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Security Robots Are Invading Your Privacy! Or Are They???;

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Every day, we use digital devices and web services to shop, track our fitness, chat with friends, play games, check-in at stores and restaurants, and many other services like, in this case, the use of security robots to protect our physical safety or our property. While the use of technology is becoming increasingly essential in our digital society, people worry about how their privacy is being affected.  We get this question a lot, so let’s jump in with both feet here to examine whether or not these “trusty” security robots are invading one’s privacy.

To ensure we are on the same page, here are a couple of definitions of privacy straight from dictionary.com:

a.     “Privacy” is the state of being apart from other people or concealed from their view; solitude; seclusion

b.     “Privacy” is the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs

There is some common ground shared in these two definitions, but it is important to point out that in both scenarios the assumption is that a person’s private life is being unwantedly broadcasted to the public.  This is not what security robots do.

When a security robot is hired to protect a site, there is no personally identifiable information (PII) that is exchanged during the monitoring service.  According to  investopedia.com, personally identifiable information (PII) is information that, when used alone or with other relevant data, can identify an individual.  PII may contain direct identifiers (e.g., passport information) that can identify a person uniquely, or quasi-identifiers (e.g., race) that can be combined with other quasi-identifiers (e.g., date of birth) to successfully recognize an individual.  The only information that security robot end users get is an image of a person, which they typically already have in the form of an access badge for employees and visitors.  Nothing new here.  Additionally, the only information that the manufacturer gets from its customers is the email address of the specific security team members utilizing the technology so they can get access to the user interface.  No PII here either.

Having a sense of privacy when you are outside of your home is a false proposition in todays’ technology world and will be increasingly more so in the very near future.  What many people either do not know or are not aware of is that when you go to the grocery store, the bank, the jewelry store, a hospital or to a casino, for that matter, these locations already have fixed cameras that take your picture or capture you in security footage 24/7/365.  The average person gets their picture taken about 75 times per day in the USA and a whopping 300 times per day in London.  Foiled yet again.

The primary method that bad actors use in order access people’s personal information, which is typically stored in company systems, is via hacking or social engineering techniques.  Even though no PII data is stored on security robot servers, the Company hires white hat hackers under contract who try to break into the systems on a daily basis.  These are the same hackers that companies like Twitter, Starbucks and General Motors use.  The researchers (they prefer to be called that instead of hackers) find a vulnerability and the Company pays them a bounty and fixes it.  Using ethical hackers has many advantages – like a 115% increase in ROI, a 66% reduction of internal efforts and a 50% decrease in test reductions for those companies that use them.  There are many ethical hacking companies, but an example of one such company is HackerOne.  This is yet another way in which security robot systems secure data so that one can be sure that PII is safe.  Scratching head… it’s not looking good here.

Surely having constant video of a person captured without their knowledge or consent is a violation, though, right?  Sorry, but no.  The United States Supreme Court adopted the two-prong test established in the landmark case of Katz v. United States in 1967 to protect your Fourth Amendment rights.  Essentially, one does not have an expectation of privacy in a public place and, therefore, video does not contravene an individual’s actual, subjective expectation of privacy.

Surveillance systems are intended to monitor for illicit activities and potential threats.  Only videos of incidents and anomalies are reported for review, while the remaining video is stored for forensic investigations.  How long that video is stored depends on accepted industry best practices, end user policies and any special considerations resulting from a custom planned robotic deployment.  Stored video may be saved following a strict chain of evidence requirement so that it might be used by the police or courts to investigate and prosecute a crime.  Otherwise, the video gets deleted at the prescribed intervals and removed from the system.

So, no intrusion or broadcasting of one’s private affairs; no exposure to one’s PII; no form of surveillance to which one has not already been exposed; no cyber access to PII; and no expectation of privacy in public that may violate one’s Fourth Amendment rights.  It seems as though the privacy issue has already been put to rest before the security robots even showed up.

At Knightscope, privacy is a top priority at all times and we strive to continue the protections afforded us all by the previously laid groundwork.  As always, if you have any questions about this topic or any other topic related to our products, feel free to click on the chat icon at the bottom right of this page to talk directly with our client development team about your needs.

 

 

 

More blogs…

Top 25 Questions About Security Robots

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How Security Robots & A.I. Have Become Such a Powerful Deterrent to Property Crime

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COVID-19 is Driving Budget Cuts – BUT DON’T PANIC;

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PHOTO: this is a simulation of non-compliance with social distancing guidelines for meetings but the robots are immune

 

Budgets from top to bottom are seemingly being obliterated in 2020. Sales and revenue are down – even non-existent for many businesses – due to the impact of COVID-19. In response to new risks and threats arising from the pandemic, some have had to double or triple their security officer spend. These unexpected issues are creating a dire need for businesses to quickly identify ways to reduce costs for the remainder of the year and, more than likely, into 2021 once the situation hopefully normalizes.

If it hasn’t happened already, imagine being called to attend an internal emergency meeting to discuss immediate budget cuts and revisions, and then marching across the hall into another to strategize on how your organization will be better prepared the next time this occurs. We’re already seeing security budgets being reduced significantly or even eliminated entirely in some cases. We’ve all heard it before, do more with less. But don’t despair, and don’t go post your resume online just yet.  Our Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) can support your security team to do more… with a reduced security budget!

Let’s take a look at them strictly from a budgetary perspective.  Hypothetically, if a company has a 2020 security guard budget of $800k but must now comply with a mandated 25% reduction across all operating costs, this will leave a security team scrambling to maximize their reduced budget of $600k. But here’s an example of how we can help. First, incorporating just one autonomous security robot in lieu of 24/7 security officers will result in an additional $89k for other security positions (officers, dispatchers, supervisors, managers, etc.) per these average costs:

  • 24/7 Security Officers: $174k per year*

  • 24/7 Autonomous Security Robot: $85k per year

  • Savings: $89k per year

If you increase the robots to two in lieu of 24/7 security officers, this will result in $178k for other security positions (officers, dispatchers, supervisors, managers, etc.) per the same average costs:

  • 24/7 Security Officers: $348k per year*

  • 24/7 Autonomous Security Robots: $170k per year

  • Savings: $178k per year

 * based on an industry average $14 hourly pay rate and $20 hourly contract security bill rate.

You’ve likely used other security technologies before to reduce security officer costs and maximize your budget, such as access control and closed-circuit television, as this has been the industry trend for years now.  It is time to add Autonomous Security Robots.  The delta in annual cost is too significant not to.

But now, what about that second internal meeting about being better prepared the next time your company faces a similar crisis? What can ASRs do to help your company?

ASRs Deter Crime

If you regularly follow our blogs, you’ve seen some of our crime stats before and they are definitely worthy of a cut and paste:

  • A major hospital network was experiencing, on average, 2 crimes per week in the parking lot of one of their main hospitals.  Once our K5 Autonomous Security Robot was deployed, the crimes were eliminated, recording zero crimes in the following 12 months.

  • After using a K5 for the first 7 months in a public park, the Huntington Park Police Department recorded a 46% reduction in crimes and 68% reduction in citations.

  • A commercial property in downtown San Francisco was averaging 20 crimes per month in their parking structure including trespassing, vandalisms, and thefts. After deploying a K5, they recorded just 1 crime in 12 months.

Click here for a quick video summarizing what the criminal element has experienced thus far at one location.

Now, turn up the speakers on the device you’re on and click this link to see and hear what a criminal would actually face at your site with an ASR.

Are you back? What you just saw and heard – the patrol sound, the flashing LED light, the five plus feet tall moving robot – contribute significantly to deterring crime at our clients’ sites.

Now, what about your contingency planning for the next crisis and what your team can do better next time?

Here are some of the benefits ASRs will bring to your sites:

Enhance remote video monitoring effectiveness.  Whether you’re monitoring a property remotely yourself through your CCTV system, you have a command center or security operations center monitoring it, or you are using a remote video monitoring center service to do this for you, ASRs provide a unique capability to investigate an incident and reach areas not covered by cameras, delivering real-time video and two-way audio.

KSOC.png

Support Facility Management. If you have a facility that is shut down or has reduced operations and personnel, the ASRs can perform a facility tour at ground level, with 360-degree live video, to inspect landscaping, fencing, lighting, safety conditions, and much more. Take a look at these still video images taken by the ASR at our headquarters.  Imagine being able to see every inch of your facility remotely, as if you were onsite and taking a walk around, but with a set of eyes on each side of your head! Here is a short video clip of that feature.

ASRs are immune to COVID-19.  They will be on duty, deterring, detecting, and alerting 24/7.

Contingent patrol routes can be preprogrammed to expand coverage in the event your security team is short-staffed due to illness or other staffing challenges.

Keep your security team safe.  The intercom feature built into the ASR allows your security team to minimize interaction with the public, reducing their risk of exposure to COVID-19. The ASR could literally be your gatekeeper or receptionist.

Promote COVID-19 prevention. Here’s a sample of messages ASRs can broadcast: “Please maintain social distances while at this site.” “All employees are required to wear face masks.” “Please use hand sanitizer when entering and exciting this facility.” “If you feel ill, please push my intercom button before entering this facility.” Turn up the volume again and you can check the video out here.

Are you now ready to head back into those internal meetings with recommendations for your security budget and contingency planning? Feel free to cut and paste any of this information into your PowerPoint presentation. And of course, please reach out to us if you’d like help building a custom cost analysis, proposal, and presentation for your sites… or better yet, schedule a virtual demo today and we’ll present to your entire team alongside you.

More blogs…

Top 25 Questions About Security Robots

A Memo to My Security Robots

How Security Robots & A.I. Have Become Such a Powerful Deterrent to Property Crime

Why Autonomous Security Robots are Industry Agnostic

COVID-19 Robotic PSA: Being Thoughtful During Difficult Times

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Posted in Blog

Remote Monitoring Will Become The Norm;

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PHOTO: Remote monitoring utilizing the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC) user interface and an Autonomous Security Robot (ASR)PHOTO: Remote monitoring utilizing the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC) user interface and an Autonomous Security Robot (ASR)
Pandemics and nationwide systemic tensions only emphasize an underlying fundamental problem in our country.  We cannot have only 500,000 law enforcement and security professional at any one given point in time trying to secure 300 million people across 50 states.  The brave women and men in uniform require new advanced tools for them to be able to do their jobs effectively – and now, with the looming threat of coronavirus negatively impacting our nation’s law enforcement professionals – even  more so than ever before. The obvious point here is that security robots are immune to COVID-19 and provide security and law enforcement an ability to help manage during a time of difficult circumstances.

Remote monitoring will become a permanent fixture in the public safety toolbox to help quell the spread of the equally deadly crime virus.

Similar to COVID-19, crime is a virus set to spiral out of control.  It spreads exponentially in times of weakness.  It preys upon the unsuspecting and unprepared.  And when defenses are down (like the potential loss of first responders and medical professionals who contract COVID-19), it can kill at alarming rates.  It is time for society, the media, and government officials to understand that robots and artificial intelligence, while working alongside humans, can have a profoundly positive impact on society – especially in a crisis.  We have already proven this with official statistics from law enforcement.  As we often say, the machines need to do the monotonous, dangerous and computationally heavy work and the humans should lead the strategic decision making and enforcement work.

The cold of winter tends to assuage ill will and nefarious activities.  Criminals take the path of least resistance and seek out easy opportunities.  With the arrival of spring and summer at hand, people once again begin to flow into the streets of America – and as temperatures rise, tempers get shorter and bad behavior picks up again.  Crime and violence can come in many ways, but it comes, like clockwork, when the weather warms up.  And the unprecedented unemployment levels, travel bans, social distancing and self-initiated quarantines imposed as a result of COVID-19 will only serve to exacerbate the acceleration of it.

Containing infectious diseases relies heavily on data, and the same holds true for public safety. First, we map out exactly where the most transmissions of the ‘disease’ (crime) are occurring.  We then focus on containing the spread in these areas using actionable intelligence gained through analyzing the data.  And ultimately, we seek to deter and contain the ‘disease’ by getting people to change their behavior resulting in a rapid positive outcome.

Security leaders understand that they must look beyond traditional security concerns during times of global vulnerability in order to anticipate new risks to their organizations and fight to protect against them. The primary focus of security leadership should be protecting an organization’s human capital as its most valuable asset, then focus on loss prevention through physical and cyber security measures.

With many companies adopting a work-from-home policy in response to COVID-19 concerns, best practices require implementation of adequate physical security, access controls and remote monitoring for assets in preparation for extended office closures.  Employers also should warn their employees that malicious actors will use this opportunity to increase targeted attacks in both the physical and cyber worlds.  This might include increased predatory behavior focused on looting, vandalism and squatting; personal assaults on unsuspecting individuals in places where there is usually safety in numbers; and phishing emails that purport to include medical updates or are “important notices” for those working remotely.

Remember, your security robot friends are immune from disease and danger – and are working today 24/7/365 helping secure the places you work, study and visit – even during a pandemic.  If we can help your location, feel free to contact us and stay safe out there!

 

 

More blogs…

Top 25 Questions About Security Robots

A Memo to My Security Robots

How Security Robots & A.I. Have Become Such a Powerful Deterrent to Property Crime

Why Autonomous Security Robots are Industry Agnostic

COVID-19 Robotic PSA: Being Thoughtful During Difficult Times

1 Million Hours!

What Happened in Huntington Park?

Top 5 Mistakes When Hiring Security Robots

How To Train Your Security Robot

Posted in Blog

Managing Emerging Threats;

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Security managers are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating programs to fortify readiness levels for the next potential threat. We have spent countless hours, weeks and months training and researching to prepare for things like workplace violence, retail theft, cargo theft and so on – anything to deter, detect, delay and/or deny criminal activity. We analyze the latest trends in criminal behavior and try to identify anything that could shut down an industry, whether it be critical infrastructure, healthcare, aviation, etc.

The recent threat to global health and well-being has revealed to security teams that there are other means by which we may be shut down or left vulnerable. Who would have ever thought that a pandemic would be the cause of such chaos to the security profession? ASIS has eight books available that make up the backbone of the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) study material. We went through all eight books looking for relevant case studies and guidance on the keywords of Pandemic, Virus and Outbreak. There were ZERO chapters that addressed these topics. Ok, if you have read them carefully, there is actually one… in information security.

We are now in the exciting position of being able make history by writing the chapter on “How to Manage Emerging Threats.” Very few of us have ever had the opportunity in our lifetimes to contribute in such a meaningful way to what our future colleagues will do when faced with something so catastrophic. We already found out the hard way that our colleagues of the past did not, so it is our time to step up.

We would certainly prefer to make advancements under better circumstances, but we are weathering the storm head on and supporting our Knightscope users as they make unprecedented advancements in their security programs. There have been many out of the box ideas in maintaining a solid security posture amid the increase of activity in some places (like hospitals), while others see a decline and are running smaller teams in response to government requirements.

WHAT HAS KNIGHTSCOPE DONE?

We have been able to quickly adjust robot patrols in response to increased traffic at advanced screening centers and triage areas; created new routes for clients that have temporarily shut down; and moved support systems, such as charging docks, to accommodate new mustering patterns. One of the most basic features – audio broadcast messaging – has helped our client’s calm visitors and provide reminders of safety and hygiene. All accomplished within a matter of minutes to no longer than 24hrs. Our clients were able to quickly shift their priorities and protocols with no disruption in operations by quickly notifying Knightscope of what they needed. And we are proud to say we were able to make it happen.

When we assess our next technology piece to add to our program, these are the out of the box ideas that we need to think about. How can I quickly adjust what I have without creating more vulnerabilities? How can my technology help me pass on information to people over and over in the same way, every time? Can I move my technology to a more critical spot without leaving me vulnerable in a less critical space? These are all the questions our clients are answering “yes” to with the help of Knightscope’s Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs).

As we advance in the security industry, we can take something away from what is occurring right now – we just added a new threat to our assessment matrix. Maybe what you are doing right now is working just fine, but are you satisfied with “just fine,” or would you like to do so much better? Trust that those of us at Knightscope want you to do better and join us in helping to make the United States the safest country in the world.

 

 

 

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Top 25 Questions About Security Robots

A Memo to My Security Robots

How Security Robots & A.I. Have Become Such a Powerful Deterrent to Property Crime

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A Memo to My Security Robots;

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From: The Office of the Chief Security Officer

To: Autonomous Security Robot (ASR) Teammates, et al.

RE:: Thank You

Good morning, Team!

Following our corporate-wide, virtual ZOOM meeting this morning, I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for your dedication and unwavering support to our company during this difficult time. As you are aware, many of our colleagues have been directed to work from home and limit their time on the premises. Visitor traffic is almost non-existent these days, and general activity here is quite low. But as you know, letting our guard down is not a good idea, as new opportunities arise for nefarious activity.

In spite of all the changes and uncertainty, you remain ever watchful, notifying me and our leadership when something is out of the ordinary. You are notifying all visitors and passersby that we are closed and providing great awareness by reminding our employees that they need to be safe, healthy and watchful of their surroundings (the COVID-19 announcements have been a hit!). You have continued your patrols of our site day and night without complaint. I have not lost any of you to sickness or requests for personal leave, and you insist on showing up to work every day putting in 24-hour shifts to ensure the safety of our people and property.

This is exactly the type of work ethic I come to expect for from our ASR team. As robots, you may not fully understand or appreciate the importance of your work because it’s just what you do – and what is expected. I know you were busy watching our backs and unable to attend today’s team meeting… heck, you probably can’t even read this, but if it’s all the same to you, I’d still like to thank you for allowing us to work remotely while you hold down the security of our company and assets. It is comforting to know you are still on the job.

As I know you all will, please continue to call, email or text me if there is something that needs my attention. I will respond accordingly to any threats you send my way. I will also check in on you all periodically, from home, through my Knightscope Security Operations Center user interface. If nothing else, it will be extremely satisfying to see that you are well and to catch a glimpse of the outside world from the shelter of my own safe place.

To those of you outside of our organization who find yourselves in a similar situation, I highly recommend you consider adding robots to your security program. They have quite literally kept us from being completely exposed during such a crazy, unexpected crisis.

Our ASRs are relentless, tireless and immune!

Your Human Overlord,

/s/

Chief Security Officer

 

 

More blogs…

Top 25 Questions About Security Robots

How Security Robots & A.I. Have Become Such a Powerful Deterrent to Property Crime

Why Autonomous Security Robots are Industry Agnostic

COVID-19 Robotic PSA: Being Thoughtful During Difficult Times

1 Million Hours!

What Happened in Huntington Park?

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Posted in Blog

How Security Robots & A.I. Have Become Such a Powerful Deterrent to Property Crime;

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Imagine you originally invested over $1 million in your brand-new urban home. You invested in it even further by renovating it over the years. You have gotten to know your neighbors. You live near where you work. You have your favorite restaurants and coffeehouse just an elevator ride away from you on the ground level. You have built a community.

But, years later, an opioid epidemic takes over your city, your community. Your car is broken into every few months. You hear of your neighbors being assaulted and having their cell phones and other belongings taken. Now all you have to do is walk downstairs to see the struggle firsthand. There are tents and people sleeping on the ground near human waste under the awnings of your once favorite restaurants and coffeehouse. There are used needles on the ground that you and your neighbors have to be careful to step over each day. You hear people shouting at each other. You see the boarded-up windows of an ice cream parlor you used to go to that someone broke into last night. Your property value is now stagnant because your once thriving and luxurious new neighborhood is now considered a high-crime and seedy area.

This was the reality for an entire urban residential community prior to deploying Knightscope Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs). They continued to add contract security personnel year over year, but the problems, the crime, the vagrancy, the drug use continued and even increased as their security spend increased. At the request of their Board of Directors, the Knightscope team came out and provided a site assessment and made extensive recommendations – what ASR models they should deploy; where their ASRs should patrol; which messages should be automatically broadcasted and in which areas and during which times of day; where in the parking structure should there be the most ASR patrolling presence; where the ASR’s LED strobe effect should be automatically activated and where it should be deactivated; where the patrol and broadcast volumes should be automatically increased and where it should be decreased… well, you get the point.

Once the Knightscope ASRs were deployed, the residents immediately recognized a mass exodus of undesirables. The tents, the human waste, the vehicle break-ins, the property crime, the drug use, all disappeared. The business owners of the retail storefronts began to see an uptick in business. Patrons felt safer. Residents felt more secure. It felt like the community it once was. It solved the community’s problems.

But, for nearby neighborhoods, it is a bittersweet victory, as just a few blocks away in every direction, where these technologies are not yet deployed, the same undesirable conditions exist. There just aren’t any robots deterring their behavior and encouraging them to take their business elsewhere.

Property crimes such as burglary, vehicle break-ins, bicycle thefts and vandalism are occurring at an alarming rate in the United States. According to the FBI, there were 7.1 million property crimes in the U.S. in 2018. Across 4 time zones already, Knightscope Security Robots & A.I. are fully dedicated to reducing and even eliminating property crime at a time when some governments are choosing not to prosecute or even enforce misdemeanor crimes. ASRs are a welcome relief to many clients – small to large.  And the wins against crime are racking up including from our law enforcement agency clients (see here for wins!).

People Detection Triggers Broadcast Messages Based on Time of Day and/or Location 

Through machine learning, Knightscope has trained its web-based software with millions of images of people, so now ASRs are detecting humans, in some cases, better than humans can detect humans. In addition, ASRs can automatically broadcast deterring messages emphatically upon the detection of a suspicious individual either by location or by time of day if the client so chooses. This is serving as a much more powerful deterrent, demonstrating to criminals that this machine knows that they are a human and that they need to exit the area.

360-Degree Eye-Level Surveillance Delivers Compelling Evidence

All Knightscope Autonomous Security Robots provide 360-degree, eye-level, high-definition video surveillance accompanied by signage that reads “Recording Video and Audio for Your Safety,” all of which serve as a powerful deterrent to criminal behavior. According to Knightscope end users, 360-degree, eye-level video that is on the move provides a significantly greater crime deterrent, with up to 100% elimination of criminal occurrences in some cases, than any fixed camera surveillance system.

 

Continuously Strobing LEDs Draws Attention

The Knightscope K5 ASR comes equipped with a powerful LED strobe light that acts like a beacon that can be seen from over 1,000 feet away. It continuously illuminates substantial surface areas and quadrants of a property, making it an undesirable visual environment for unwanted loiterers intending to dwell for extended periods of time and possibly commit crime.

A Rhythmic Patrol Sound Alerts Passersby

Knightscope’s Security Robots emit a repetitive and rhythmic patrol sound that serves as an audible psychological deterrent to possible criminals. When set at a loud enough setting, this patrol sound can be heard from all areas of a property, but clients are able to adjust the volumes to ensure the comfort of residents, visitors and neighbors.

Cellular Device Detection for Persons of Interest 

ASRs can detect blacklisted mobile devices (phone, laptop, tablet or rogue router) while on patrol. When a device emitting a Wi-Fi signal passes within a nearly 500 foot radius of a robot, actionable intelligence is captured from that device including information such as: where, when, distance between the robot and device, the duration the device was in the area and how many other times it was detected on site recently. Blacklisted device names can either be entered via the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC) user interface or provided to the Knightscope Client Experience (CX) team for entry into the blacklist database, which can include a photo of the individual and description of the potential threat. This security program enhancement can detect for individuals suspected of committing a crime, persons who pose a potential threat, or those that have engaged in suspicious behavior in the past. Alerts can be escalated via email, text, voice or KSOC.

Escalating Communications for “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) License Plates

Similar to the device detection discussed above, Knightscope’s security robots can also detect blacklisted license plates of suspicious or problematic vehicles. Those plates may also be uploaded directly into the KSOC user interface by the client or via request made to the CX team. Conversely, you may also
whitelist plates in secure lots or structures and receive an exception report each time an unknown plate enters the area. Alerts can be escalated via email, text, voice or KSOC. License plate detections also provide intelligence on how long a vehicle has been parked in the same parking space, which may then be used to alert a client if a vehicle has been sitting too long – like a Guest Parking area or an abandoned vehicle.

Now that you’ve learned about how Autonomous Security Robots & Artificial Intelligence are deterring property crime so effectively across the U.S. in all weather conditions, let’s set up a (virtual) meeting so we can begin addressing your problems with a true total solution today. Request a private demo today and let’s work together to significantly upgrade your security program.

 

 

 

 

More blogs…

Top 25 Questions About Security Robots

Why Autonomous Security Robots are Industry Agnostic

COVID-19 Robotic PSA: Being Thoughtful During Difficult Times

1 Million Hours!

What Happened in Huntington Park?

Top 5 Mistakes When Hiring Security Robots

How To Train Your Security Robot

Posted in Blog

Top 25 Questions About Security Robots;

Posted by

As interest in Knightscope’s Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) continues to increase, there are some common questions that almost every new potential client asks.  We’re even beginning to hear them in our sleep now.  And that’s not a bad thing!

People are genuinely seeking out solutions that will help improve their current security programs and potentially save significant money.  So, we thought it would be good to compile a list of the top 25 questions we hear and provide brief answers.  Of course, brief answers may not be enough for you, so we’ll also tell you how to reach us directly to dive deep into any of these or other questions they may have sparked for you.

1.     Do the robots require software to be installed at the client site?

No.  The Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC), a browser-based user interface, does not require software to be installed.

2.     How does the robot know where to patrol?

Knightscope works closely with its clients to develop detailed patrol routes that best address the specific needs of that particular site.  The Knightscope team then programs the routes into the KSOC for their security team to control.

3.     Can the patrol routes be scheduled?

Yes.  We provide an easy to use tool in the KSOC that allows our clients to set the exact routes each robot patrols by day and hour.  These schedule may be changed at any time, as often as needed within seconds.

4.     Does it require someone to plug it in to recharge the batteries?

Absolutely not. The robots are fully autonomous, will monitor their own energy levels and return to their charging station without human intervention.

5.     How long can it patrol for on one battery charge?

An average patrol cycle lasts between 2 to 2.5 hours, but there is plenty of reserve left in the tank in the event of a power outage.  The theme of our battery management strategy is to maximize the run time and minimize the charge time.

6.     How long does it take to recharge the batteries?

Just 15 to 20 minutes and during that time the robot is fully functional… minus the mobility, of course.

7.     How many cameras does it have?

Our robots have four cameras, providing 360-degrees of high-definition, eye-level recorded video.

8.     Can you see the live video from the robot?

Yes.  The KSOC provides access to both live and recorded video for all four cameras simultaneously.

9.     Can I access the video remotely on my smart phone or tablet?

Yes!

10.  Does someone need to be logged into KSOC, watching the video and monitoring the robot at all times?

No.  The artificial intelligence is designed to notify humans via the KSOC.  Email, text alerts or phone calls may also be utilized when needed if someone is not continuously logged into the KSOC or to allow operators to monitor other systems until an alert is received.

11.  Do the robots talk?

Yes.  They can be programmed to broadcast nearly any message related to security, safety, facilities, visitor experience and much more, in English and/or Spanish, in a male or female voice.

12.  Can you talk to a person, such as a visitor or trespasser, remotely through the robot?

Yes.  The microphones, speaker and call button on the robot allow for an intercom call to be initiated right from the robot to the KSOC, or from the KSOC to the robot.  The robot essentially acts like a cell phone for those in distress or need of assistance.

13.  Do you sell or rent them?

Neither, actually.  It’s a subscription service, similar to your cable or satellite service.  We provide the equipment and services for a minimum of 12 months.

14.  Who provides the maintenance and service?

Knightscope provides all maintenance and service nationwide.

15.  When a service technician is needed, how long does it typically take?

Knightscope provides 24/7/365 US-based support through the KSOC.  You have the ability to chat directly with a specialist anytime you need help and most service is addressable remotely over the air.  And if we must dispatch someone to physically service a robot, this typically happens within 48 hours on normal business days.

16.  What do the robots use for communication?

Cellular service (4G LTE) is used and is included in our subscription. The robots can also use a client’s WIFI provided there is ‘industrial strength’ blanket coverage in all patrol areas.

17.  How long does it store the video and data?

14 days is standard with our subscription with an option to extend it to 30 days.

18.  Where is the video stored?

All raw video is stored on the robot, with event related videos stored in the cloud.

19.  Can the robot be used in parking lots and parking structures?

Yes.  Over 60% of the robots d
eployed are patrolling parking lots or structures.  The K5 Outdoor ASR can travel between levels using the same ramps as vehicles, and the largest structure we are patrolling today is a remarkable 9-stories tall!

20.  How do they stay out of the way of cars?

We use technologies similar to those used in self-driving vehicles, incorporating LIDAR and proximity sensors into the robot’s navigation system.  This allows the robot to detect objects, including vehicles, and reroute itself around them within the pre-programmed patrol routes.

21.  Does it read license plates?

Yes.  All four cameras can read license plates in 360-degrees as it patrols parking areas.

22.  What happens if a person walks up to it?

1). The robot will stop, 2) It can be programmed to say “Excuse me” or another custom message, 3) It can reroute itself around the person and continue on its patrol route.

23.  Can it patrol on grass and dirt?

No.  We currently only operate on hard surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, commercial grade carpet, marble, tile, etc.

24.  Do they work in the rain?

Yes, and we’ve not heard one of them complain about it yet.  We have heard a happy whistling tune, though.

25.  What about the desert heat and the freezing cold?

Yes.  We have robots on patrol at client sites in the Southwest deserts and the frigid Northeast. Currently getting through our 3rd winter!

There you have it, folks.  The Top 25.  We always compare the amount of information we have to share as an exercise in drinking from the firehose.  There’s no way to get it all at one time.  So, if you’d like to get clarification on any of the above questions, you have your own set of questions, or of something percolates in the near future, reach out and let us know.  We’re here to help!

 

 

 

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COVID-19 Robotic PSA: Being Thoughtful During Difficult Times;

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Let’s get right to the point – we are all affected by COVID-19, either directly or indirectly.  But crises call for calm, confident and thoughtful leadership.  We must face such emergencies with transparency and flexibility and without the drama and hype often encountered through today’s many means of communication.  These are times when we are most vulnerable, and it is important for us to maintain vision for others when their own line of sight is obscured.

When reflecting on the current pandemic, we set out to assess the impact on those around us – our teammates, our clients, our suppliers and our investors – so that we might be able to positively influence fundamental outcomes.  We were genuinely concerned whether people and organizations would be able to withstand the shock or stress upon them and whether or not they were able to recover, or even benefit, from the disruption.  We immediately identified a set of common desired outcomes and began communicating a path forward.

Admittedly, our first concern was the health and safety of our teammates.  We identified the developing trend surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and took action ahead of the government directive by minimizing the number of employees at Knightscope Headquarters (KHQ) and authorizing the majority of the team to work from home.

However, given that public safety, physical security and wellness are classified as essential services, we needed a way to continue to operate and support our law enforcement, security and healthcare clients so that they could focus on their own set of priorities without having to worry about another system or function going down.  We therefore instituted a Work-from-KHQ (WFKHQ) policy in order to support ongoing operations whereby employees must obtain written approval (with logs) to work from the office with staggered work hours and no more than 2 people allowed in any part of the buildings at any given time.

We then focused our attention on our clients.  We re-planned and re-prioritized service, maintenance, upgrades, and re-deployments.  Although not optimal, we are working as hard as possible to ensure ‘uptime’ of service and maintain some level of normalcy for our clients across the country.

Next, we developed Public Service Announcements to communicate in both virtual and physical domains.  This entailed creating encouraging and uplifting reminders that were posted on all of our social media accounts.  Themes included practicing social distancing, proper hygiene and common-sense consideration of others.

In support of the social media outreach, we are now working offline to add numerous similarly themed, pre-recorded broadcast audio messages for our Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) to announce when a person is detected and/or on an hourly basis, depending on client needs.  Some are delivered in fun and playful tones, and some more serious.  But the underlying message of them all is that we care.

And now we are actively investigating the reinstatement of a detection strategy previously under development which may be useful in identifying persons at risk of carrying COVID-19.  An initial assessment seems promising, so we are continuing the investigation, but we are seeking additional funding and resources to develop it.  It would be awesome for our security robots to proactively help during this pandemic.

The urgency of the situation continues, as does our resolve.  We will continue to work to identify additional common goals and develop solutions to adapt accordingly.  We will move early; we will move fast; and we will move decisively.  And we are calling upon the community for help and support.  We are all affected, and we’re all in this together.

 

 

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Civil Unrest and Robots;

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Since 2000 the United States has seen approximately 48 recorded incidents of civil unrest, riots or civil disobedience. Many of us can recall quite a few of these events, and even more law enforcement officers and security managers recall the steps they took to safeguard citizens and businesses during the upheaval. Many of these incidents were relatively peaceful, but many more resulted in property damage, injuries and, sadly, loss of life.

Having spent years training and operating in these types of situations, the force needed to quickly gain control can, at times, have a negative impact on the goal at hand – safety. We have all seen the news coverage focusing on law enforcement officers in riot gear and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams using flash grenades, pepper balls and bean bag projectiles. More often than not, what they fail to show is the de-escalation techniques employed prior to the more dramatic footage that focuses on diffusing a hostile situation, reducing negative perception from the general public, all while providing effective safety and surveillance measures.

Law enforcement and security teams have learned to leverage technology to get ahead of these incidents while also implementing new tools into their risk management framework. An organization’s leadership will often turn to their security teams for input, or industry insight, into the latest steps for handling these types of incidents. Major concerns revolve around employee and visitor safety, the ability to maintain operations by shipping and receiving goods, continuity of e-commerce and intelligence on the actors perpetuating the event or calling for an escalation of activities surrounding the topic at hand.

During incidents of protests or civil unrest, identifying weak points within the security footprint is key. We often cannot, as the event dictates, install new technologies. We are left with having to increase personnel which can be a challenge. Local law enforcement can be strapped, and mutual aid requests will be focused on maintaining order or protecting critical infrastructure. Business safety and continuity of operations will fall squarely on the business. So, what do we do?

Many of the statistics provided by Knightscope clients show that there is a drastic reduction in criminal activity, loitering, harassment, etc., when autonomous security robots are introduced into their security programs. The utilization of robotics allows security teams to direct their robots to patrol in locations that they may not be able to quickly deploy human personnel.

Robots are an added member of the team that can be put on the front lines to gather much needed data, audio and video intelligence. Being able to rapidly diagnose information, provide real time event updates and review quickly changing variables gives security and law enforcement the upper hand in responding to these types of events and allows them to change tactics as the situation dictates.

Effective utilization of security robots also provides users with the ability to broadcast commands or messages through one or multiple robots at a time. During these types of events you will want to convey a message to those in attendance.

Having these messages delivered by someone in uniform could, potentially, exacerbate the situation. The presence of a robotic messenger allows users the ability to convey their message in a far less threatening manner and gauge the response in real time. Having this function could shift the tide in favor of peace as you will now be able to capitalize on the responses of those on the line or shift resources and personnel as you analyze the audible feedback of those outside.

There are a myriad number of uses for autonomous robots within security and public safety. Sometimes stepping outside of the box opens your capabilities and allows you to set a new standard in operations and response. Break away from the standard of, “…but this is how we have always done it,” and take advantage of the technological evolution we see ourselves in now.

While we hope that such events don’t happen to you, it’s comforting to know that Knightscope security robots are up to the challenge and committed to providing you with the technology to handle it and provide the public with a safe alternative when circumstances call for it.

 

 

 

 

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Initiation of Coverage: Equity Research Report on Knightscope;

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Long-term gains through innovation are not correlated with short-term volatility in the financial markets.

Intro-Blue combines an artificial intelligence (AI) platform with an independent primary research platform to prepare investors and corporates for productive meetings: the right people focused on the right questions.

Intro-Blue has initiated coverage on Knightscope and you can read the full equity research report here.

 

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