By Dr. Travis Deyle
Corporate facility executives have a number of pain points, including how to expand security monitoring and resources as business operations grow. Security guards can patrol, monitor, and respond to a limited number of issues at once, and the cost to deploy multiple security guards during low traffic times can be inefficient and ineffective, and existing infrastructure such as badge readers and cameras extend capabilities in a static and finite way.
This problem has beleaguered security and facility professionals for decades ⏤ how can security teams monitor facilities in a situationally aware and responsive way in order to provide effective and operationally efficient coverage? After identifying this gap in the ability for security operations to scale, Cobalt Robotics saw an opportunity to solve a real problem in the workplace. Looking at how to facilitate what humans do best and how robotics can serve the market, Cobalt Robotics found that they can extend the natural abilities of human security professionals by leveraging robotics and artificial intelligence to create a solution involving hardware, software, and people. The resulting Cobalt Robot is an integrated service that both protects and interacts seamlessly with people in the workplace and uses cutting-edge algorithms to detect anomalies such as open doors, unauthorized people, water leaks, or suspicious sounds.
A combination of autonomous vehicle technology, telepresence, and more than 60 sensors, Cobalt robots — which stand 5’2″ high — scale the abilities of a human security guard to observe multiple locations at once. If the robot senses something out of place, it reports the anomaly in real-time to a human robot specialist. Having a human in the loop ensures that autonomous monitoring is assisted by human decision-making when something is out of the ordinary.
Through complex machine learning algorithms, Cobalt robots can continue to learn over time and decrease the potential of false flags. For example, it has learned to differentiate between a real person and the image of a person on a poster mounted to a wall.
Once the Cobalt service is deployed at the client site, the robot is able to detect something out of place and thus notify a specialist who will decide how to respond to the situation. The specialist applies human-level intuition and knowledge of standard operating procedures, bridging human and machine intelligence and, in doing so, empowers security teams with another method to deliver effective physical security coverage.
Facility professionals and operations executives involved in making decisions about security programs are exploring ways to better track both people and assets, all of which are part of improving business operations and risk compliance. Security robots are a proven, effective solution, melding the efforts of man and machine to leverage the best qualities and capabilities of both to provide greater facility security.
Dr. Deyle is the founder and CEO of Cobalt Robotics, a company building indoor robots for physical security, facilities, and HR applications. He’s worked at Google[x], obtained his PhD from Georgia Tech, and was named to MIT Technology Review‘s “Top Innovators Under 35” in 2015.