Popular consumer technologies, such as robotics, drones, virtual reality and more have been slowly crossing over into the security industry over the past few years. Since 2016, we’ve seen them take off, both in innovation and adoption. Security asked Joe Young, Director of Cloud Monitoring Services for G4S Secure Integration, about these technology trends and what they mean for enterprise security leaders, as well as how virtual reality could change the game of security training.


SECURITY: What types of robots are currently on the market for security applications?

Joe Young: I don't think robots will ever replace humans 100-percent, but the future looks like a healthy blend of robotics, data and humans. In today’s market I see two types of robotics available in the market today: drones and patrolling robots that augment a traditional security officer. These can either be manned or fully autonomous solutions.


SECURITY: What value can they provide the enterprise?

JY: Robots can add an extra set of eyes and additional situational awareness for an enterprise. Robotics can be equipped with additional sensors to detect temperature, humidity, speed, people, objects and other data. You can also select the type of payload depending on the client needs for LIDAR, thermal or a traditional camera lens. These payloads can help a client create heat maps or a 3D model of their facilities. Having access to this data and situational awareness as a part of their overall security strategy can help mitigate against certain risk for a client, reduce officer safety incidents and increase overall security officer efficiencies, which can lead to significant cost savings for a client.


SECURITY: What jobs can robots do that security officers or monitors cannot do?

JY: One simple post order that can be augmented with robotics is a traditional guard tour of a facility. Picture a very large warehouse where the client has one guard that does a tour of the facility every few hours. The client can augment the officer with robotics which allows a very cost-effective way to increase overall security for the warehouse. Now while the robot does its guard tour it can communicate data and video back to the officer. If the robot's sensors detect something in the warehouse the security officer can be dispatched exactly where the robot detected the event. The value is the additional sensors that are available on the robot to detect things faster than a traditional security officer.

Another example is inspections of a perimeter. Sending a security officer to patrol a five-mile fence line can be very challenging and time consuming. Now a client has the ability to remotely deploy a drone to cover this fence line in a fraction of the time. This can also cut down on slips, trips and falls as the security officer who no longer has to walk the five-mile perimeter.

We are seeing more and more robotic start-ups recently. They are focused on building more human-like robotics that can interact with humans vs. just capturing data and being a physical deterrent. Integrating robots with humans will change dramatically in the near future. Currently, robotics are best in environments with minimal human interaction. When more humans are involved, there tend to be more challenges. This will only get better as the robotic technology gets more advanced in the coming years.

You can augment or enhance a security officer with additional technology but not necessarily replace them. Instead, look to build a hybrid – physical and robotic digital officer program. This type of hybrid program will create a more efficient environment and make better use of the physical security officer’s time.


SECURITY: How are gaming technologies, such as virtual or augmented reality, changing how security personnel train for incidents or emergencies?

JY: Active shooter training is one area that I think we will start to see the use of virtual reality in the future. Today an organization usually hires a company to come in and provide active shooter training which can include a simulation to act out an incident on premise. Setting up a simulation requires a good amount of time, resources and can also create additional safety risk to an organization due to slips, trips and falls. In the future we will see hybrid training that can include both on-site simulations and virtual simulations with the use of virtual reality. A client can capture a 3D rendering of their facility and take their employees through active shooter training in a virtual world. This can also be used on demand as new resources are hired or as a mandatory annual training requirement by a client without the need to shut down the entire building to provide on-site training.


SECURITY: What is the difference between an augmented reality and a virtual reality situation?

JY: With a virtual reality training situation, it is a complete virtual environment. With an augmented reality situation, you take bits of digital information and decorate the scene with it.

With augmented reality in the future, as a first responder you could put on Google glasses, walk into a building and instantly see digital information layered over objects as you walk past or interact with them – things like what floor the incident is on, what stairwells are locked, where other first responders are on a map, how many people are still in the building and where they are, etc. You can create a whole heads up display containing digital information. I don't think anyone in the security space is here yet, but there's a lot of potential especially as IoT (the Internet of Things) is on the rise and we can start to collect all of this data in real time and display it to the right people at the right time.


SECURITY: How can enterprises make security more fun and incentivized, such as through gamification? Can you give an example of good security environment with a gaming culture?

JY: Let's look at a security operations center. It’s usually a challenging environment to work in. Day after day, operators sit in a dimly lit room and do the same thing over and over again. The challenge is how to get them energized in that environment. You can create games and competition such as who can close an event fastest, how many false alarms were avoided per day, highest customer satisfaction, highest level of compliance, etc. The goal is to make things more operationally efficient for the organization, as well as the customers by taking the gaming mentality and making it a fun and rewarding environment to work in every day. This helps the culture and keeps people motivated.


Read the first part of this interview with Joe Young, focusing on changes in security analytics, here