Here’s the Expert Lowdown for Integrators Who Want to Raise Their AI IQ

John Carter, CTO of ReconaSense, addresses numerous hot topics related to artificial intelligence and its impact on the physical security industry.

Is there a “smell test” or some other advice you can offer security integrators to ferret out the bad apples that overpromise their supposed AI-enabled products and solutions?

The first simple test is to compare when their marketing information began to say they were AI. Are they still shipping the same revision system they produced prior to the AI claim?

Additionally, examine the ability to score risk across multiple subsystems and identify issues that go beyond simple rules or policy breaches.

How can AI be leveraged to help enterprises reduce false alarms? Can you give a use application example for a particular vertical market that is successfully combatting false alarms with AI?

The use of AI to identify false alarms can span all markets. There are many we could discuss. We often think of false alarms only in terms of the false positive. I find the false negative uses case to be very intriguing.

One example would be the identification of access denied attempts. In many systems, these are ignored because the system did its job and denied the access, and no one cared. However, if I hired a new employee or contractor that was using their card at multiple locations where they were denied, it could be more serious issue.

In fact, if they were to try it at every door along a hallway, I would certainly treat that as a serious threat and have a discussion with that person. The insider threat remains illusive, especially in the physical security world, and AI is here to tackle this to the ground.

Standards play an important role in the adoption, proper application and eventual fruition of particular technologies. Do AI standards need to be created/adopted to ensure the success of the AI revolution in the physical security marketplace?

Typically speaking, the standards need to be at the device, communications and data layers of a system. By nature, an AI-based solution will only aggregate and characterize data that is obtained using those open standard approaches.

What might be considered is compliance standards on how the data is used, where it is stored, how it is protected and shared. Often, when I speak about AI, some have a view that “Skynet” has been created and that the “Terminator” will be deployed. I field more questions concerning the data privacy and use of the technology than I do about standards.

Will we eventually see the day when cost-effective AI applications will be utilized for small end customers? Read: affordable enough for small security budgets? Can you provide a couple examples what these affordable applications might look like?

The most practical and affordable AI application for small security budgets is risk-adaptive access control. Without describing the AI “how to” in this case I will give you a couple case examples that describe the “why to.”

In a traditional role-based access control system, a person is provided an access group or level that enables them to come and go on a schedule through a specific list of portals. In the case of a VIP, they might have 24/7 access to every location at a facility. They could potentially enter an area where there is great risk to their life safety without knowing it.

Through a variety of mechanisms, an AI solution could adapt to the risk and protect them by denying entry while risk is present. Conversely, it might notify someone who is not normally authorized to enter that location that they should now proceed there and grant them entry to assess and deal with the threat.

Any other comments or insights to inform systems integrators about AI you’d like to share?

We all use AI almost every day. It’s not some far off innovation at this point. You might get in your car at a certain time and see a notification that informs you of the drive time to your typical destination. You might use an online retailer that advises you concerning purchases you should make based on your normal selections or monthly purchase habits.

When it comes to physical security and AI, think of all the data our security officers face in a typical security operations center. They are looking at hundreds or thousands of people, devices, activities and data. We forget or ignore the human factors.

As humans, we need bio breaks. We have days where allergies or other medical factors affect our performance. An AI solution is always at work and can constantly monitor, evaluate, remind and inform a SOC on emerging threats, patterns or concerns. AI can provide real-time alerting and improved situational awareness. Seconds save lives.

About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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