Will Robots Replace Human Security Guards?
Security guards have long played a role in protecting human lives.
They also play a key role in business, keeping operations smooth and protecting company assets.
Could robots take over, though? This may sound tongue-in-cheek, but many organizations are turning to robotics for their security needs. These robots rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and are often used to supplement the organization’s human guards.
Why Hire Security Guards?
Conventional security guards take both a preventive and a proactive role in addressing security problems. Human guards may monitor a campus, facility, or site to keep issues from occurring in the first place. Unlike police officers, who are mostly offensive, security guards are defensive.
Some might walk around the premises to ward off burglars and trespassers; others might monitor security footage. Throughout, guards are asked to pay attention to problem areas—say, gaps in the company’s security strategy—and install new controls and equipment to keep crime from taking place.
Focus, attention, and visibility are essential. If a crime does occur, security guards document the problem, draft witness statements, gather signatures, and source the proper surveillance footage. Often, they’ll be in contact with the police if and when the situation escalates.
Yet technology is advancing. And while guards aren’t going anywhere, robots are playing an increasingly important role in the security space. The industry is pivoting, and automation and AI are more prevalent than ever. This begs the question: Could robot guards replace human guards altogether?
The Power of AI
At its simplest, AI, or artificial intelligence, is a system or machine that mimics human intelligence. It relies on this programmed mimicry to perform tasks in the same way—or even better—than a human would.
AI can grow stronger based on the information the machine gathers. For example, a chatbot might leverage AI to learn about the problems customers are facing. The more answers the robot gathers as a result of AI, the more efficiently it will work in the future.
In turn, your favorite streaming services use AI to offer personalized recommendations. This means that the more TV shows and movies you watch, the more specific the recommendations will be.
When you think of AI, you might think of robots taking over the world. In the security industry, you wouldn’t be wrong—security robots are increasingly taking over the sector. But the truth is that AI isn’t meant to replace humans. Rather, it’s designed to enhance human contributions.
In other words, a robot security guard can work with human guards to do an even better job of protecting people, property, and more.
Robot Security Guards Applications
Security robots are automated guards that rely on self-driving technologies, artificial intelligence, and robotics. They patrol designated areas to monitor, detect, and even investigate potential problems. While they cannot detain people, they can communicate with both intruders and the general public.
At this time, the main applications of robot security guards are as follows:
License plate recognition
Parking meter monitoring
Thermal vision and anomaly detection for people, packages, and other discrepancies
Suspicious device detection
Unauthorized access detection
Are robots worth the investment? Are they slated to replace human security guards altogether? Let’s take a closer look.
The Advantages of Robots
Robots have enriched many companies’ overall security strategies. Here are just some of the advantages they bring:
Robots don’t make mistakes unless they’re programmed incorrectly. They’re consistent in the way they work, leveraging AI to detect everything they’re supposed to witness. Robots don’t get tired or distracted, and they don’t “forget” to submit incident reports. While human guards are still necessary, supplementing them with robot guards can absolutely reduce the risk of human error. Robots are clear, consistent, and intent on getting the job done well!
Organizations looking to save can turn to robots without breaking the bank. Here’s how: Robots work around-the-clock. They don’t need a lunch hour or bathroom breaks, and they don’t have to step away to make an important phone call. In fact, they operate on battery—and managed correctly, they can save companies quite a bit of money. The ROI is up to 60% at this time, offering a compelling use case for investing in non-human guards.
There’s no such thing as paying off a robot (not yet, at least)! While the vast majority of security guards are trustworthy, ethically-sound, and intent on doing their jobs well, we all run the risk of hiring someone who operates on shaky moral ground. While robot security guards aren’t exactly empathetic, they are objective. They’re quite literally designed to enforce the programs software engineers are running on them. They won’t accept a bribe.
Robot security guards are programmed to handle people in potentially dangerous circumstances—putting human guards in fewer troublesome situations. Some robot guards are even equipped with nonlethal weapons, from paintball guns to smoke emitters. While they aren’t equipped to get into direct physical contact with criminals at this time, they can deploy nonlethal arms and contact human guards to take over when needed. Talk about a win-win.
Security Robots and Vision Technologies
Many security robots have impressive vision—better than any human.
Thermal imaging sensors, LIDAR and radar technology, and 360-degree vision are just the beginning.
This is because robots leverage vision technologies by design. From motion detectors to infrared vision, they can see things humans might not be able to. And again, their vision isn’t affected by fatigue or burnout. Robots are incredibly precise.
Using some of these same vision technologies, robots can even capture images or video and stream them back to a command center or device.
The Future of Security Robots
So will robots replace human security guards?
The answer is no. Robot security guards will continue to supplement human guard headcount without replacing these personnel altogether. At this point in time, no robot is going to perform CPR, handle a lethal firearm, or use empathy to deescalate a hostage situation.
Most companies deploy robot guards in one of the three following ways:
Brand-New Security Coverage
Organizations looking to prioritize or expand their security protocol for the very first time are investing in robots now more than ever. Rather than paying human guards a full-time salary, they might opt for a robot instead. This is a more economical way of prioritizing safety and security. Robots, after all, are generally a one-time expense.
Extended Security Coverage
For companies looking to cut back on staffing, robots could be the answer. Many companies leave human guards in critical areas and allow robots to take over other spaces. Often, robots are tasked with monitoring central locations, while human guards monitor the perimeter of the site. This hybrid approach can be tailored to your business needs.
Human Guard Replacement
In some cases, robot security guards do replace human guards. This only occurs rarely, but there are times companies do need to cut back on costs—and a robot security guard is certainly better than nothing. Perhaps the organization only uses robot guards at night, when the business is closed, and a blend of both human and robot guards during the day.
Security guards play a vital role in many verticals. You’ll find them in hospitals, shopping centers, schools, transportation hubs, and other areas where large groups of people tend to gather. Where have you seen them lately?
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