Travel Risk Management & Specialist Risk Consulting
Technology Trends – What It Means for Private Security
February 21st, 2017   Van Bethea

Having worked in the protection and security industry for over 40 years, I am beginning to see an evolutionary change in the way these services are delivered as a result of technology enhancements.

When I completed my military service during the Viet Nam era, my first job was with a major computer entity in the late 1960s. This was when we saw tremendous achievements in technology where great minds created things you could not imagine living without today. These innovations included such things as the computer mouse, the world’s first video game console, dynamic random access memory, laser beams and the Unix computer operating system.

As I entered into my law enforcement career, I was fortunate to be a part of a paradigm shift from laborious manual processes and paper files stuffed into file cabinets to computer-aided-dispatch, automated vehicle locator systems and mobile data terminals in police units. I have seen technology increasingly facilitate security services with GPS applications for protection details, computerized risk intelligence data analysis and enhanced wireless video/alarm systems.

Over the next decade, technology will automate routine cognitive work. Technologies such as genomics, nanotechnology, and robotics will take center stage. We have already seen how popular consumer technologies are such as robots, drones, and virtual reality and they have been slowly crossing over into the security industry over the past few years.

So, what does this technology trend mean for the security industry? While I do not think robots will ever replace humans altogether, the future does look like there will be an increased blend of robotics, data, and humans. You can augment a security or protection officer with technology but not necessarily replace them.

Robots that are equipped with sensors to detect people, objects, temperature changes or unexpected noises can help mitigate risk, increase security officer safety and cost less.

More and more start-up companies are developing robotic solutions. They are focused on building more human-like robots that can interact with humans rather than just capture data or be a physical deterrent. Currently, robotics is best used in environments with minimal human interactions. However, this will change as technology becomes more advanced.

Another trend is how virtual reality technology is changing the way we train police officers, security agents and even the general public for critical incidents or emergencies. Active shooter training simulations can be programmed for a specific training need and can capture a 3D rendering or a computer graphic image (CGI) of a wide range of environments (company office, manufacturing facility, or event venue); generate threat scenarios and take participants through active shooter training in a virtual world. This type of training can be presented in any location and on demand.

Virtual reality training for risk mitigation professionals and private sector security personnel will significantly enhance security contingency planning and response strategies. This training could also be beneficial as an annual mandatory training requirement for company employees or school campus faculty members.

Whatever the future holds, you can be sure that technology will, at a minimum, be an increasingly larger part of security contingency planning.