GSX 2023: Can You Replace Human Guards with Technology?

By Michael J. Martin | October 5, 2023 | 3 min read
Screenshot 2023 10 02 at 12 57 19 PM

Can you really replace your worst security guards with technology?

How to improve the poor performance of security officers is a question as old as the job itself. For years, companies have complained about poor guard performance, high turnover, and open posts. For years, our industry has tried to solve these problems with training, development, and hiring initiatives. The problems have persisted, however.

What if we could eliminate the need for the lowest-performing five percent of your guard force by replacing them with an efficient, cost-effective solution while creating advanced jobs and a career path for your highest-performing security officers?

This was the subject of Circadian Risk’s panel at GSX this year: Current and Emerging Technology to Optimize and Enhance Your Security Force. In this session, we discussed the trending technologies that are changing the industry, including alternatives to security officers.

Can technology really replace officers?

Everyone who attended our panel at GSX 2023 was concerned with the same issues: poor officer quality, high turnover, and filling vacant posts. These are all issues that can be handled with one of many automated solutions, such as kiosks, card readers, smart cameras, drones, or autonomous robotics.

Such solutions are able to take on the dull, repetitive tasks that you normally assign to your worst-performing staff. They don’t tire, can’t call out sick, and don’t make mistakes. Some can even perform tasks autonomously.

Robotic Assistance Devices, Inc. (RAD), for example, makes a variety of robots that serve various security needs:

  • RADDOG, a dog robot that appeared this year on FOX’s Stars on Mars reality show, is specially designed for the security services and property management industries.

  • SCOT & WALLY are essentially smart kiosks that can be used for exterior and interior verification of employees, visitors and vendors and provide interactive experiences for directions, alerts, safety tests, site rules and one on one conversation with a security agent if needed.

  • AVA is a versatile unit that can be used to allow access for employees, vendors and visitors as well as be equipped on a stanchion at a truck gate to use for vehicles of varying size.

  • ROSA is a camera unit that can be used along a perimeter or outside a building to detect loitering or prevent perimeter breaches. ROSA is equipped to use an escalation of warnings and provide light and sound to deter continued interaction.

  • ROAMEO is a mobile unit that can be used to patrol parking lots, parking structures, courtyards and perimeter to building patrols. ROAMEO is equipped with license plate recognition and can be approached to inquire about directions, report an incident or request to speak with a security dispatch or an operator.

Sure, I can employ a robot, but should I?

We are not suggesting replacing your whole team with technology. Humans will always be necessary. However, technology can take on the tedious tasks that make your high performers want to quit.

Consider the boring tasks you assign to your lowest performers, like sitting in a lobby at night. There are several things that can go wrong in that scenario:

  • Your worst officer might get distracted by their phone and miss something important

  • They might wave someone with no badge through

  • They might leave their post unattended

  • They might call out repeatedly, meaning a high-performing officer will have to fill in for a job that’s a waste of their time

  • Your high performers, having had to do someone else’s job for not much pay, may quit.

If you use an autonomous robot or kiosk to staff the lobby at night, those problems are eliminated. Your low performing officers can be let go, freeing up more pay for high performers. This also creates a new career path for high-level officers, who can be trained to manage the technology.

Getting buy-in for new technology

Getting buy-in for new technology from your top leadership is critical. The best way to get that agreement is to show leaders the bottom-line. Technology saves money: a security officer costs $35 an hour, while leasing a robotic dog is $8 an hour. There are a range of solutions that can be leased, in fact.

Although technology has changed, the basic and fundamentals of physical security have not: people, assets, and sites have always needed to be protected. Over history, we’ve just improved the way we protect those assets, moving from moats and castles to cameras and card readers over centuries. Autonomous technology is simply the next step.

For more information, or to talk to an expert about how you can optimize your guardforce, contact Circadian Risk today.

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