Big technology, big questions
Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation. - Dean Kamen
Curious to see a security robot in action? Learn more about Nimbo, our autonomous security sidekick.
Within the last five years, commercialized security robots have come on the scene with full force. Similarly to other recent automation technology (see our last blog post), these innovations raised some big questions:
- Are security robots going to take over human jobs?
- Are these robots safe?
- What are security robots capable of doing (patrols, interacting with humans, etc.)?
- What are the appropriate use cases for this kind of technology?
- Finally, and my personal favorite, will robots take over the world?
These aren't simple, yes or no questions. Okay, maybe the last one is that simple (hint: no one in our space is building the next Terminator). All joking aside, these questions have big ramifications for the security industry and for our society as a whole. Essentially, we're trusting lines of code and modern engineering to protect everything we hold dear.
Great solutions are out there
Despite being in its infancy, the security robotics space has made astounding advancements in innovation. There are already some first-movers in the industry, which have the advantage of setting the standard for capabilities, price point, and establishing a reputation.
The current market players have different approaches to creating somewhat similar solutions. Different approaches have resulted in final products that target a diverse set of niche markets. Here are some examples:
- Mid-level, indoor-only robots that patrol multiple areas after hours, notify control centers of anomalies, and respond accordingly. This is the category where we typically see Nimbo.
- Mid-level, outdoor-only robots that monitor perimeters of large facilities, specializing in remote areas. SMP Robotics is another great example for this niche market.
- High-end, indoor-only robots that patrol one area and offer face-to-face customer service for after hours support. Cobalt Robotics is an awesome example of this.
- High-end, indoor/outdoor robots that patrol one area 24/7 and report anomalies to control centers.
Each market demands a different set of needs. For the mid-level robot market, customers aren't looking for thermal sensors or a custom concierge service, but flexible deployment options and affordability are major benefits. Whereas in the high-end arenas, customers look for as much information as possible: thermal imaging, license plate scanning, concierge services, etc.
The beauty of these different approaches is that despite being a budding industry, the needs of several niche markets are already being met. There is a solution for everyone.
We don't know everything
Technology is a word that describes something that doesn’t work yet. -Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Believe it or not, we don't have the crystal ball that predicts what works and what doesn't. They only way we learn is by doing. That means that a lot can change in a few years or even in a few months.
Jack Schenk, our VP at Turing, recently spoke as a guest on the AI & Security Podcast with Dennis Crowley. During their conversation, Jack touched on the newness of this space, "experts within this developing industry are really just novices."
There's no rulebook on creating the perfect security robot, and we have only just scratched the surface on what we can do with this technology. Our duty is to explore, question, and prototype as a means of finding answers and pushing innovation.
We don't know everything and the technology changes and grows by the day, but that's okay. Our purpose is to create the right tools that allow humans to be more human, and we're doing just that.