Posts Tagged security robots
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
The robot rolled along on its regular patrol. Down to the loading dock, through the shipping area, up and down the aisles of the warehouse that made up the bulk of its responsibility, and then along the north wall between the warehouse and the office area. The robot had already automatically adjusted its patrol route, because there were several large pallets awaiting shipment on Wednesday morning. These pallets had over $100,000 worth of custom product ready to go out to a key customer to meet a tight deadline, but the robot did not know that.
The robot also didn’t know that the loading dock door had jammed this morning. So all day the door repair guys had been hammering, welding, cutting away sections of track to get the door fixed by close of business. What nobody knew was that several chunks of red hot metal had landed in the sawdust from the packing area, and a small fire was slowly smoldering.
It wasn’t really midnight yet, but you know how the media will stretch the truth for a good headline. To be precise it was only 10:53 and 11.45 seconds. The robot is very precise.
As the robot rolled into the shipping area, the sensors of its FireWatcher™ system(1) detected an increase in combustion by-products. The robot slowed down and began to scan. Equipped with an advanced thermal sensor, it was reading 8 channels of temperature data three times a second, and it detected a slight temperature rise over by the newly repaired garage door. It quickly calculated the best path to get there and began zeroing in on the heat source.
It rolled closer, and the smoke sensors it carried started reading a level that crossed its alarm threshold. It also picked up the increased temperature , and it began detecting the combustible gasses associated with a smoldering fire. It went into fire alarm mode!
Electronic messages flew over the internet, to both the monitoring company and to Steve, the business owner. Along with the digital alarms, the robot sent video of the exact location of the small fire. Steve logged directly into the robot from his house 40 miles away, and could read the temperatures and smoke sensor levels, and see what the robot was sending in real time video. But he didn’t really need to worry about the numbers – the robot had detected a fire in the making, and he trusted the robot. The ceiling mounted smoke detectors hadn’t activated yet – it can take a while for the low levels of smoke to travel in a large warehouse. And, of course, if the fire got big enough the sprinkler systems would activate – saving the building but playing havoc with all the product on the warehouse shelves. As any professional fire fighter will tell you – the second best time to put out a fire is when it is really small. The best time is before it starts.
Steve talked with the monitoring company and they decided to activate the fire suppression system on the robot(2). While Steve sent the command to the robot, the monitoring center was coordinating with the local fire department and the trucks were on their way. The robot used its temperature sensors to position itself at the right distance from the fire, and triggered its on-board fire extinguisher. The foam doused the smoldering fire, after all it was aimed by a robot using advanced artificial intelligence to calculate the best application point. Before the fire department arrived the fire was out. As the fire trucks pulled up, the owner was on his way down to the building, and everything was under control.
So, in the end – no big headlines for the morning paper, no customer getting a call about a delayed shipment, and no need to activate the ‘business continuity’ plans. Wednesday would be just another day at work, except they were going to have a party in the break room for the robot.
Where is your robot?™ Ours are keeping lives and property safe! Learn more at Gamma 2 Robotics
(1) The FireWatcher™ system is not intended to replace any fire detection system required by local fire codes or insurance. It is an additional system that augments required systems. FireWatcher™ is an available option for all Vigilant series security robots.
(2) The fire suppression system is currently under development at Gamma 2 Robotics, and will be available soon. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay current with all the ongoing development.
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!
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
What do you trust more, what you are told or what you actually see?
For most people the answer is simple: you trust your senses. If you look out the window and it is raining, you believe that it is raining regardless of what your spouse, your best friend, or some guy at the weather station tells you. This is a capability we develop as we mature. As kids we believed what we were told, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, “This won’t hurt.” We trusted what we were told until we gained more experience, until we learned better.
This ability to trust our senses is critical in the complex, ever-changing, and uncertain environments that we think of as normal. We have to guess what is around the corner, then react quickly when we see that our guess was wrong. We make plans based our our predictions about the future and have to re-plan when we see what the situation is really like. This is how we get through the day, get through our lives.
At Gamma 2 Robotics, we build robots. Unlike an industrial robot working away tirelessly in a controlled space in a factory, our robots work alongside people in human environments. To do so they need to trust their senses. Most robots simply do what they are told to do, they don’t think, they don’t reason, they just follow orders. And they trust.
This leads to potential problems. The case of robot welder that ‘trusted’ that the space around it was clear, so it swung it’s heavy arm in an arc, killing Robert Williams in 1979; the first recorded death by robot.
At Gamma 2 value safety, and that means that our robots trust, but in the words of the late president Reagan, our robots “trust, but verify” So, if you tell one of our robots that the path in front of it is clear, and it can move forward, it will trust, but verify that there are no obstacles in the way, and verify the path dozens of times a second as it moves.
This month we added a significant capability to our robot’s skill set. It used to be that, if we were in a hurry, we could lie to our robots. We might be at a location like a conference or a trade show. And to speed things up, to make it easier for us to demonstrate a capability, we would tell the robot that it was really back in the lab. The robot would trust, and follow our instructions perfectly, even though we were not in the lab at all. That all changed this month, as we upgraded the artificial intelligence of the robots.
Now the robots look around, they compare their sensory information with the expectations of what they should see, if they were really back at the lab. And, if it is clear that we did not tell the robot the truth – the robot will not believe us, it will do its best to figure out where it really is, to prevent any unsafe behavior.
The robot will trust, but if it cannot verify – it might say “You told me we were in the lab, but we are not! You lying weasel!”
Where is your robot? Ours are keeping people and property safe!
Learn more at Gamma 2 Robotics or call +1 303 778 7400 for information.
“SciFi and Entrepreneurship – Is Resistance Futile?” One of the attendees will be a robot from Gamma 2 Robotics. The focus of the event is the close relationship between science fiction ‘predicting’ the future, and the entrepreneurs that ‘create’ the future.
As an avid reader of Science Fiction, a technologist, and an entrepreneur – I am looking forward to the discussion about how these all play together. I am especially happy that one of our advance mobile robots will be attending the conference. But not as a display or a demonstration, the robot will be an attendee.
It is not clear if the robot will be allowed to ask questions of the panelists!
Where is your robot?® Ours are expanding boundaries and protecting property and lives.
To learn more visit Gamma 2 Robotics
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.
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.
Where is your robot?® Ours will be chatting with world leading Chief Information Officers in Phoenix as part of the Gartner CIO leadership Forum.