In today’s world, the unfortunate reality is that businesses, schools and other organizations need to be prepared in the event of an active shooter. The problem clearly isn’t going away anytime soon. For example, despite the fact that many Americans have largely sheltered at home during the bulk of the COVID-19 outbreak, the total number of gun deaths in 2020 is at 40,000 and counting, surpassing previous years by wide margins.
Gun safety isn’t a new issue in the U.S., of course — it’s a hot-button political issue, to say the least. Regardless, there is no debate that every organization wants to keep its community safe. So, like almost every other aspect of life that has undergone transformational change over the past decade, the main driver of change in the immediate term will be cutting-edge technology.
Artificial Intelligence is All Around Us
The use of artificial intelligence [AI] is poised to skyrocket in the coming years. Gartner predicts that by next year, 80% of emerging technologies will have AI foundations, while demand for AI talent has doubled in the past two years.
The advantages of AI are clear - It helps reduce human error, it's available 24 hours a day, and it speeds up processes that are mundane and time-consuming when performed manually. So what does this mean for gun safety? Simply stated, AI is poised to prevent dangerous active shooter situations and quickly alert those who are in danger before a single shot is even fired.
Gun Safety’s Big Breakthrough: AI-Powered Visual Detection
Video surveillance systems are widely deployed across a variety of organizations, but monitoring them can be difficult, unreliable and, quite frankly, expensive. Advancements in AI offers always-on monitoring with unparalleled reliability at a price point affordable to organizations of all sizes and complexities.
The software integrates with existing video surveillance systems to visually detect potential active shooter situations. Once detected, administrators are sent an image with precise details about the shooter, the weapon, the time and the location for verification and to determine the appropriate response. AI helps parse through the data fog to make sure the right people receive the right information at the right time. Advanced EMNS systems can also provide contextual information based on an individual’s specific situation, such as whether they are in immediate danger based on their physical location.
Many organizations and institutions have some form of an emergency mass notification system [EMNS] in place, but the addition of artificial intelligence provides safety teams with the broadest array of solutions, spanning prevention, notification, engagement, and management. With a single click, an organization can initiate pre-defined safety protocols, reducing the time from first sighting to alerting to a handful of seconds. So, while it’s naive to think that current technology can prevent all shooting events, if an organization can shave valuable seconds off the time it takes to respond, it would be downright negligent to ignore the technology that enables them to do so.