Analysis: The shift of the security industry to real-time action

In some ways, the more traditional model of site security has become a victim of its own success. In this model, security operators monitor camera feeds across a site like a shopping mall or a concert venue.

The problem is that sites like these aren’t getting smaller — if anything, they’re only getting far larger. Metlife Stadium, for example, the home of both the New York Giants and the New York Jets, seats 82,570 people at maximum capacity.

All it takes is one single event to put all 82,570 of those people at risk. It could be a mass shooting, a terrorist attack, or even an uncontrolled environmental hazard. With a reactive security model, there is no way to stop an event. As a result, this type of event would be catastrophic.

Even a very large and well-trained team of security operators would likely have too many cameras to look at. It is unlikely that, even on the best of days, they would notice an incident taking place in one of the many feeds as it was happening. Being able to recognise when the conditions are right for a dangerous incident to take place would essentially become impossible.

This shows that a proactive approach to security is no longer optional — it is a requirement.

Limitations of the traditional monitoring model

A traditional security camera set up at such a large environment would usually be valuable only for post-incident review. While this helps to prevent incidents from happening again, it does little to help stop an incident before it happens.

Metlife Stadium isn’t the only example of this type of problem. More than 42 million people visit The Mall of America in Minnesota each year, or roughly eight times the number of people who actually live in Minnesota.  The University of Central Florida has an undergraduate enrollment of 55,783 students.

A reactive approach to protecting these sites is no longer enough to meet today’s challenges. Consequently, security professionals need a more proactive approach. This can be based on state-of-the-art technology.

Proactive tools for the modern era

One example of how organisations are shifting towards a more proactive approach to security has to do with modern-day camera technology. In a short period, AI-assisted video monitoring solutions have come along to revolutionise incident-response security and preventative security. Now, large sites like shopping malls, transportation hubs, university campuses and others are using this technology. By being able to deploy it both in real-time and at scale, the size and complexity of an environment is no longer a liability. These solutions lower a security organisation’s risk profile while dramatically increasing their response capability.

Majid Al Futtaim is just one example of an organisation that is already using proactive security. This company manages 21 shopping malls in five countries with over 178 million visitors annually. They have installed iCetana AI-assisted video monitoring across a complex network of 10,000+ cameras. As a result, iCetana enhances their proactive approach to site security, safety and operations

Another option would be to use devices like those connected to the Internet of Things to improve visibility. For example, a site like a hotel could install sensors on every window that could immediately alert security personnel if a window has been broken. According to Russell Kolins, chair of the ASIS International Hospitality, Entertainment and Tourism Security Council, this would have helped with an event like the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Had security personnel been notified the moment the gunman had broken his window, they could have identified that some type of security incident was about to go down. As a result, they would have extra precious minutes that would allow them to respond. This type of technology already exists; it’s simply up to site management to apply it.

A new surveillance future

A reactive approach to security incidents isn’t just outdated — it is inadequate to meet the challenges of the modern era. Today’s business environment is growing far too big and far too complex for the traditional surveillance model.

With advanced and holistic options like AI-assisted video monitoring, we’re in a place where we can leave the repetitive tasks to computers. This frees up security professionals — trained, passionate, and hardworking men and women — to focus on what they’re best at. As a result, they’re able to devote more attention to problem solving, talking to people, and planning security strategy. They can devote their attention to creating a more successful security model by harnessing the power of modern technology.

At that point, the safety of everyone at a site is no longer an afterthought. It is not only taken seriously, but it is planned out in advance and accounted for, ready for any outcome.