Archive for category Security

Security Robots and The WTC Climber

The teenager was good, there is no question about his skills. He used both his physical dexterity and his social engineering skills to the max, and ended up standing on the top of the 1,776 foot tall, iconic, World Trade Center in the New York City night.

Justin Cosquejo atop one building while contemplating his next conquest - the World Trade Center in NYC. screen grab from twitter

Justin Cosquejo atop one building while contemplating his next conquest – the World Trade Center in NYC. screen grab from twitter

Given the extensive symbolic value of this building, and the likelihood of it becoming a major terrorism target, we need to ask “What happened to the security?”  And, perhaps more importantly, what can we do to prevent a repeat by someone less interested in accomplishment and more interested in destruction?

Unfortunately, for many aspects of the security officer’s job, people are not really suited to the tasks. Let’s look at this incident, and see what a difference a robot might make. As we know from the news reports, Justin allegedly first gained access to the site by climbing through a hole in the fence protecting the perimeter of the building site.

Failure #1: Focus

There were security officers responsible for perimeter intrusion detection, but on a complex and extensive building site things are constantly changing, and for a person that change can be overwhelming. So, slowly over time, the humans become numb to the changes, and numb to the problems.  Robots, with advanced artificial intelligence, never lose focus, and are designed to track details. An outdoor security robot tasked with perimeter patrol will continuously scan 24/7 and any potential breaches are reported immediately. They will continue to be reported on every shift, until they are fixed. Robots don’t care about the weather, or how many times they have looked at that part of the fence, they Patrol, Observe, and Report every time.

In this incident, From a CNN report:

Authorities said Justin Casquejo early Sunday allegedly climbed through a 1-foot opening in a fence surrounding the still-under-construction skyscraper, past “do not enter” and “no trespassing” signs and, apparently undetected, got to the scaffolding around the building and started climbing.

Failure #2: Social Engineering

Once he climbed the scaffolding, he gained access on the 6th floor.  Much of the security for operational building is focused on the ground floor and underground entrances, not a window 60 feet up the side of the building, but what happened next is a classic intrusion scheme, and it depends on people behaving like people.  Then Justin allegedly put on a hard hat and walked calmly to the tower elevator and pressed the up button. When the doors opened, and he saw that the elevator was occupied, he simply stepped in, like he was supposed to be there, and pressed the button for the 88th floor.

He rode the tower lift and, according to the New York Post, donned a hardhat to appear as one of the construction workers working on site. Casquejo was reportedly allowed on the elevator up to the 88th floor by a “clueless union elevator operator” despite not having proper identification. (from International Business Times)

People see what they expect to see, we can’t help it – our brains are hard-wired to make quick judgments on little data. Perhaps, the operator of the elevator saw a young person, self assured, looking like they were on a task for their boss, and thought no more about it.

Vigilant Security Robot exiting elevator

Vigilant Security Robot exiting elevator

Had there been a security robot in the elevator (yes, they ride elevators just like anyone else, at least ours can) it would have detected that a person got on the elevator and immediately scanned for an ID badge.  When it got no response from the RFID chip in the badge, it would have immediately sent in an alert.  Robots do not make assumptions, robots always verify.

But in this case, the operator saw what they expected to see, a young worker doing his job. If they didn’t see an ID it was just because it wasn’t in sight – not that the intruder didn’t have one.  So the intruder got off on 88 and climbed the stairs to the 104th floor, with just one more hurdle to jump.

Failure #3: Attention

I spent years as a security officer, and one of the biggest problems is staying attentive. Most days nothing ever happens: it is an amazingly, massively boring task to sit, 1000 feet up in a building waiting for something to happen.  It is so boring that one’s attention flags, one’s thoughts wander, and that is what an intruder counts on.

The stories vary, in some reports the security guard was asleep, in other reports the guard was described as “inattentive”. In either case that guard was suffering from attention fatigue, and his guard dropped long enough for the intruder to get through.

Robots never fall asleep, security robots never become inattentive.  At the first instant that the intruder’s motion was detected, the robot would have raised the alarm, and bells would have been ringing, beepers would have been beeping, and the entire security team would know that something was wrong up on the 104th floor.  The robot would have provided real-time video of exactly who was there, and what they were up to. And while the human members of the security team responded to the incident, the robotic member of the team would keep feeding information to the Security Operations Center.

And we would not be reading headlines about the Teenager who outwitted the security at the New York World Trade Center, and climbed to the stars.

Vigilus MCP security robot on Duty in Lobby

Vigilus MCP security robot on night patrol duty in Lobby

There are good, solid economic reasons that everyone is talking about robots taking away jobs. And there are good, solid reasons that the job of a Security Officer is near the top of everyone’s list. At Gamma 2 Robotics, we see security robots as part of the security team, the part that you can depend on to do the ‘dull, dirty, and dangerous’ tasks; and do those tasks consistently, reliably, and well.  In this case, it was only a teenager proving something to himself and the world. But what if it had been someone with a far more destructive agenda?


Where is your robot? Ours are out protecting property and lives.

For more information about Vigilant security robots contact Gamma 2 Robotics.


(1) Under development at Gamma 2 Robotics

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Robots invade ISC/West

Vigilant Security Robot exiting elevator

Vigilant Security Robot exiting elevator

Gamma 2 Robotics is packing up robots for the upcoming ISC/W security show in Las Vegas.  This is the home of what is new in security – and security robots are the future!

We will be running demonstrations of our security robots and showing off the newest modules, like our FireWatcher package for smoke and fire detection. Come by Booth 2122 and see the future of security!

 

 

If you would like a free exhibits access pass, send us a request using this form.


Where is your robot?® Ours are getting shipped to the ISC/west security show

For more information please visit Gamma 2 Robotics


 

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Security Robots and the Internet of Things

Hon, did I leave the monthly report up in the kitchen?”  Steve’s voice floated up from the home office, and Julie looked around the kitchen.  “No, I don’t see it up here Steve. Where else might you have left it?”

Darn, I wonder if I left it on my desk at the store,” Steve muttered. It was almost  9 pm and the store would be closed up and everyone gone.  Steve went upstairs to the kitchen.  “I don’t want to drive all the way down to the store, if the report isn’t there,” he told Julie, ” It would take me an hour to get there and back.”

The 4ft tall security robot points its top-mounted camera at the surface of a workstation.

The Vigilant security robot responds to a secure remote request to relay an image of the desktop.

Well, that’s easy to check,” said his wife.  She walked over to the tablet computer that she had been using to check on flights, and logged into the security portal for their business.  After using the two factor authentication, a secure connection was setup. She sent a command to the Vigilant security robot that was currently patrolling the warehouse area. The robot stopped its patrol,  went to the office area and over to Steve’s desk.

Julie activated the on-board camera system and used the camera controls to scan the top of Steve’s desk. “Steve, the report is not on your desk, anywhere else it might be?” Steve thought for a moment, “Wait, I remember! I had it on top of the box of samples I put in the trunk. I’ll bet that’s where it is.”  As he went to the garage to check the trunk of his car, Julie pulled up the shift report from the Security Robot, and noticed that there had been reports of break-ins through high windows in other warehouses in the area. She quickly told the robot to focus more patrol time in the warehouse, and to do a high-visibility patrol – activating its headlights as it passed the windows.

Steve came back from the garage with the report in his hand and mentioned that he would have been really mad if he had had to drive all the way down to the office only to find that the report wasn’t there.

As the Internet of Things continues to grow, we will experience incidents like this more and more frequently.  We will continue to have more access and more control over every day actions, regardless of where we are in the world at the time.  The Security Robots available from Gamma 2 Robotics are already ‘internet aware’ and give their owners unprecedented control of their physical security assets – when you need them, where you need them!

To learn more about the capabilities of Vigilant Security Robots and The Internet of Things, contact us by web or phone: +1 303.778.7400


Where is your robot?™  Our  American-made security robots are at work keeping people and property safe and secure.


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Security Robotics and CIOs – The Gartner Group

Later this month, the Gamma 2 Robotics security robots will be at the upcoming Gartner CIO Leadership Forum. No, they are not switching professions. But, as the technology for securing critical corporate information becomes more sophisticated, it relies on the same infrastructure as the system it protects. Every byte of electronic information is written on a hard drive somewhere, whether it is in your dedicated server room, or in the cloud, and some CIO has the responsibility of protecting that data.

Robot patrolling the receiving dock, and monitoring changing temperatures.

Robot patrolling the receiving dock, and monitoring changing temperatures.

These advances mean that across the C-suite, more knowledge and understanding of the impacts and benefits of advanced security tech is needed. We will be one of a select group presenting to the CIO Leadership Forum, and talking with the CIO’s about the kind of technology they are going to be relying on to do their jobs well.

For more information check out Gamma 2 Robotics, and the CIO Leadership Forum.

 

Where is your robot?® Ours will be chatting with world leading Chief Information Officers in Phoenix as part of the Gartner CIO leadership Forum.

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Threat Level: Elevated

Mobile robot patrolling garage

The Vigilus Mobile Camera Platform Robot on patrol in a warehouse in Denver, CO. The security robot is manufactured by Vigilant Robots.

The Vigilus® security robot went on duty at 19:00.
It powered up, and ran a complete set of self-diagnostic tests. It logged that it was at 99.6% effectiveness.Its job was to provide security patrols until 08:00 tomorrow, covering the electronics warehouse and the front office. It would move between these two areas of the building automatically, and scan for intruders, smoke or fire, and any unexpected movement in the space.

For a human this would be a cold and lonely shift, and it would take strong discipline to stay alert and focused.  And, of course, the human would require relief after only  eight to ten hours, while the security robot could do the thirteen hour patrol, and still have battery reserves to handle any incidents.

The business owner knew that according to the most recent published police reports, there had been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood.  They involved people coming through high windows in the warehouses, and leaving through the garage door with all the loot.  In many cases the doors were alarmed, but the windows (over eight feet from the ground) were not. So the alarms went off when the garage doors were opened, but by then the thieves were on their way out.

High windows are often vulnerable, and may not be included in the alarm system.

High windows are often vulnerable, and may not be included in the alarm system.

She quickly selected the patrol schedule that spent twice as much time in the warehouse side of the building, and run the high-visibility patrols, which would cause the robot to activate its headlights when patrolling by the windows. The robot logged the new instructions and went to work, focusing its patrols on the areas that were most at risk. After the crime patterns changed, the owner would request a new pattern of patrols – targeted for the exact types of activity for the area.

As all Security Managers know, the world is constantly changing and it is critical to be able to react to changing conditions.  Threats come and go, and resources must be deployed in response to today’s conditions not last month’s or last year’s situation.  But keeping current with the changing threat profiles can be a lot of work, and can lead to new challenges for the security team. With fixed sensors and cameras, it can be impossible to adapt to changes on a week by week basis, yet we all know that our systems should adapt to the current conditions. As simply as a Security Manager might tell Bob “There have been a number of break-ins on the warehouse side around here, so pay extra attention the back;” the security robot can adapt its patrols in response to current threats.  As it happened this was a quiet night.  Was it due to the robot activating its headlights every time it went by the windows in the warehouse?

Want to learn more about putting a Vigilus® security robot to work?  Contact Vigilant Robots at +1.303.778.7400, or check out our website!


Where is your robot?®  Ours are made in America by Vigilant Robots

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2014 – The year of the robots!

Here it is the end of the year, and those of us at Vigilant Robots would like to say Happy New Year, and wish you the best in 2014.

Vigilus MCP security robot on Duty in Lobby

Vigilus MCP security robot on night patrol duty in Lobby

We think of the coming year as “The Year of the Robots,” especially for those of us in the security field. With all the buzz surrounding Google’s acquisition of 8 robotics companies, Amazon’s great press covering their (questionable) use of delivery drones, and the big splash in the media by the project at KnightScope – we think it is going to be a banner year for robots.

We just wanted to remind you that you don’t have to wait!

  • KnightScope is hoping to have a product by late 2015,
  • Google thinks it will be a “10 year moon-shot”, and
  • Amazon does not expect delivery drones in the foreseeable future.

But at Vigilant Robots we are ready to ship your security patrol robot today.

With a cost-effective price, and under a 1 year ROI, you can be under-bidding your competition, increasing your security, and differentiating your company from the others with a single phone call!

So, to get ready for the Year of the Robots, I’d like you to do one (or more) of three things – right now, while you are thinking of it!

  1. At the very least, click on this link, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the growing interest in mobile Security robots,
  2. Second, visit our blog “Where is my robot” regularly, for updates on technology, and how the security field is changing, and
  3. Last, stop by the new Vigilant Robots website to learn about our new option packages, like the FireWatcher, the new Strobes and Siren package, and the available headlight package for high quality video in low-light conditions.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and best wishes for success in 2014 – The Year of the Robots!

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The Robot and the Shoplifter

Steve arriving at work. Not an employee - a shoplifter.

Steve arriving at work. Not an employee – a shoplifter.

Steve barely glanced upwards as he strode through the doors of the local office retailer. He deliberately didn’t ‘notice’ the greeter at the shopping carts, Steve looked like he was a man on a mission. Not one of those laid-back shoppers, he gave the impression of someone who wanted to get in, get what he was looking for, and get out with the minimum hassle. And that is exactly the image he wanted to convey.

He didn’t look up at the security cameras in the ceiling, he had scoped those out on an earlier visit. So, he went straight back to the electronics section. He stayed away from the really high end products, instead he went to the mid-range stuff, under a hundred dollars, and hit the digital recorders, all sealed up in bulky plastic clam-shells, with RFID tags attached. He checked the locations of the clerks, blocked the view of the overhead camera with his body, and deftly slit the bottom of the clam-shell on his target. He didn’t remove anything yet, he just cut open the bottom of the package.  Then, with his hands clearly empty, he walked down the aisle to look at flash drives.  He sorted through a couple, while he waited to see if anyone was going to respond to his preparations.

At this point the hard work was done, he would just walk back, block the camera again, and with a quick twist, slip the recorder into his hand, and into his waistband; leaving the empty package and the RFID tag on the rack. Easy-peasey.  Then he’d shake his head, look disgusted and walk out – if anyone asked he’d explain that they didn’t have the model he wanted, and he would order it from the online store.

A robot on patrol

Security robots cannot be ‘socially engineered’ and stay focused on their assigned tasks.

Then things went wrong – wrong from Steve’s perspective. The Security Robot came around the corner of the aisle, and stopped – looking at Steve. It was about five feet tall, and moved quietly on rubber wheels. It had a camera on top pointed right at Steve. This camera was not in the ceiling several aisles away, it was within 10 feet and Steve knew that a perfect image of his face was already recorded. He also knew that he didn’t know anything about the other capabilities of this security robot. The fact that he didn’t know made the risks too high.

Was a facial recognition program already scanning through thousands of stored images, looking for him? He had heard that they did this in Vegas, and you would get busted before you made it past the door. Was the robot already radioing a human security officer, who would be waiting up front?  Could the security robot scan his pulse and respiration to detect his stress levels?  Steve just didn’t know, and not knowing was enough to stop his plan in its tracks.

Steve abandoned his plan to rip-off this store, and started walking towards the front. The robot rolled along behind him.  Was it following him even now? Steve simply didn’t know and that convinced him to move faster. As he left the electronics section, the security robot turned and went back on patrol. “That thing is just too damn smart,” thought Steve. And he mentally crossed this store off his ‘hit list’.  “Better safe than arrested,” he said to himself.

Theft from retail stores amounts to 35 million dollars a day according to some studies, and is a leading cause of losses to retail businesses. Hundreds of millions more are spent on theft resistant packaging, RFID tags, and other forms of theft prevention. But it is generally agreed that deterrence is the best solution – keep the thieves out in the first place.  We are working on our “Retail Loss Prevention” option package for our award winning security robots, to aid in the reduction of these types of thefts.


For more information about our advanced security robots, contact Vigilant Robots at 303-778-7400


Where is your robot?® Ours are made in the USA to reduce crime and keep people safe!

To stay on top of news and information, subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.


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Intruder Detected! new Video of security robots

Here is the newest video of the Vigilant Security Robot in action!

Where is your robot?® Ours are protecting lives and property every day.  Learn more at Vigilant Robots

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Google’s Android Dream

Check out this excellent post by Prof. Illah Nourbakhsh of CMU  on Google’s robotics acquisitions: Google’s Android Dreams

Over the last six months “The Googles” have been picking up robotics companies. They raised the total to eight when they purchased Boston Dynamics In early December. Google is investing heavily in robotics because they know what we at Vigilant Robots also know: robotics are going to be the ‘plastics’ of the early 21st century.

Robot patrolling the receiving dock, and monitoring changing temperatures.

Robot patrolling the receiving dock, and monitoring changing temperatures.

Just as with plastic  in the 1950’s there was a huge amount of basic research needed to set the stage, and we have seen that research being done in robotics over the last 20 years.

Just as with plastics in the 1950’s, once that stage was set, the breakthroughs exploded, and those who saw what was coming revolutionized how they did business. And just as plastics completely changed our everyday lives, robots will as well.

In his recent article, noted roboticist Illah Nourbaksh of CMU suggested: “Autonomous robots will displace our sense of control precisely because they are out of our control, but occupy the physical world and demand our attention.”

Get ready for the robots, they’ll be coming to a neighborhood near you!

Our belief is that robotics are poised on the edge of explosive growth, but the robots will have to ‘earn their pay‘. to become ubiquitous.  That is why we focus on security robots.


Where is your robot?® Ours are made by Vigilant Robots  Stay current with developments in mobile robotics by subscribing to our newsletter.


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Lose $75,000 in 18 minutes

That is what these property owners did, when a homeless man got cold and started a fire in their vacant building.

$75,000 gone in an 18 minute puff of smoke.

$75,000 gone in an 18 minute puff of smoke.

This is a risk that grows as the weather gets colder, but it also grows over time.  As people looking for shelter ‘scope out’ a vacant property, they become more comfortable with the risks of breaking in. I talked a little about this in a previous post on the risks of vacant buildings and how security robots can be used to mitigate the risk.


Where is your robot?®  Ours are working to keep lives and property safe!  Check out our website to subscribe to our newsletter.


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