"See the man there?" asked the security officer, pointing to an older man with a dog on a leash. "He used to have two dogs; now he has only one."
I was on a ride-along with the security officer, waiting for the clock to strike 11 p.m. so we could enter a client’s building. As we waited, the security officer’s words about the dog owner lingered in my mind.
Through experience and intuition, a security officer becomes attuned to subtle shifts and irregularities in their environment, sensing when something isn’t right. This ability to rely on intuition, emotional intelligence, adaptability, and the capacity to make complex decisions is what makes great security officers. It’s also what makes us human.
Skepticism toward disruptive innovations
In conversations about the future of work and technology, there’s often concern about robots and AI replacing human jobs, especially in security, where technology's role is growing. However, it’s crucial to remember that human presence remains invaluable. A more interesting conversation is: How can technology augment human presence when it comes to security?
Throughout history, people have often been wary of new and disruptive inventions. Imagine the skepticism of miners when they were first told to bring a caged canary deep into the mines. Similarly, Henry Ford’s assembly line also faced initial resistance. Yet, history has shown that many inventions have significantly improved safety in hazardous jobs, eased the difficulty of challenging tasks, and infused enjoyment into boring work.
The same can be said about leveraging new technology to enhance today’s security measures. Technology not only helps us save time – which, in our fast-paced world, has become one of our most precious commodities – but also helps create safer, more efficient environments. In essence, innovations in security technology serve to augment human presence.
Empowering – not replacing – security officers
While the tech giants own much of the digital realm, the security industry has a unique and indispensable ability to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds.
With hundreds of thousands of security professionals all over the world, our industry embraces this dual role, having an on-site presence that’s empowered by technology and driven by data. This presence is the backbone of many modern security operations – and is a testament that humans are not replaced but rather empowered by technology to enhance our capabilities.
For instance, instead of sending security officers to a location without any insights, we can use the data and tools at our disposal to provide useful information, such as previous incidents, floor maps, and known issues. This digital upgrade lets us leverage our officers’ knowledge and expertise more efficiently when they’re handling situations on-site.
Empowering security officers with technology means making their work easier, freeing their time to focus on more complex issues, automating routine administrative tasks, and ideally, making their work more enjoyable.
Harnessing unique human skills
Security technology has advanced significantly over the years – with improvements in AI, machine learning, and data analytics making electronic security systems more powerful than ever.
Still, human expertise remains irreplaceable in critical areas. Security personnel play a pivotal role in monitoring and maintaining systems, recognizing subtle environmental changes or signs of suspicious behavior, assessing intentions when it comes to access control, and making informed decisions in emergency situations. For example, officers may prioritize evacuating specific areas based on their assessment, considering factors like crowd behavior and potential risks.
Ultimately, striking the right balance between human intuition and technology is the key to success. The unique skills and adaptability of security professionals, combined with the power of technology and data, help create a more robust security program and can improve an organization’s preparedness and response to dynamic challenges.
While we're in the midst of a digital revolution, the value of security professionals can’t be underestimated. They’re the linchpin that helps ensure technology remains a powerful tool that’s leveraged to its full extent.
Security technology provides critical capabilities, data, and insights, and security professionals add that crucial layer of understanding, instinct, and adaptability. As businesses navigate a tech-driven world, it's important to recognize that both technology and people are equally indispensable. Together, they create a formidable force in safeguarding our security.