Robot Security Guards in Condo Associations

While much of Condo Association life is important – albeit sometimes dry with topics like Special Assessments, major projects and the like – it’s also fun to take a look at the future and what new technologies might one day transform Condo Association life.  Drones are already here and now, today we’ll be covering an innovation that’s still probably several years away from mainstream adoption, but is nonetheless quite exciting: robotic security guards.  Robotics have been the topic of Hollywood movies forever, the technology is finally maturing and making science fiction a reality.  Could we see robot security guards in Condo Associations in the near future?

 

I was sent to protect your Condo Association... from you.
I was sent to protect your Condo Association… from you.

Benefits of Security Guards in an Association

Safety and security is a serious topic.  First and foremost, you need a good security plan.  Typically there are numerous improvements you can make to your property before you elect to hire traditional security guards.  While not appropriate for many small Associations, security guards have their place within the an overall security plan for larger communities.  In particular, they excel at providing an Association a faster response time to incidents than the police may be able to, as well as a deterrent effect from the patrols, and they can also be used to enforce specific things – for example, if an Association has common trespassers in a specific area.  

Downsides of Security Guards in an Association

While security guards bring benefits, they also have limitations, such as:

  1. Shift fatigue, common to all security guards – in the middle of the night when nothing is going on is when guards can be least alert – and of course, that’s when you want them the most alert. 
  2. The equipment they carry – unless you want to invest in night vision scopes or the like, you’ve got limited capability at night.
  3. Cost – for 24/7 coverage, you’re looking at three shifts, and that’s not cheap.

For this reason, the cost/benefit decision of security guards can be tough to justify for most Associations.

Is There a Need for Robot Security Guards in Condo Associations?

An innocent egg-like robot, equipped with a ton of sensors.
An innocent egg-like robot, equipped with a ton of sensors.

Enter the robots.  The challenges stated above apply to everyone, so it’s not surprising that the technology community wants to create solutions.  The biggest company making waves is KnightScope.  Their robots (which come in varying sizes) can patrol a variety of terrains and include four high-definition cameras, four microphones, temperature sensors, and more.  Best of all?  The robot is priced as low as $7 an hour – far less than a human.  And while they need to recharge, they don’t fall asleep on the job.

The company wants their robots to help their customers by providing live data feeds to humans who can react to situations – like trespassers or people in distress – accordingly.  Given the numerous sensors equipped on the robot, one could argue it is more likely to pick up a problem (or record a trespasser in high definition) than a human security guard.

All is not rosey for the technology, however – they made the news for running over a toddler.  So the robots aren’t ready to take over quite yet, and as with all things, there are liability considerations. But there’s certainly a compelling argument to be made.  Knightscope is just one company in the sapce – China rolled out a weaponized security robot recently.  That product is probably a little overkill for most HOA needs, and there are several other companies building similar devices.

Will They Gain Traction?

Will we see the rise of the robots?  My prediction – absolutely.  If a robot can do the job for better and cheaper than the competition, you’ll start to see adoption.  Big tech companies like Microsoft and Uber will lead the way, this will in turn drive down the cost for others, like Condo Associations.  You won’t see them everywhere, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see robot security guards in Condo Associations very soon.  


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