The Future of Physical Security
Crime has a $1+ trillion negative economic impact on our nation’s economy. It is a hidden tax we all pay every single year in blood, tears and treasure. The intersection between national security, homeland security, law enforcement and private security is broken. Don’t take my word for it — turn on the news and you’ll quickly get your dose of horrifying acts occurring in our society on a daily basis. A violent crime occurs in America every 27.1 seconds and a property crime every 3.7 seconds.
I’m sorry but I don’t believe the Founders of our country expected us to end up with a society where one would be fearful to go to work, to go to the mall, the movie theatre or even go to school with a risk of being shot at or killed. We are better than this and no amount of “thoughts and prayers” will solve the problem. A fundamental change is required.
Our country has the finest military in the world not only because of a $600+ billion budget but because someone is actually in charge of it. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) oversees our country’s military operations, maintains it, plans it and sets long-term strategic goals and achieves them. If you need a new submarine, jet fighter, tank or you name it, there is a massive group of professionals that will assess the organizational, business and technical requirements, put out a Request for Proposal to numerous standing-at-the-ready defense contractors….and…. days, months, years or even decades later your widget shows up at the Pentagon. And the U.S troops, rightly so, are provided all the capabilities one could ever imagine, all at their fingertips.
And somehow, infuriating to me to the nth degree, is that there are over 2 million law enforcement and private security professionals that get up every morning and are willing to take a bullet for you and your family, no different than a solider in a theatre of war, and the moronic prehistoric level of technology we provide these brave women and men in blue as a nation, on our own soil, is beneath the dignity of our country. No…utilizing duct tape, velcro, krazy glue and suction cups to hold things together for a cop’s equipment is not cutting edge technology…it is a national embarrassment and we should be ashamed of ourselves for letting it happen. Next time you walk by a cop car (which is rental fleet car made for civilians with a bunch of junk put on it to try to make it a cop car), take a quick glance inside and you’ll see what I mean.
Can you please list out the massive amount of new breakthrough innovations in the physical security over the last 100 years? Other than perhaps a stun gun, camera and a bullet resistant vest there is not much to show. To add insult to injury, most institutional investors won’t even recognize the sector as an investable opportunity — which reflects in not only an industry starving for innovation but also an industry starving for risk capital to drive that innovation.
While the DOD has complete control outside of our borders, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) effectively have NO federal jurisdiction over the 18,000+ law enforcement agencies and 8,000+ private security firms across this country. For lots of historical reasons, the law enforcement structure in the U.S. was tied separately to every single town, city, state, airport, railroad, etc. (unlike a majority of the rest of the world where the police are either clones of the military or a very strong, tightly connected mirror image).
Our planet is going to grow from 7 billion people to 9 billion people and now we expect the existing law enforcement apparatus to just scale magically? That is not going to work — not affordable, not capable, not efficient and absolutely not scalable. Pile in the privacy issues, terrorist cells, “us vs. them” issues, “Big Brother”, technology gaps, severe cracks in levels of trust across our society and we just need a massively better way forward.
Since the law enforcement sector is so fragmented with no centralized strategic planning function, exactly who is sitting around thinking about how we are going to innovate our way out of this unscalable, trillion dollar mess? We either need to change how the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security operate or we need to set up a transparent, privacy sensitive, civilian engaging, private sector innovation machine and virtually stand up a “U.S. Department of Crime” ourselves.
We at Knightscope are passionate about finding an innovative solution to our country’s $1 trillion crime problem — and our long-term goal is to cut it in half. It is one of the key reasons we founded the Knightscope (www.knightscope.com) three years ago — an advanced physical security technology company developing groundbreaking advanced detection capabilities in Silicon Valley. With autonomous robots, analytics and a “Software + Hardware + Humans” approach we are well on our way to helping one day #StopTheViolence.
We believe the future of physical security is providing professionals really smart eyes and ears to help them do their jobs more effectively by using autonomous robots and analytics. These Autonomous Data Machines (ADMs as we call them) gather massive amounts of data about the environment and learn over time “what is normal” — with the idea that eventually these machines will be able to see, feel, hear, and smell. As we make more and more progress on the technology, the machines will eventually be able to do 100 times more than a human could ever possibly do…and do it consistently. We would then have the machines to do the monotonous and computationally heavy work and have the humans do the strategic and decision making work. It would not only be a force multiplier but a game changer. And at $7 per hour it will one day be a liability not to employ the technology.
One profound new feature we are starting to work on is the ability to do detect a visible or concealed gun. This will take some time but we are confident that we can get it done. Even if we are able to give first responders just a few extra seconds or minutes to respond and save a life it will have been worth the effort.
Let’s suspend reality for a moment. What if we could actually cut the problem literally in half? What if we could deliver on our mission at Knightscope? What would actually happen, what would be the implications?
If we could cut the $1 trillion problem by 50% we would have a profound impact on housing prices, insurance rates, volatility of financial markets, municipal budgets, the viability of a business, the safety of your family — it would change everything. We would fundamentally alter our society for the better in profound ways. It will be one of the most fascinating and impactful disruptions in our lifetime. And it would not only be priceless to society but just as valuable to our investors.
I like to say, “Life is short, you need to work on something you love and make a huge impact”. I was born in NYC and someone hit my town on 9/11 and since then I made a commitment that I would spend the rest of my life helping to better secure our country. The security of our nation is a real problem worth working on and it literally impacts everyone. Our mission will take time but we are going to put a huge crater size dent in the problem — autonomously.
William Santana Li, Chairman and CEO, Knightscope, Inc.
Learn more at www.knightscope.com