Posts Tagged robot guard
One of the questions I hear a lot is “How much is a Security Robot?” Of course, there is the simple answer that focuses on the retail price of the hardware, but that isn’t really what people are asking. What they want to know is what is the Total Cost of Ownership – what is it really goning to cost me to put one of these robots to work.
So, here is our analysis, based on feedback from various security professionals and other experts. Let me know what you think!
Total Cost of Ownership
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a key metric for evaluating the purchase of any new technology, and security robots are no exception. There are three main components to TCO: Initial investment, maintenance, and upgrades. In the case of a service, there may be a low initial investment, but the ‘maintenance’ costs are the ongoing service expenses, while in the case of a technology purchase the initial investment may be significant, and the ‘maintenance’ costs relatively small.
TCO Security robot
We will work under the following assumptions:
A base robot with a typical mix of option packages is purchased
A full service contract is added for the working life of the robot
A full software license and upgrade contract is in place for the life of the robot
The robot has a three year service life, after which it is disposed of at zero value.
These assumptions ignore any residual value at the end of service, and discount the possibility of an extended service life as a result of proper maintenance.
Of course, in isolation this TCO number has little meaning, so it is best to compare the TCO of this solution with the TCO of the alternatives. There are two alternatives that are frequently discussed: A security officer and a fixed camera array.
Since the security robot carries a camera, one of the most common candidates is an array of fixed cameras. In a typical installation, a single fixed camera can cover approximately 1000 sq ft, and can easily cost $1500 for installation, in addition this camera needs to be connected to a video management system and be monitored.
One security robot can typically patrol 50,000 square feet of warehouse or data center, so it would be necessary to install 50 cameras to cover the equivalent space. We also assume that the cameras will cost about $1.00 per month per camera for service and for software upgrades.
On the surface it seems that a camera array is roughly equivalent to a mobile security robot in total cost of ownership.
However this may be misleading. The cameras themselves provide excellent video records of what occurs in a facility, but (unless they are equipped with advanced video analytics) they do not generate alerts. This can leave the security client in the position of the owner of an e-cigarette / vape distributorship who arrived Monday morning to watch 6 hours of high definition video of a thief stealing over $300,000 worth of merchandise.
Adding real time video monitoring to a camera typically adds about $8.00 per month per camera to the TOC. In our example this adds $14,400 to the 3 year TCO bringing it up to $93,000.
Of course, when we talk about the comparison with a manned security patrol, the idea of Total Cost of Ownership is a little different. Rather than purchasing a security officer, this asset is rented – so we need to compare the cost of the officer over a specific time window. We will use the same three year window that was used to evaluate the TCO of the robots and the fixed camera systems.
We will also need to look at several other aspects of putting a security officer to work, costs like the recruitment and training, the ongoing Workman’s Comp and Medical costs, and the need for ongoing training, licensing, and testing. These all combine into the TCO of the security officer.
The base rate for the security officer is the most variable, depending on the location, the economy, and the requirements for specialized skills or background. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statisitics, the average salary for an unarmed security guard is a little over $17.00 per hour, so we will use that number. In addition, since we are looking primarily at overnight security we will focus on a twelve hour shift.
Recruitment and on-boarding
Unlike a security system where a sales person seeks you out to convince you to buy a system, you have to recruit and train your security officers, or pay a recruiter to do much of the work for you. Either way there is a significant cost associated with putting a new employee to work.
Training, testing, and certifications
In addition, each employee is typically required to maintain certifications or licensing with ongoing trainings, and typically routine testing for polygraphs, drugs, and competency adds to the annual cost of the security officer.
Security officer TCO
Putting these individual costs together we get the results shown in the table below. While it is generally agreed that an alert, focused mobile security officer is the best asset in the security toolbox, it is also clear that this is the most expensive option.
|Recruiting and On-boarding||$5,000.00||$0.00||$5,000.00|
|Training, Testing, and Certification||$5,000.00||$3,000.00||$14,000.00|
So what it really comes down to is this – if a security robot is a viable solution for your security concerns it is the most cost effective solution you can deploy. Over a three year window, It can save tens of thousands over a camera array, and hundreds of thousands over a human security officer.
The mobile security robot brings a number a capabilities to the facility that the camera array cannot. Temperature, motion, explosive gass and smoke sensors. Mobile authentication provided by reading RFID and prox cards provide the ability to confirm access in both time and space. Much like the focused, alert mobile security officer.
Now, a security robot is not going to be viable in every situation. Our discussions with professionals suggest that 8% to 12% of the typical shifts might be suitable for a robot. It is not a one size fits all solution. But for that night shift mobile security patrol in a warehouse, shopping mall, or data center – it may be your best, your most cost effective solution.
Where is your robot? Ours are working through the night, keeping facilities safe and secure.
For more information about putting a security robot to work in your facility, contact us at Gamma 2 Robotics.
“Okay Bob, what do you mean by a Security Robot?”
“It is pretty cool, actually,” Bob replied “It is a mobile robot that will patrol your facility all night. It monitors the space for intruders, motion, and (if you add some option packages) smoke, fire and explosive gas.”
Shelley looked a little dubious. “You are saying that this thing will patrol my warehouse just like a person, and spot problems? Like those robots the police use during bomb threats?”
She paused, then said “Bob, like I just told you I am trying to cut my budget – I can’t pay some robot technician to run this thing all night – that would cost a fortune!”
“No Shelley – I heard you! These robots are autonomous – that means that you just turn them on and tell them to get to work. They don’t need an operator, they do their patrols on their own. So you don’t have a robot tech driving them around at all.” Bob continued “And they are really cost effective – Right now your night-shift officer is costing you about $17.00 an hour – a little below the national average.”
Shelley interrupted “Bob I know that you are providing us with top quality people and I have heard what some of my business colleagues are paying for their security.”
“Thanks Shelley, that is good to hear – but the good news is these robots work for the equivalent of around $4.00 an hour.”
“Sure, Bob, but that’s if I amortized the cost over, like twenty years or something. The up-front costs will kill me.”
Bob laughed – “Shelley, the total cost of putting one of these to work is less than one year’s salary equivalent, the $4.00 per hour is based on 3 years. And I will ‘rent’ you the robot, just like I am ‘renting’ you the current security team!”
“Wait, you are telling me I don’t have to go to some company I never heard of before and trust them with my business, my life? I can keep working with you and your team?”
Bob reached for his laptop, “Shelley, let me show you this quick video, it’s about three and a half minutes, you can see the robots in action and it covers a lot of the background.” Shelley and Bob settled down to watch the video. Shelley said – “Bob, I should have made some popcorn!”
“Okay, Bob,” Shelley said after the video ended, “this is starting to sound too good to be true. But, I remember a robot they put to work at one of our client’s offices. It took them weeks to put the weird tape on the floors, and they had to rearrange the layout of the furniture. The robot did it’s job, but the set-up was awful. I simply can’t put up with that level of disruption.
“No problem – Shelley, let me explain how easy it is …
Part 3 – putting a robot to work…
Where is your robot?™ – ours are going to work to keep people and property safe and secure.
For more info, contact us at Gamma 2 Robotics or call 303-778-7400
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
Gamma 2 Robotics is running a robot road show this week in LA. Contact us to set up an appointment to meet the security robots, and discuss the impacts of robotics on safety and security.
We will be presenting the capabilities and the economics of adding robots to your current security tool box, and also discussing how to put a security robot to work for your company or your security clients today!
Day one went extremely well, lots of great demos and great discussions. After a hard days work, the robot took time to chill on the balcony:
Live demonstrations are the best way to see if a security robot is a good prospect for your next new security officer!
Drop me a line using this form, to set up a meeting.
Where is your robot? One of ours is waiting to meet you in Los Angeles June 16th – 19th. Call me for details and to set up a private demonstration of the security industry’s hottest new product!
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.
We will do an educational talk about real world applications of mobile robotics in the security field – what is possible, and what is still science fiction. As experts in the field of Security Robotics we believe that it is critical to have the knowledge to separate the hype from the reality. This is key to making informed decisions about the real benefits of putting security robots to work.
We will be one session of several focusing on cutting edge technology and culminating with a presentation by the FBI on “FBI Security Technology as related to Investigations” By FBI Supervisor Patricia Sola.
So, if you are in the Kansas City area – this is the event to attend! If you are not in the KC area – you should get here for this event! Besides – we will have Gamma 2 Robotics Vigilant Mobile Security Robots on display!
Where is your robot? Ours will be invading Kansas City for the Physical Security Showcase in June!
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.
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.
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.
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
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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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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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