Mark Mullison, CIO, Allied Universa

In today’s world, a cyber threat can become a physical threat, which may turn into a cyber threat again. The walls between physical security and cybersecurity are coming down, and these formerly disparate worlds are converging. Ecosystem level thinking is required to be effective in this new world.

Consider a tip that a student reports about a suspicious person on campus through LiveSafe’s crowdsourced risk and security intelligence solution that is shared with a physical security team who take action and ensure that a threat doesn’t become a tragedy. Or consider a security team’s response to an alert when an employee swiped his/her badge to access the Washington, D.C. office at the same time that this employee’s User ID just logged into a workstation in Jacksonville, Florida? Or how about ensuring that an on-ground security team is made aware of (and responds properly to) telemetry from the Twittersphere that protests at a park nearby are starting to turn violent?

Today’s safety and security ecosystems include lots of great tools like threat intelligence platforms, video analytics, access control systems, cybersecurity software, GPS-based patrol route management, and well-trained security professionals. But how do we operate effectively in an ever-increasingly complicated environment? The answer is found in a holistic focus on the ecosystem.

Well-designed ecosystems of the future will shift the model from “detect and respond” to “predict and prevent.” Enabling effective communication between an ecosystem’s components is critical to maximizing efficiency and productivity and achieving the best safety and security outcomes. But communication isn’t enough. We need to be able to see the “order” in what otherwise might seem like “chaos” because of the volume and variety of information. This is where artificial intelligence(AI) comes in. And this is where the magic will happen. One key challenge that future ecosystems face is enabling people and tech to work together effectively. We need AI that is not just smart like humans, but smart with humans. AI can enable efficient and effective cooperation between ecosystem components, including both tech and people. Such AI ensures the effectiveness of onsite security by reasoning over the information provided by all the different components and understanding not just what’s likely to happen, but what to do to drive better outcomes.

 Today’s safety and security ecosystems include lots of great tools like threat intelligence platforms, video analytics, access control systems, cybersecurity software, GPS-based patrol route management, and well-trained security professionals 

At Allied Universal, we’ve put some of this kind of next generation thinking into our HELIAUS® product. This product is able to transform data into actionable insights across a security ecosystem and then ensure they get actioned. This isn’t hype. Customers who use HELIAUS have seen, on average, over a 20% reduction in safety and security incidents through the use of AI.

To generate the best outcomes, AI-enabled ecosystems, like HELIAUS, need to be able to interface with all of a company’s security systems and assets. Today that includes things like remote video feeds and video analytics data, crowdsourced security and safety tips from products like LiveSafe, and great well-trained security professionals. Over time, the data sources will expand and begin to include information from IoT sensors, drones, robots, and more. Workflows today task our security professionals or client resources as appropriate via text and email. In the future, drones and other automation technology will be able to play a part and receive taskings and report results automatically. It’s all about the ecosystem.

It’s clear that, as time goes on, the walls between physical security and cybersecurity will go away. The walls between people and technology will also come down. The best outcomes will come to those with an ecosystem that allows ALL the safety and security components to cooperate at light speed, thus taking advantage of the reasoning power of artificial intelligence. This is how we’ll bring all the ecosystem’s resources to bear in a way that drives better outcomes. We truly are on the cusp of a brave new world. 

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