In his latest blog for Infologue.com, David Ward of Ward Security discusses the advance of technology in security. David writes: “You would think people would be unfazed and even unimpressed about the arrival of new technologies and innovations, but they still have the potential to surprise and turn our world upside down when they arrive. The sight of twenty-somethings gathered in parks and plazas to catch Pokemon show the extent to which new innovations – in this case an augmented reality videogame – have to grab our imagination and influence our behaviour.
“It’s often the case that new technologies and innovations arrive well before the ‘killer application’ that drives their mass market or business uptake. Augmented reality is nothing new, but until Pokemon Go, few people were aware of it. Now people have been familiarised with the concept, we can expect ‘augmented reality’ to become widespread in both the civilian and commercial spheres. Similarly, virtual reality and drones have also been around for some considerable time. In the case of drones we are already seeing their commercial applications emerge, such as the testing of Amazon remote delivery and surveillance.
“If technology teaches us anything; it’s that if an idea is good, it WILL happen. The use of drones as a highly mobile monitoring platform is certainly a good idea, especially for large sites or high buildings where the ability to dispatch a drone that can reach a remote part of a site or a rooftop in seconds is driving their uptake.
“In the world of security and policing we are expert at embracing new technologies and finding applications that both make our job easier and more effective. From the arrival of the humble walkie-talkie in the middle of the last century, through to today’s extensive suite of remote monitoring, detection and digital communications technologies, the security industry has found ways to integrate technology to great effect.
“Many technologies have become almost exclusive to the security industry, such as ground radar perimeter protection, which is also invaluable for monitoring large areas. Yet outside of the security industry applications for this technology are few.
“However, with every new technology that offers ways to assist and strengthen the security function there will be somebody working on ways to defeat or circumvent it, so all technology systems should ideally feature additional support, and it is foolish to consider any technology to be invulnerable.
“It is also important to understand that many technologies can be used equally for nefarious uses. Drones are proving a considerable challenge to security, especially at sensitive sites. The cost of temporarily closing an airport due to a drone infringing on airspace will run into £millions a minute and will have a knock-on effect to flight plans across the globe. There is also a concern about their use in the hands of terrorists, and the potential devastation of a Semtex-laden drone over a parked airliner is easy to imagine. So the unregulated ownership and use of drones is something the government needs to address urgently.
“A wide range of anti-drone technology is available to monitor and even disable drones, but while there is a risk of these being used to disable security surveillance drones, the reality is that they are largely employed as part of the security suite at sensitive sites such as government buildings, corporate headquarters to stop rogue drones, and even at prisons to stop drones being used to deliver contraband.
“So just as the security industry embraces new innovations and technology, so it also needs to be aware of the challenges of ensuring they remain robust and are not used to circumvent security or used for ill. That will always be the name of the game.
“When discussing the advance of technology within any industry there will always be a cynicism that more technology leads invariably to redundancy. This may certainly be the case in highly automated industries such as manufacturing, but the adoption of technology has never dramatically affected the security industry in the same way. The reason is simple; there will always be a need for feet on the ground to deliver the security function effectively. And instead of replacing staff, technology has simply added to the toolkit of security personnel. Indeed, the increased use of technology has required a greater skillset from security personnel in order for them to manage and integrate the modern technology suite into the equation. This has made the modern security operative more valuable, with skills that are highly specific and transferrable.
“So will we see the augmented reality technology applied to security? Undoubtedly. It’s just a case of working out how it can be used. It won’t be long before ‘gotta catch them all’ means a lot more than simply catching and collecting Pokemon”.
Opinions expressed by contributors and commentators do not necessarily reflect the views of Infologue.com or Interconnective Limited.