From niche solutions to mandatory installations: Insights into AI’s growing place in physical security with Xtract One Technologies’ CEO

Xtract One Technologies

In this exclusive Q&A, we hear from Xtract One Technologies‘ CEO Peter Evans, all about the growing use of AI generative technology within physical security systems, particularly in the development of its own weapons screening solution, SmartGateway.

What are the main drivers for this uptick in importance of comprehensive safety protocols?

PE: “Post-COVID, there has been a significant rise in violence, agitation, and weapons-related incidents. One of the main drivers in this uptick is the increasing polarisation, entitlement, and stress within society. Unfortunately, venues and large spaces often become targets for these malicious events. As a result, it has become crucial for venues to not only implement comprehensive safety protocols, but to also have the physical means to proactively address any safety concerns.”

Could you explain the role that generative AI technology will have on physical security solutions?

    PE: “AI provides an opportunity to shift physical security from a reactive, labour-intensive approach to a proactive, highly scalable, and digitally enabled model.

    “For example, video cameras are a common tool in physical security, but having people continuously monitor video feeds is not scalable and remains a reactive process. AI excels at scanning and analyzing vast amounts of data, summarizing it into a few critical insights. These insights are then easy for humans to evaluate and act upon. In the case of AI-enabled cameras, AI can replace the need for humans to watch thousands of camera feeds, providing alerts only for specific issues. This approach offers massive cost-effective scalability, more effective use of personnel, and precise digital information about the specific issue.

    “The same principle applies to scenarios such as weapons detection and scanning. Traditional methods, like using 75-year-old metal detectors, are no longer effective or scalable for addressing modern, escalating threats. AI-enabled weapons screening systems, such as the SmartGateway, can differentiate between ordinary metal items like smartphones, keys, and wallets, and weapons such as firearms and knives. This reduces the need to stop and screen every person, creating a more efficient, lower-labour, and faster entry experience.”

    How will it help to develop and shape them?

      PE: “Generative AI, a type of machine learning that creates new content such as text, images, videos, music, and more, can significantly impact the development and shaping of physical security solutions. When applied to physical security, it can generate custom information tailored to security operations. This includes designing layouts, creating training programs, and producing other essential information for the effective application of AI-enabled weapons detection systems.”

      Why is AI generative tech so useful in this context?

        PE: “Generative AI technology is incredibly useful in physical security because it can revolutionise how we design, implement, and manage security measures. Unlike traditional methods, generative AI can create highly customised solutions that are tailored to the specific needs and challenges of a given environment. Its ability to generate real-time, context-specific content enhances decision-making and ensures that security measures are always up-to-date and relevant. In essence, generative AI empowers security teams to stay ahead of threats through constant innovation and adaptability.”

        Could you explain a bit about what Xtract One is doing in this field?

          PE: “Xtract One develops and delivers weapons screening solutions, notably the SmartGateway, which replaces outdated walk-through metal detectors. Traditional metal detectors alert on any metal passing through, assuming it’s a weapon, which is often not the case. SmartGateway, however, can specifically identify weapons or prohibited items.

          “Unlike slow and invasive metal detectors that require divesting personal items and create long lines, the SmartGateway uses AI-powered sensors to discern between benign objects and actual threats like firearms, knives, and bomb-making components, without the need for divesting. Patrons can simply “walk right in” without compromising comfort or disrupting the flow of entry. This leads to faster entry times, potentially lower operational costs, and advanced digital insights that help to proactively protect a venue.”

          What are the big developments we can expect to see in the next few years in the area, from yourself, or other players?

            PE: “This industry is still in its early stages. As innovation progresses, we can expect solutions to further leverage AI for comprehensive security, not just weapons screening. Future developments may include credentialization to identify bad actors or weapons approaching a venue, integration of data from sources like social media to provide early risk insights, and other valuable applications. These advancements will create more robust and proactive security solutions.”

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