Every Technician Needs a Sidekick

by John Gallagher | Aug 22, 2017 3:27:30 PM

For several years the move to IP-based physical security has been underway, but if you are responsible for maintaining and servicing these systems the reality is your work life has not improved as expected.  That is about to change, and quickly, as the combination of artificial intelligence, mobility, and analytics makes the old way of performing service on physical security systems seem antiquated and ineffective.  In other words, the transition to IP-based physical security has been hard (and expensive), but massive payoffs are about to emerge from that effort and the first recipients will be project managers and service technicians in the form of an “AI Sidekick”. 

When you look at the service and maintenance process there are typically 3 phases: finding out about a problem, diagnosing the problem, and fixing the problem.  Each of these phases can be transformed (in some cases with order-of-magnitude improvements) by the service technician having assistance available to them based on automated verification and other analysis of system-level analysis.  Similarly, project managers can gain vastly improved “situational awareness” through these means.  

It’s important to highlight, these roles (project manager, service technician) are not eliminated by this; quite the opposite.  New and powerful tools like an AI Sidekick still need to be operated by skilled and knowledgeable hands.  Along with IP-based physical security comes the need to coordinate with other parts of the company; IT, facilities, compliance, and potentially others.  Bottom line is the critical role of the integrator remains; what the project managers and technicians need is a sidekick or helper, not a replacement.  So what does the sidekick look like? 

First and foremost, your AI Sidekick needs to be mobile and handy.  In other words, every service tech can’t be lugging around a KnightScope or “Rosie the Robot” from the Jetson’s.  It has to be phone, tablet, or web-based so that it doesn’t add anything to the equipment already carried by the service technician, and can be accessed by the technician at any time. 

Secondly, your AI Sidekick needs to be purpose-built.  The benefit of artificial intelligence is that it is specific to the task, and descriptive and directive in what actions should be taken.  For example, if a camera device fails it is a lot more useful for the service technician to know it’s the one in the lobby by the elevator, rather than being given a MAC address.  For service and maintenance, having an AI Sidekick that not only knows when something went wrong but also can automatically tell you why and how to fix it is revolutionary.  In the overall service and maintenance process roughly 80% of the time (based on studies by Viakoo customers) is spent on troubleshooting and diagnostics; with a purpose-built AI Sidekick that time is brought virtually to zero.

Third, your AI Sidekick must be adaptive.  That’s the heart of it being based on artificial intelligence.  With change as a constant in most industries (including physical security) an intelligent system that adapts based on new information and domain-specific knowledge will be necessary.  For example, the recent spike in cyber-threats targeting physical security is a new problem for the industry, but quickly the industry is responding with solutions.  Through an AI Sidekick not only will solutions more quickly get into the hands of the technician, but they will also be able to generate a corrective action plan that builds on previous knowledge of the account (e.g. specific to the camera devices, network, VMS, etc.).  In other words, solutions for broad threats can be “mass customized” through AI to be more effective in solving the problem quickly. 

With the “heavy lifting” phase of moving physical security from analog to digital coming to a close, the industry now can start reaping the benefits of that migration.  As the leader in automated system and data verification for physical security Viakoo has always had a strong vision for the digital transformation in physical security, and the role of AI in that transformation.  We're here to tell you, your AI Sidekick is waiting for you. 


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