There was a time, not that long ago, when robotics in security was considered a novelty. A company might invest in a unit for optics; it looked good in their headquarters and broadcast that the organization was dedicated to emerging technology.
However, there was no real push to switch to robotics in security. No one was being forced to make a real change. Then the pandemic happened, and now organizations are seriously considering robotics as a way of augmenting their security and guard forces.
Why robotics, and why now?
The pandemic saw many people in the security industry suffer from burnout; essential employees, like security officers, were forced to put their health at risk to take temperatures and handle access control at facilities where people were still working on site.
Suddenly, the concept of a robotic device capable of taking visitors’ temperatures and asking screening questions was much more attractive to decision-makers. Not only would personnel not be exposed to the risk of catching COVID-19, but, a robotic device is less expensive than staffing a post with officers in PPE. On top of that, companies are saving on legal expenses; robots aren’t known for suing for liability issues.
More recently there has been another reason to use robotic devices: the security industry wasn’t exempt from the Great Resignation. A shortage of personnel means organizations can’t hire enough security guards. Robotic devices can help there as well.
Tips for choosing a robotics supplier
It can be daunting to pick a robotics vendor, especially if you are new to robotics. Below are some tips that will help you choose the sort of unit — and the supplier — that meets your security needs.
Identify repeatable processes AI can complete in place of a human. Machines are excellent at the sort of repeatable, tedious, and sometimes boring tasks a human might not enjoy. Look for the tasks your officers might be doing on autopilot (which is a recipe for making mistakes.)
Know how sophisticated you need that process to be. Some devices are capable of more complex processes than others, so it’s important to know if your solution needs to be integrated with other systems, like a tracking program, HR database, or another platform.
Know how much customization you need. Some vendors will work with you to create a solution that meets your needs. In other cases, you may simply be able to get a product right out of the box.
Find out if you can get an agreement for a broken robot. What happens if your new device breaks? Is there a warranty? This may also influence whether you buy or lease; if you’re leasing the robot, and it breaks down, the robot is replaced. If you buy, however, you might not be able to get a replacement.
Know the power requirements. It’s no good if you get a robotic device but then can’t charge it or connect to the Internet. Make sure you are fully aware of the power, wi-fi and cellular requirements for your robot. Know what its backup systems are as well.
But won’t robots replace human officers?
The short answer is no. You can’t replace humans with robots; there are absolutely times where you need a human security officer to handle a complicated or nuanced situation. Insurance also requires that at least one officer is on site, making the rounds.
When you invest in robotics, you’re just augmenting your guard force. Our goal is to free up supervisors and officers so they can be available, not tied down to a post or a GSOC. This will allow them to be more proactive when it comes to their jobs.
Think your company is a candidate for AI and robotics integration into your security program? We can show you your options, and discuss the ROI to your program. Contact us for a security assessment.