Archive for category Theft prevention
It was the best of heists, it was the worst of heists.
The victim is E-Cigarettes Wholesale, and they supply ‘e-cigarettes’ to almost 1200 retailers nation-wide. As a result, they warehouse hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of easily sellable, high demand products.
The best of heists!
This is what actually happened on the evening of Sunday, June 15th in Dania Beach, Florida, USA. At around 6pm, a thief breaks into an auto repair business in a multi-tenant building on Tigertail Boulevard. The auto shop doesn’t have much in the way of security, but the e-cig warehouse next door does. They do everything right – cameras, door sensors, passive IR motion detectors covering the access points, covering the windows, covering the doors.
The thief knows this, the theory is that he had checked the place out on an earlier visit. So, he doesn’t come in through the doors, or the windows. He breaks in through the common wall from the auto repair shop next door. He cuts a hole through the two layers of dry-wall and goes to work. He stayes away from the PIR motion detectors around the front of the warehouse, and as a result no alarms are sent to the monitoring center.
The cameras catch almost every move he makes, they dutifully record the thief for almost six hours as he loads over $300,000 worth of product into his truck, parked in the auto shop. The video record will be great, after the fact, but tonight they just silently record.
The thief makes around fifty thousand dollars an hour for tonight’s work.
The first thing anyone knows of the break-in is Monday morning, long after the thief is gone, long after the merchandise is stolen. It was the best of heists.
The Worst of Heists
Let’s roll the cameras back to the Sunday afternoon, and make one change. The thief still shows up at six pm, and breaks into the auto repair shop next door. He still pulls in his truck and gets to work tearing down the dry-wall between the two businesses. He knows where the motion detectors are, since they are mounted to the walls. What he doesn’t know is where the security robot¹ is on its nightly patrol.
Because this time, the manager has added a mobile security robot to his security system. It goes to work when the manager closes up shop and sets the alarm. It patrols the warehouse area, looking for motion, looking for intruders all night long, all weekend² long. And when it detects a problem, it doesn’t just record the video – it sends the alarm into the monitoring center. It also checks for smoke, fire, high humidity, but tonight that doesn’t matter.
So, when the thief breaks through the last layer of dry-wall and looks into the darkened warehouse, he sees the flickering blue light of the robot on patrol, he sees the red glow of its sensors as it moves across the warehouse floor, and he knows that this break-in is not going to go well. The robot detects the intruder and immediately sends an alert to the monitoring center. It activated its high intensity LED headlights, and transmits close-up, well lit, high definition video of the thief as he pulls his head back through the hole in the wall, and scrambles for his truck, empty handed. The police have already been dispatched to the warehouse, but the robot has done its job, the business owner’s livelihood, his inventory, is safe.
So at worst, the business owner needs to repair the wall, rather than try to replace nearly half a million dollars worth of stock. She doesn’t have to call up her best customers and tell them they are out of luck, they are not going to be able to restock their shelves for a while.
Actually, it is even simpler than that. When the thief was checking out the warehouse last week – he saw the sign in the front window “Protected by Security Robots” and he decided to take his business somewhere else, someplace less well protected.
It was the best of heists,
it was the worst of heists,
it was the age of static security,
it was the age of mobile security robots…..
Where is your Robot?™ Ours are helping businesses stay in business.
Learn more about the Gamma 2 Robotics line of Security Robots, and see if one is right for your critical security needs. If you want to discuss how easy it is put put a security robot to work, give us a call at 303-778-7400
- The robot is described with several option packages installed
- Requires the optional self-charging docking station, available in September of 2014
It was a smallish show, as trade shows go. Only around 50,000 square feet of exhibits. It was kind of a cool show though – the Denver Mini Maker Faire. There were around 150 exhibitors, showing off bleeding-edge new technology alongside seriously retro-tech. A perfect environment for the use of autonomous mobile security robots.
The Vigilant robot wasn’t the only ‘bot there – not by a long shot. The difference was that the other robots were shut down, and would remain so until the show opened again at 9 am the next day. The Vigilant security robot was working. It was about half way through a 12 hour shift as part of the overnight security team. The facility is part of Denver’s National Western Complex, and this is the third event in the last 18 months for which Gamma 2 Robotics‘ robots have provided security. It is almost like coming home for the robots. Of course the exhibit layout was different – every show has its own layout. But it took less time to configure the robot for the new layout than it took the exhibitors to move in, so the robot was ready to roll long before the doors were locked for the night.
This morning (it’s around 2am) the robot is rolling past 3-D printers, air cannons, massive lasers, computer controlled sewing machines, CNC routers, and of course dozens of other robots; but as I said, they are here as displays, while the security robot is doing its job – mile after mile of dull patrolling. As it patrols, it scans for unexpected motion, high temperatures, boxes blocking aisles: the kinds of things that might indicate a potential problem, a potential intruder.
Last night was quiet, just like tonight will probably be. That’s one of the hardest things about the night security job. 99.9% of the time – nothing ever happens, and that is the core problem. It is really hard for people to stay focused, to stay vigilant, when there is nothing to focus on. That’s something computers and robots are good at. The Vigilant robot doesn’t care that it has been up and down this aisle every 10 minutes for the last 7 hours, or for the 12 hours last night. It still does its job of patrolling, observing, and reporting, because that is what is needed to protect lives and property.
For those of you who are numbers people, the robot patrols a 25,000 square foot area, and has four patrols configured. These range from covering the full exhibit area, down to a 5 minute detail scan of the ‘high value’ section. This area is only 8000 square feet but loaded with high tech. The robot is on duty for a 12 hour shift without needing any ‘down time’ for recharging. During its shift the Vigilant robot will travel around 8 miles. It doesn’t move fast – but it just keeps patrolling all night long: keeping its electronic sensors on all the high tech machines on display.
This show is loaded with cutting edge equipment. Between the 3-D scanners, 3-D printers, Laser engravers and loads of artwork, there is at least $250,000 worth of displays and technology here tonight. Next week it will be a different event with a different theme, but the same key problems – keeping the exhibitors and their property safe. But that is no problem for the security robot. It ‘knows’ what its job is and it just keeps patrolling, keeping things safe, Always Vigilant.
Where is your robot? Ours were at work protecting the exhibits at a major show in Denver.
Want More information about the Vigilant Security Robots? Here is our website.
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.
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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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.
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!
- At the very least, click on this link, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the growing interest in mobile Security robots,
- Second, visit our blog “Where is my robot” regularly, for updates on technology, and how the security field is changing, and
- 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!
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.
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!
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I just looked at the thermometer, and it is reading -13 F. There are only a few inches of snow on the ground, but they cover a layer of ice. Back when I was working security, this would be the kind of night I would dread. While it is cold and snowy, that is not what I would be worried about. I would be worried about ‘the call’
Anyone who has done a stint as a security officer knows about ‘the call.’ Either you are on duty, thinking about going home to grab some shut-eye, or you are relaxing and enjoying your time off, or maybe you are at home, sneezing and coughing when the phone rings. It’s Bob, or Melanie, or Tracy; and their car won’t start, or the snow is too deep, or their kids are sick.
The list goes on, and on. The cause doesn’t matter, the result is the same. You are going to pull a double, or you are going to work an extra day – and you are not really ready, or happy.
But you have a job to do and you do it. You won’t be at your best, there is no way to do 16 hours without losing your edge, the cold meds will keep you going, but your judgement and stamina will be shot. However, it is better to have an officer on duty at 80% that to have no-one on duty at all. So you sigh, and pick up the phone, and say “Yeah, no problem – I got it covered.” And you really, really hope that it is an incident free night.
That is where the security robots come in. They don’t get sick, they don’t go home, they don’t get tired. As a security manager you know that they are always there, ready to go to work. They are not going to replace your well trained, highly motivated people – but they can decrease the load by taking on the really dull, boring tasks. And, in the case where you are faced with not enough warm bodies to cover all the positions. you can rely on cold steel ‘bodies’. If you run the risk of failing to meet a contract, you can drop off a robot, and put it to work in a few minutes, just tell the ‘bot where it is, and what to do, and it is on the job.
The security robot doesn’t care if it is in a cold and dusty warehouse for 12 or 16 hours. It doesn’t care if it has to do the same boring patrol over and over again. It stays focused, it stays alert, and it stays on duty – detecting problems like intrusions or motion, the fact that the furnace as gone out and the temperature is dropping, or that there are high levels of carbon monoxide or a hint of smoke. Reporting these problems via cell phone or wi-fi – so that the supervisors know about the problem in seconds and can respond. Because that is what the security task is all about – detecting problems, reporting conditions, and responding appropriately. Keeping people and property safe and secure.
So, before you get that feeling of dread, waiting for ‘the call’, look into a back-up plan and check out the possibility of putting security robots to work. After all, that’s your job – being prepared.
Where is your robot?® Contact Vigilant Robots today to schedule a demo, or learn more about the Vigilus-MCP Security Robot.
As the US unemployment rate drops, it becomes harder to find people willing to do the dirty, dull, and dangerous jobs. With fewer people chasing more jobs, potential employees have more options in what jobs they take. This has a strong impact on the physical security industry, since many of those jobs are seen as ‘less desirable,’ and typically wages for these jobs are driven by the customer’s perception of low value. “After all,” they think, “my security officer is just sitting around the warehouse at night. How hard can that be?”
Of course the reality is that you want someone doing more that ‘just sitting around’ if they are protecting hundreds of thousands of dollars of inventory. You need someone who is focused, disciplined, and alert. They need to be reliable, dependable, and trustworthy. But those people are now looking at day jobs, not the night shift; they are looking at jobs in an office with co-workers, not working alone in a cold, empty warehouse. With the September 2013 unemployment rate dropping into the 7% range, and showing a significant downward trend over the last three years, security managers are getting worried.
Where are they going to find the people they need on those night shifts; how are they going to keep trained, reliable security officers as the job market continues to get tighter? How are they going to bid on new contracts when they are having trouble filling the positions on their current contracts?
We are seeing a growing interest in using mobile, autonomous security robots to perform the really dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks in the physical security portfolio. The middle of the night shift, the vacant building patrols, the (extremely) boring fire watch shifts. These are shifts where you really need disciplined, focused, alert eyes, ears, and noses on patrol. Constantly moving around, checking things out, and calling for help if there is a problem. These tasks are ideal for a computer driven robot, because they require almost machine-like diligence and attention to detail; two areas where people often do not perform well..
The tightening labor market will lead to a greater presence of robots in the workplace; not just the industrial settings, where they have been utilized for 50 years, but working alongside people in office buildings, data centers, event centers, distribution centers, cultural centers, warehouses and other locations that have traditionally been staffed by people.
The key is making sure that these robots are both safe and effective when working with people. You can’t require employers to change the business to fit the robots, you need to have robots that can change to fit the jobs. This will require a whole new generation of robots, ones that are designed from the ground up to work with people.
But, as the available labor pool continues to tighten we will see more and more ‘job descriptions’ that can be met by robots, and we will see more and more robots in everyday life. Today we see many jobs that are viewed as ‘low end’ becoming strong candidates for robot workers, and the ‘midnight shift’ security job is one where the demand is high, and the requirements are almost designed for a robot. Security officers are trained to produce routine, structured, predictable responses to events and incidents: almost a definition of ‘robotic’ behavior. So, rather than trying to force people to become more like robots – why not use robots that can do these ‘mechanized’ jobs?
Where is your robot?® Ours are busy protecting lives and property: Vigilant Robots
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Vigilus MCP security robots were on display at the World Trade Day 2013 event in Denver, CO yesterday.
For a security team the critical question is how to provide high quality security without breaking the bank. With an unlimited budget, the security manager would still face challenges, but the job of meeting the client’s needs would be easier. Unfortunately, an unlimited budget is not in the picture, and many clients see security as an expense that needs to be reduced. That means the security manager needs to provide high levels of protection on a diminishing budget. In short, do more with less.
How can a security robot help? The key is the nature of an autonomous security robot. It is capable of acting as a force multiplier. Unlike a robot that must be driven by a highly trained (and expensive) technician, an autonomous security robot can operate on its own. It can take care of routine security tasks, such as midnight shift patrols, freeing up the security officers to focus on the tasks for which human intelligence and judgement are needed.
At Vigilant Robots, we envision security robots as teammates, extending the capabilities of the existing security team. We see three major contributions:
- extending the range of the security team,
- extending the capabilities of the team, and
- extending the density of the security coverage.
Extending the range of the security team
Providing around the clock security is an expensive proposition. It can be challenging to hire, train, and retain qualified security officers. This is especially true when covering the midnight shift is concerned. While many clients would like to have constant patrols in their facility at night, they may not have the budget. Adding security robots to this shift is a powerful tool. The robots do not care if it is 3am or 3pm, they will do the same work. They do not get bored, nor are the reluctant to do the same patrol over and over. They are ideal for the “dead of night” tasks that must be done. This has the added benefit of freeing up trained security officers to be assigned to other shifts, where their skills and capabilities are more valuable.
Extending the capabilities of the security team
Since a security robot is an intelligent electromechanical system, adding additional sensors can extend the capabilities of the security team. A robot thinks nothing of being asked to take constant readings on its rounds. Where a human officer would have to be loaded down with devices to measure temperature, humidity, carbon-monoxide, explosive gas, etc., these options can easily be added to the security robot, and it will take and log these detailed measurements every few inches, if that is what the client needs. It will also generate immediate alarms if any readings indicate a problem.
Extending the density of the security coverage
What do you do when a security officer needs to be in two places at once? When she needs to be covering the lobby at the same time that there is a door alarm by the loading dock? Send the robot, of course! Since an autonomous security robot does not need to be driven around, it can be as easy as “Robot, go to the loading dock, notify me when you get there, and scan the east door.” That will cause the robot to put its current task on hold, figure out the best way to get to the loading dock, get itself there, and start relaying high definition video of the situation. Your security officer is virtually in two places at once. Or the robot could be told to cover the lobby and alert on any motion, while the security officer heads down to the loading dock to deal with the incident. Either way the effective security coverage is doubled.
Security Force Multipliers
We see a valuable role in the security industry for autonomous security robots. The technology is available, and the need is significant. Putting these robots to work can have multiple benefits including
- increased quality and coverage provided by the security team,
- increased responsiveness of the team, and
- more effective use of the available assets
And this can be accomplished in a cost effective, reliable way. We have a short white paper discussing this in more detail, for a free copy submit the form below.
Where is your robot? Ours are manufactured by Vigilant Robots, here in Colorado.
Yes, it is a future headline, but not that far in the future. Security robots are ready to deploy into art galleries, office buildings, and warehouses like the one operated by Cargo Air Services at JFK airport in New York. This was a warehouse just like thousands of other airport warehouses around the country, and these warehouses are storing literally billions of dollars worth of material.
The theft took place shortly before midnight on Monday, 12 November, 2012. The warehouse was entered, and two pallets of new iPad Mini Tablets were loaded by forklift onto a waiting tractor-trailer rig. The theft appears to have been organized by an airport worker, who also acted as the ‘look-out’. The thieves got away with 3600 iPads, valued at 1.9 million dollars. It could have been a bigger heist, the plan was to load three additional pallets of tablets, which would have brought the total value of the haul up to $4.7 million.
The heist was interrupted by some airport workers who, returning from their dinner break, encountered the robbers and challenged them. At this point the robbers fled with the loot that already had been loaded onto the truck.
The alleged heist organizer was brought to police attention because he had apparently been asking his co-workers about the delivery schedule and about access to a forklift.
So, what does this have to do with robots?
If this warehouse had been protected by security robots, the heist would have come out very differently. The thieves took advantage of the dinner break, picking a time when the warehouse would be empty, but robots do not take dinner breaks – so the warehouse would not have been unprotected. While the robot is on duty every moment of it’s shift is recorded. Detailed records of what the security robot ‘sees’ are logged off site. There would have been video images of the alleged perpetrators to review, and the robot would have raised an alarm as soon as it detected the movement of the thieves, as well as the forklift. (Not to mention it would have detected the heat of the forklift engine, and possibly the exhaust gasses.) All of these activities would have generated alarms in the monitoring center, and airport security would have been dispatched to catch the gang in the act.
Of course, the thieves might have been sophisticated enough to attempt to disable the robot, either electronically, or by physical violence. In the case of violence, the robot would have gone down, but all the way to the floor it would have generated alarms, and made reports, so, again, airport security would have been dispatched. In the case of electronic disabling, the robot would have logged exactly when and by whom it was disabled, requiring the gang to have compromised a security officer in the command center to make the theft possible.
So, all in all, had the robot been at work we would have seen a very different outcome:
- The theft might not have even been planned, since the inside man would know that the security robot would be on duty.
- The attempt to disable the security robot before the robbery would have raised alarms before the theft could even begin.
- The security robot might have generated alarms at the start of the robbery, not after two pallets had already been loaded on to the get-away vehicle.
- The security robot would have provided high definition video of the thieves, so that today, almost a week after the robbery, we would know where the iPads were, and who was responsible.
- There would have been headlines across the country proclaiming: “Security Robot Foils Heist!”
And, of course, it is not just warehouses that would be safer. Recall the Rotterdam art gallery theft a few weeks back. Hundreds of millions of dollars in artwork stolen, with nary a security guard in sight. They also should have had a security robot.
Where is your robot? Ours are being made right here in Colorado, by Vigilant Robots.