Forming Real Bonds
Fully using technology will help security companies connect with customers
- By Dave Mayne
- Apr 09, 2020
Artificial intelligence has been
in the headlines a lot recently.
It will help save mankind or
usher in the robot apocalypse,
depending on which article you read.
Security professionals, who have spent
the past decade creating connected buildings
and bringing digital devices into the
homes of millions of consumers, understandably
have mixed feelings about AI.
One view of artificial intelligence
comes from years of innovating in the security
business. With the right approach
and controls, AI presents an exciting opportunity
for our industry. The use of AI
to better solve problems for our customers
means we will move from simply protecting
property to proactively ensuring our
customers' well-being. It means we'll be
able to partner with other industries, such
as healthcare, and add a range of services
to what we already offer.
As AI is applied to the data our devices
have been collecting for years — and
which will only grow in volume over time
— we are entering a whole new era for security
Hollywood screenwriters have depicted AI
in countless ways, but what is it really? Arti
ficial intelligence means different things
to different industries. To the security installer,
it should mean a resource that has
been at our fingertips for the past 10 years,
which we are only now in a good position
The industry has spent years deploying
cameras and sensors in homes and commercial
buildings. It's because of security professionals
that there are at least 10 million
"connected" buildings today, with an average
of six to eight devices inside each one.
With approximately 100 million sensors,
cameras and other devices deployed
and collecting data across the country,
there is a wealth of information at our
fingertips. Unlike the tech giants that sell
connected-home gadgets, we're not looking
to use that information to drive sales
of unrelated products. We can use this
information to make what we sell already
more valuable to our customers.
AI is the layer of analytics that can sit
on top of the mountain of data we're already
collected that will allow us to better
anticipate the wishes of our customers.
It's the path to evolve from being a passive
system of protection into a proactive
helper and enabler. This isn't Big Brother.
AI is about increasing the value we offer
How AI Can Broaden
the Definition of Security
Artificial intelligence is a series of data-analysis
programs we can apply to the
video and other information our devices
are collecting. But, beyond alerting homeowners
to break-ins, why do we want to
analyze this information?
The answer is simple: If we use AI programs
to analyze the information we're
collecting, we can offer new services while
ensuring our customers are even safer.
Here are a few basic examples of how this
Most people are creatures of habit.
Families and businesses adhere to a daily
routine, and it doesn't take long for an
AI program to learn when people tend
to come and go. There are schedules and
normal daily practices. That means AI can
learn when you want the lights on, and
when you typically lock the doors.
Artificial intelligence is also good at
spotting variations from the routine. Plenty
of consumers and business owners want
to know not just if someone has broken
into their premises, but if something out
of the ordinary has occurred.
A camera capable of recording a breakin
is also capable of spotting a suspicious
character on your doorstep and alerting
you. With AI capabilities, a camera can
discern the difference between a harmless
deer walking through a backyard and a
AI can spot the difference between a normal
routine and a variation, and alert the
customer. In the case of elder care, that can
save a life while enabling independent living.
Imagine a security installer with a customer who has an elderly mother living across town. That customer
wants to know more than just whether an intruder has
broken in, such as, "Did my mother get out of bed at the usual
time today? Did she take her medication at the right time? Is she
sticking to the basic routines that tell me she is healthy and well,
or has she varied from the routine?
If we begin to use the data we collect to offer proactive alerts
and tips about security, we go far beyond ringing an alarm if
someone breaks into a home or business. We become an active
helper in the lives of people, informing them any time there's a
change to the standard course of daily events.
Where We Go From Here
Sensors and cameras can offer valuable information, whether to
individual customers or whole industries. With AI underpinning
the collection and analysis of information, the devices we've already
put in the field can detect things like changes to temperature
and humidity, or electricity usage patterns.
Information like this can be a boon to the property management
business in the same way home monitoring can be a game-changer
to the healthcare industry. Our devices are already out
there, collecting the information necessary to make these things happen. We just have to interpret the data and make it useful.
The security professional should think of AI as the bridge
that gets us to these insights. We can help our customers better
understand and manage the unexpected in their lives. The key is
partnering with a security technology provider that understands
the potential of AI, and helps you harness it.
At Alula, we have already developed and demonstrated AI
technologies that distinguish specific objects in the video content
we capture. We are able to initiate actions automatically based on
unexpected or unusual sensor activity, and the Alula platform is
being leveraged to monitor changes in activity for aging people
These solutions and others will be delivered to our professional
partner network over the next several years, helping to solidify
the value of the professional security channel for the next decade
Artificial intelligence is the way we offer more
value, roll out new services and form closer relationships
with the customers we serve. It's not
going to replace us, but rather make us more relevant
This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of Security Today.