6 benefits of using augmented reality in physical security

6 benefits of using augmented reality in physical security
Augmented reality (AR) is becoming increasingly popular in various fields, and security is no exception. For systems integrators (SI), in particular, the current developments in AR could prove to be quite beneficial. With major companies like Microsoft and Google coming up with AR hardware, equipment has become easy to access as well.

So, what are the advantages of using AR in physical security? Speaking to asmag.com, Brian Schwab, President, and CEO of S3 Security & Defense Consultants, listed the following points.

1. Incident Response Time

AR can be used to decrease time to issue or incident response. This can be accomplished through improved control of personnel deployed in response to an alarm or incident, which, in turn, allows for faster assessment of real-world situations at the incident site. This can also result in the more rapid assessment of alarms as being either false or nuisance alarms and allow decision-makers in a security command center to more rapidly and effectively dispatch security personnel to respond to an alarm or incident.

2. Personnel Safety

Safety of responding security personnel can be enhanced through the real-time GPS tracking of personnel location, allowing remote viewers to have digitally-enhanced maps showing the location of personnel. Safety is also enhanced by reducing danger to which response personnel is exposed. This can be achieved through AR providing the ability to "see through" walls to view enclosed areas containing video surveillance equipment from outside.

3. Equipment downtime

Security practitioners can use AR to minimize security countermeasure equipment downtime by displaying faulty equipment on a system map and allowing the subject matter experts to be able to see connections, conduits and other interconnection devices as part of the troubleshooting process. Subject matter experts can then direct field personnel in any repair protocols or provide more timely data on potential faults to companies with whom the security manager has developed master service agreements for maintenance activities.

4. Customer satisfaction

AR can maximize customer understanding and improve overall satisfaction with security operations. Security is often viewed as a "necessary evil" and outside observers are quickly turned off by the complexities of security equipment, processes, and outputs. AR can visibly display information in a manner that is easy for decision-makers and clients to understand. If a picture truly is worth a thousand words, AR displays of data could go a long way toward bridging the understanding gap between security practitioners and their clients or key corporate decision-makers. This will also assist the security practitioner in properly setting expectations, educating personnel and facilitating more meaningful dialogue on security issues within companies.

5. Costs of travel

Integrating AR into security procedures can reduce travel costs. The number of assessors needed to conduct a security audit of a site or the requirement to have a subject matter expert on-hand at a remote location whenever equipment fails can be reduced, leading to a noticeable decrease in air or rail ticket purchases, hotel stays, rental cars, and other associated travel costs.

6. Remote expert assistance

Security programs that integrate AR into the program can also reap positive rewards through scaling of expertise needed at specific, remote locations. Subject-matter experts can provide live guidance to field personnel, who are instantly connected from any location using a mobile device. Likewise, deployed subject-matter experts can provide security guidance, recommendations, and solutions in real time to key decision-makers allowing for more complete and effective collaboration. Field personnel can be guided in performing best practices and rapidly improve their skills, allowing them to do more with less formal, in-house training. This allows a security company or client to more efficiently leverage resources and digitally track completed work.

Wider adoption in the future

Of course, despite these benefits, there are certain challenges that AR hardware needs to overcome. According to Charlie Bennett, Regional Sales Manager at Ipsotek, the major challenges are related to aesthetics, processing power, ruggedness, and battery life.

"Most AR headsets currently available on the market are bulky and non-discreet which for surveillance applications are not appropriate," Bennett said, adding that his company’s product is an exception. "However, there are applications where the benefit of the glasses outweighs the need for discreet glasses, such as at security checkpoints (x-ray scanners or entrances to event hall) with guards that are marked."

As the technology continues to improve, we are sure to see more headsets coming out to the market, Bennett added. AR glasses are increasing in demand in a growing number of markets. They have already been introduced to several verticals and more markets could find a use for it in the days to come.
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