Today’s security ecosystem is constantly evolving to mitigate the threat from the growing sophistication of adversaries. Organizations are employing more sensors, cameras, and various Internet of Things (IoT) devices to cast a digital net over their assets.
This digital revolution that is currently taking place is consistent across every vertical market. However, one area that has lagged in diffusion in the physical security space is the adoption of autonomous machines or robotics. We are beginning to see innovators in the security market pilot various autonomous vehicles for security purposes, but broad adoption has been limited.
The current labor shortage that is plaguing the security industry may be the catalyst that changes the trajectory of adoption. Currently, the demand for security officers is at an all-time high due to the ability to find qualified candidates in the post-COVID society. Autonomous systems such as drones and robots bring adequate reprieve to this shortage.
The advancements in computing over the last decade have allowed for a rapid technological leap in robotic capabilities. Currently, systems are available that can be deployed to a site, configured, and managed remotely from an organization’s Security Operations Center (SOC). However, these capabilities do not come without their growing pains and environmental constraints but are quickly maturing to a level that can augment security postures positively and at cost savings from the legacy approach.
This evolution in security practices does not discount the valuable observe-and-report capabilities a traditional security officer offers but instead can be used to augment services, offering a multi-domain security perspective. The rapid innovation that these technologies bring to an asset will allow security practitioners to begin learning and working alongside these devices. This will hopefully absorb talent from the security industry to service and administer these devices as subject matter experts in the security field, building a workforce of the future in the process.
The return on investment that is realized by employing these devices can change the perception of a security program from a cost center to an innovation hub. The efficiencies that can be created from a patrolling perspective are astronomical. False alarms can plague a property and use countless man-hours to adjudicate and clear. By leveraging an autonomous asset that can respond to that perimeter alarm, human capital can be saved for more valuable or higher-priority tasks.
Additionally, because these devices use high-quality camera systems and are capable of seeing clearly in nighttime environments, the perspective from the device itself adds a more robust capability to a security patrol. This, coupled with the modularity in the payload that exists with most autonomous devices, creates a force multiplier for routine or alarm response patrols.
Legacy systems and methods simply do not have the same capability in vision, thus impacting the total amount of intelligence able to be gathered. If you doubt this statement, just ask yourself how many nighttime security guards operate with night-vision goggles that zoom.
As these devices continue to be engrained in various areas of our society, the acceptance of the technology will grow as well. This has been shown time and again with disruptive technologies. The security industry should welcome these devices and develop practical concepts to apply these resources to daily operations. Today, the security technology revolution is upon us and will create an exciting time for security professionals.
Logan Selby is Vice President of Operations at Asylon Robotics, a full-service robotic perimeter security company. Prior to joining the Asylon team, Selby served in various senior-level roles both in the intelligence community and in the private sector. Currently, he is a PhD Candidate in Information Technology focused on Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems and holds a Master of Science degree in Data Science and Machine Learning from Indiana University. Selby continues to serve as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army Reserves supporting the warfighter around the globe.