The Rise of the Robots

The Rise of the Robots

During a recent visit to a customer’s offices, I noticed what looked like a moving bollard and it reminded me of the moving litter bins at theme parks, so I approached it to see what it was. I discovered it was a security robot that patrols the car park and raises alarms if it detects anything anomalous.

Now even more intrigued, I researched the robots and discovered it was a K5 security robot from Knightscope technology (K1, K3 and K7 also available) which uses lasers, sensors, thermal cameras, and GPS to detect anomalies in its environment based upon foundation data and the data it is gathering/analysing. It also uses machine learning to help it make better decisions and raise appropriate alarms. It weighs 300lbs and is 5ft tall, but it does not ‘tackle’ the anomaly (no weaponry), it simply raises an alarm.

The robots can scan over 300 number plates and/or images per minute and record this information to identify anything suspicious.  The same monitoring can detect vehicles, people and audio in areas that they are not meant to be, alerting it’s ‘support centre’.

I discovered that they are mostly used at sports stadiums, car parks, shopping malls, university campuses, movie studios, and empty properties. Pretty much any large open space that needs a security patrol. They can be hired for £5 an hour, and can be set to alert the ‘support centre’ (either your security team, local police or a central monitoring service centre).  This means they can be deployed in areas where a human security guard may not be able to gain access (S Korea use them in the DMZ with N Korea) or may be a cheaper/safer option. In addition, they have never called in sick, been caught having a nap, disappear to the loo, sell secrets, or sneak to McDonalds.

So that all then got me thinking about how iCore would support the adapting of traditional IT Service Management sitting behind these devices? Looking at the usual suspects of Incident, Event, Change, Release, and Continuity, it became clear that all of this applied but it was mainly managed by the provider. I discovered that the robots got charged in 20 minutes every 24 hours (and they move themselves to the charge point when they need it) and during that time any patch, upgrade, release would be applied if required, having been downloaded from Knightscope in advance. The robots always have active monitoring running and so any ‘internal’ events, or incidents are sent through to their ‘support centre’ who can run remote diagnostics and apply fixes if necessary.

Considering other necessary IT Service Management capabilities, we see the data being backed up ahead of every charge event and this is analysed by the customer as they own the data.  In addition any new Knowledge that the robots require is downloaded to their analytical database.  There are obvious Configuration, Software Asset and Hardware Asset Management but these are handled centrally in the main.

As these are a subscription service (£5 per hour per robot) then they are pretty much the same as a mini-cloud service with the customer just making sure they have power and can connect to the network.

This could be considered dangerous in the hands of the criminal fraternity, but to date no unit has been hacked or impacted by any malware, and it can be shut down remotely if necessary.

Not quite Terminator or R2-D2 (or even K9) but getting there.

At iCore we are used to helping organisations adapt the traditional service management and service delivery capabilities to accommodate new ways of working arising from Cloud, Agile and DevOps, and I did recently do a vlog on supporting an on-line fridge!

If you want iCore to help you adapt your design, transition or operational processes then contact us at info@icore-ltd.com or call 020 7868 2405.