video analytics. It also incorporates current weather information and forecasts, and information specific to the industry segment. Additional data is generated as officers enter data through the mobile app.
The system brings together rich data, AI, location-aware workflow automation, and friendly user experience design. It provides insight into the drivers of risk, makes recommendations about how to reduce incidents, and, through dynamic workflow automation, ensures that those recommendations are implemented. Location awareness is a combination of the global positioning system (GPS), Bluetooth beacons, and near-field communication (NFC) tags.
Improves the accuracy of responses
AI understands the data and applies reasoning capabilities to predict an outcome and prescribe a response“Information is organised to facilitate AI analysis. If you have the right knowledge representation then problem-solving is easy,” says Mullison, echoing a common principle of artificial intelligence.
AI works to analyse data and make predictions and recommendations to guide responses by security personnel. AI understands the data and applies reasoning capabilities to predict an outcome and prescribe a response. The AI system also learns and improves the accuracy of responses with more data and over time. Responses come much faster than older ‘trial and error’ models of analysis.
Another element of Heliaus is a ‘robust workflow engine’ that ensures recommendations are carried out, either by a security professional on site or by the client. Mullison says implementation of the system can result in a 20% reduction of security and safety incidents.
Multiple applications of Heliaus
Heliaus is already being used by some Allied Universal customers. For example, a major Hollywood production studio is using it to identify and address workplace hazards such as stray electrical cords, dripping water hoses, etc., across a 50-acre area.
In the logistics sector, Heliaus is being used to facilitate checking delivery vehicles in and out of a truckyard
A manufacturer created a custom compliance application using the platform to track more than 140 unique incident types, such as monitoring elevated temperature in a truck trailer or drivers without proper identification. In the logistics sector, Heliaus is being used to facilitate checking delivery vehicles in and out of a truckyard.
The flexibility of the platform can enable expansion to incorporate other technologies in the future, too. For example, sources of data for the system could include robots, drones or various Internet of Things (IoT) sensors; or workflow engines could be used to dispatch a robot or drone to handle a situation (rather than a human).