connectivity matters
Robotics Security Public Safety March 2, 2021  |  Written by

Empowering Public Safety and Industrial Security with Robotics and Wireless Mesh

Interest in Robots is Growing — new networking options are a significant factor

While still a relative novelty, robotic and autonomous solutions have made recent inroads within security and public safety applications. By now, we’ve all seen them in action, if not firsthand, then in the media: robots patrolling parking lots and shopping malls; drones flying over sporting events and crime scenes. Still, widespread adoption has been challenging. Robotic solutions are perceived as expensive. They can be unresponsive or unreliable due to connectivity issues. And security management often remains hesitant to deploy robots in a thorough security posture due to trepidation over how employees and the public may respond to them.

Nevertheless, the tide is turning. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are making robots smarter, more autonomous, and more fluid in their ability to anticipate and respond to situations at hand. The pandemic has exposed new operational challenges that could be more effectively addressed by augmenting human resources with robots – options that will certainly be explored once organizations have time to take stock of their “new normal” and evaluate technologies. Most importantly, innovative, cost-effective, and highly reliable wireless mesh networks are making the deployment of mobile robotics possible in a vast range of settings where other options are prohibitively expensive at best, inaccessible or unreliable at worst.

Mobile Technology Offers Many Benefits — keeping it connected is crucial

At the most basic level, today’s robots are computers placed on mobile platforms. Sometimes they are used in a sentinel mode, stationed at doorways or tethered in the air, but they deliver the most value when organizations have the flexibility to move them around as needed. When it comes to planning for security deployments, technological mobility is a paradigm-changer. Hundreds of detection points, cameras, and sensors can be replaced with far fewer mobile, autonomous solutions covering the same territory. Robots themselves may be costly, but their expense is fractional compared to the overwhelming amount of infrastructure necessary to support permanent security devices.

When CSOs evaluate technology options, their foremost consideration is “How will this solve my problem?” CTOs’ concerns over “How will this work?” deserve equal weight. The method by which robots connect and communicate across the network is fundamental to their viability and overall cost. Technological challenges and performance limitations can render them untenable, regardless of the robots’ capabilities and features. Wireless mesh, which enables highly secure, fluid communications between hundreds of devices, including those in motion, alleviates a broad swath of stakeholders’ concerns.

The greatest challenge in supporting robotic and autonomous solutions is keeping them connected. Wireless mesh networks are unique in their ability to provide consistent, reliable coverage across virtually any space, regardless of the property’s size, topography, physical obstacles, RF traffic, and weather conditions. There’s no digging of trenches to lay power or a wired infrastructure; no strategic positioning of gateway access points for devices to connect through.

Instead, the network comprises any number of radios, or nodes, that automatically identify and transmit to others within range, continually adjusting to find the fastest and most stable connections. Data is rerouted based on changing conditions, including signal strength, competing traffic, bandwidth needs, and other factors…

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