A few weeks ago, our team attended one of the largest annual security events in the North America: ISC West in Las Vegas.
At the show, we spoke to end users, integrators, and security experts. In this article, you'll get an idea of what features are in high demand for security robots. Some features you might've already seen on the market, and others are still on the horizon.
Not to say it isn't possible, as there are a few outdoor solutions on the market, but there is yet to be an outdoor solution that is affordable and adaptable.
Current outdoor security robots are very expensive. Weather and durability become big factors in a robot's design, but there are also other implications.
Outdoor robots are required to create a 3D map of the environment. That means 3D Lidar sensors must be used to generate the map. Not only are 3D Lidars more expensive, but they generate hundreds of thousands of data points every second - compared to only a few thousand per second on a 2D Lidar.
Processing a lot of data requires more computational horsepower. In turn, this eats up more battery power. Think of it this way:
More data = bigger, faster computers = bigger batteries = higher cost
For teams investing in security robotics, flexibility is key. Robots needs to be customizable and able to patrol multiple locations without any heavy configurations.
For example, a security team may use a robot to patrol the office lobby by day and the parking garage by night. Moving the robot to different floors, buildings, or locations should be quick and intuitive.
One of the first questions we are asked is regarding the battery life of our robots. Granted, it is an important question, but what's more important is how it charges.
Regardless of whether a single charge lasts 4 hours or 4 days, it's critical that the robot can autonomously charge itself and continue patrolling. For large patrols or remote locations, sending an officer to manually charging the robot is more hassle than it's worth.
Integrating with access control has been a popular request as of late. Security teams want to use access control to allow the robot to unlock and open doors, as well as authorizing visitors in restricted areas.
For multi-level facilities, elevator integration is a must. Although this requires the elevator to have IoT functionality, it allows one robot to patrol several floors at a time - which can save customers even more money in the long run.
For now, these integrations are on the horizon. Creating a successful integration is dependent on several moving parts, such as the manufacturer and their API standards, internet connectivity, and product specifications.
In addition to intelligent video analytics, certain facilities could benefit from other types of data collection. Here are other types of sensors that have been discussed:
Devices on the premises (tracked via MAC address)
The wrap-up: security robotics is a new frontier
There's a beauty in working with emerging technology. It's the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality that comes with exploring new applications and new features.
As with any project, it's critical to remain steadfast in the long-term vision. However, the day-to-day iterations and prototypes demand flexibility and quick feedback loops.
As the industry continues to move toward automation, we'll see new features crop up on the horizon and others will become a thing of the past.