Protect your assets with physical security and IoT

April 1, 2021

Protect small and medium sized businesses using security technologies supported by IoT

In our previous blog post we outlined how IoT applications help businesses. Here we’ll explore specifically how physical security systems have evolved with the addition of the internet of things, and how this shift can further protect your business with even less effort.

Introduction

Physical security is a major concern for businesses. This includes protecting a company’s people, intellectual property, and equipment. Limited peace of mind can also lead to unnecessary stress and can cause distractions to the growth of your business.

According to a report from 2019, the threat of malicious attacks against SMB companies increased 424% YoY. After an attack, small businesses can face financial losses (property) as well as the loss of confidential information (fraud). This risk underscores the value of IoT-enabled security systems. Let’s explore what this looks like in the marketplace.

IOT and security systems

There are currently billions of devices connected to the internet. Most of us are familiar with everyday products like computers, phones, and tablets that allow a user to access the worldwide web for browsing purposes. But did you know that other household items like thermostats, refrigerators, and fitness trackers can also connect to the internet? These products are commonly referred to as smart devices, which is another term for internet of things or IoT. They are equipped with tiny sensors that track movement, temperature, and other usage statistics like when a water filter needs to be replaced in your refrigerator. These datapoints are then sent over the internet and used by businesses to better serve customers.

The internet of things has also entered the world of physical security. This is especially important with the addition of intelligence to video surveillance. Let’s use a practical example to better understand how this might work..

Retail Example

Imagine you are the owner of a retail shop. Neighboring stores have recently suffered from theft and vandalism, and you’re worried the same could happen to you. The last thing you can afford is the loss of valuable inventory, or the cost of fixing property damage, so you outfit your store with smart security cameras. This surveillance equipment detects unexpected movement that could put your store at risk. Sensors embedded in the cameras record audio and video for future evaluation. What’s more, they can authenticate those who shouldn’t be on the premises through facial and voice recognition. Finally, they can even play an automated message warning the intruder that the police are on the way. This oftentimes thwarts the invasion before any escalation.

Presenteeism Example

Another contemporary example is the monitoring of remote workforces due to the global Coronavirus pandemic. Stores and restaurants are currently operating with skeleton crews. Skilled laborers are working from home with little supervision. Organizations that depend on reliable attendance or need tight record-keeping when leadership can’t be present may want to implement smart security systems to efficiently keep an eye on things.

Facilities Management Example

According to the International Facility Management Association, organizations that use physical security and IOT-enabled devices reduce maintenance, energy, and recurring costs by 50%. This is especially relevant for facilities management of retail stores, hotels, and apartment complexes. Security teams increase their efficiency and effectiveness by monitoring multiple properties at once from a single location. Your security team can make quick decisions, respond faster and prioritize action plans by event severity. This instills a feeling of safety for residents and visitors. Data points collected at management facilities from smart security systems turn disparate data into actionable insights.

Use of IOT-enabled Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV)

CCTV (or video surveillance) is one of the most used IOT-enabled applications. It is the use of video cameras which monitor and record that area’s activities. Whether your company owns commercial/residential properties, retail stores or farmland, you should consider protecting your assets using IoT enabled physical security to proactively monitor your asset. These tools are simple to manage, hidden from view, cost-effective and deter crime.

A recent retail study showed that retailers lose nearly $50 billion to theft, especially in high-crime areas. With over 275 million incidents worldwide, installing an intelligent CCTV surveillance system is critical. This isn’t limited to outsiders. Employees have been known to engage in corporate and intellectual property theft.

Proactive IoT-enabled physical security – A real life case study

At OmniLegion, we see first-hand how smart security systems improve our customers’ businesses. For example, a large cannabis supplier deployed an IoT-enabled security system to deter crop theft on farms, and product theft in stores. After months of frustration, a system was installed that warned management any time there was unusual activity. The first security remediation step was an audible message notifying the perpetrator that the authorities were on the way. Oftentimes this simple step scared villains away before any harm occurred. The solution was diagrammed as follows:

  • Cameras placed around farm, prep areas, transit, and dispensary
  • Proactive alarm with fully integrated video monitoring
  • Sensors installed across the property
  • Cameras equipped with artificial intelligence to proactively mitigate risk
  • Automated messaging and deterrence solutions
  • After installing the solution, the company was able to protect their asset when nobody was looking.

Use of IOT-enabled cameras for remote education

Different sectors demand extreme levels of authenticity. Education is an example of an environment prone to cheating. It requires proof that the student taking an exam is who they say they are. This is especially true during times like the global pandemic where testing centers are closed to the public, and students must take exams from home. This same IoT-enabled video identifies when a student may be cheating with the use of facial recognition and where a student is looking.

Conclusion

In this article, we explore how IOT-enabled security systems ensure your business is safe. That kind of peace of mind could be what differentiates between your ultimate success or failure. These tools can protect your assets and people from harm and do it in a very cost-effective manner. It’s never too late to secure your business leveraging the latest technology.

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