Are AR/VR The Next Tech Evolution In Security?

By Jumbi Edulbehram

As part of my first column in a monthly series for Security.World, I want to look at the emerging technologies coming down the pipeline within the security industry —and beyond— and answer the burning questions: Will this change how we protect people?

Can we achieve more protection with less equipment? How can AI influence the industry? Will these changes be good or bad overall? Tune in as I explore a wide range of topics in the coming months.

While most of us are now familiar with and may have even experienced the fun and excitement of virtual reality (VR), there’s a newer, similar technology with a less immersive experience that may soon start impacting our everyday lives: augmented reality (AR). Defined as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device,” AR is making its way into a variety of markets, such as healthcare and manufacturing, to improve processes and operations. The physical security industry is also poised to take advantage of this exciting new technology.

With today’s complex threat landscape and evolving technology, actionable intelligence offered in a timely manner is critically important. AR helps achieve this by differing from VR in that viewers can still see a real, physical view of the world while at the same time obtaining important information and critical alerts in their field-of-view.

This new technology opens up a whole new world of applications for video surveillance. AR enables video feeds from surveillance cameras to be transmitted through wearable devices, such as smart glasses. Advanced software can allow users to pan, tilt and zoom the camera’s views by using either head movements or voice commands. AR essentially permits users to see around a corner or observe another area from afar, heightening safety and security for people and assets.

The ultimate advantage created is the ability for security personnel to remain mobile and hands-free while receiving alerts or viewing footage locally or remotely over the Internet. Users can be immediately placed into any situation no matter their location, facilitating immediate response times.

For example, guarding personnel at a critical infrastructure site can be alerted of an alarm across a facility and see a live video stream through the AR device for a real-time view of the scene without having to access a mobile device. The 3-D image of a facility that can be viewed in the glasses also puts operators at an advantage because of their ability to see the entire facility and click on the camera icon to access the video.

Video captured by high-resolution cameras on the smart glasses can also be shared with other users or transmitted to a security operations center (SOC), increasing situational awareness not only through existing surveillance cameras, but also from on-the-ground personnel. So, for example, in an emergency situation, the operator or guard wearing the glasses can show whoever is manning the SOC what they are seeing in real-time.

Standard operating procedures and instructions for emergency management can then be sent to the person in the field to view in their glasses and take the appropriate actions.

These operators and decision-makers at the SOC can benefit from an on-the-ground view of any situation, and especially from areas that may not be easily reached by traditional security cameras, greatly enhancing the timeliness and quality of the response.

Applying AR to security systems has the potential to completely revolutionize the way video surveillance is accomplished. This cutting-edge technology brings together the power of complete video coverage with the ability to adapt to changing risks, leading to a comprehensive and innovative security solution.

About The Author
Jumbi Edulbehram is a thought leader within the security and business intelligence markets, and serves as the Regional President – Americas for Oncam. His career has spanned more than 30 years with senior leadership roles at Intel, Samsung Techwin, Intellivid, and Axis Communications.