It is a significant milestone that the Evolv Express® product has received DHS SAFETY Act Designation®. We have been working with the Department of Homeland Security for quite some time on this. Independent validations like SAFETY Act designation and our strong showing in the recent NCS4 Operational Exercise are important milestones for Evolv Express as a truly disruptive technology to transform the ingress.
Having Safety Act designation can provide vendors like Evolv, and our customers, with important legal liability protections that encourage investment to prevent terrorist attacks. While these protections are important, accomplishing the mission of keeping people safe while also protecting the visitor experience requires more. Achieving SAFETY Act Designation is viewed by many as a de facto standard for physical security technology.
Visitors have never been more aware of their ability to choose virtual alternatives to in-person experiences. To fill their facilities and venues, enlightened operators will need to reach for a higher standard of security and visitor experience. There are some specific principles that are important in a new standard.
Zero-Wait Should Be Standard
Although no one likes being stuck in a line, few people realize just how vulnerable they are standing in a line outside the security perimeter. That crowd is a soft target that is vulnerable. Eliminating the line outside the security perimeter is ideal. However, many of today’s technologies (designed decades ago), require people to wait and go through one at a time. Zero wait time means people need to walk through at the pace of life without stopping, removing items or breaking their stride. Achieving zero-wait requires fast, accurate weapons detection and rapid alarm resolution. Zero-wait should be standard.
Data-Driven Decision-Making Should Be Standard
Most modern organizations are accustomed to using analytics to drive decisions in key areas of their business, but this revolution has been slow to reach physical security. There is a tremendous amount of data associated with the ingress of people, their arrival curves at different entrances, and the speed of ingress. Analytics should provide better data for pre-event planning, and improved post event analysis. This includes how many staff members to assign at different locations, the impact of changing threat sensitivities for different operational scenarios, and other factors that affect the visitor’s experience. This is only possible on a digital native platform, but current standards are silent on the topic of data analytics. Data-driven decision-making should be standard.
Machine Learning Should Be Standard
Modern machine learning is pervasive in cybersecurity but curiously absent in traditional security screening technology and standards. The ability to train multivariate statistical models with real-world data allows for more accurate, nuanced weapons-detection decisions to be made in real-time. These algorithms require sensors that provide a rich data set from which important characteristics can be gleaned. And the more data is gathered, the better the models get over time. Old school metal detector signal processing will never be able to keep up with modern machine learning. Machine learning should be standard.
Image-Aided Alarm Resolution Should Be Standard
As the number of visitors passing through a system increases, and the amount of training and tenure of security guards gets lower, there is an increased chance of human error. Technology can be a key enabler to reduce human error by having the technology do the monotonous tasks and have people focus on the critical judgments to assess a threat / no threat scenario. Adding an image of an individual to help ensure they are assessing the right individual and a directive interface to show where to focus provides significantly more guidance for a security professional. Image-aided alarms can help avoid invasive full-body pat down searches and dramatically shrink the alarm resolution window. That’s an obvious win for everyone, but it isn’t addressed in any existing security screening standard. Image-aided alarm resolution should be standard.
Digital Integration Into the Security Infrastructure Should Be Standard
Keeping people safe requires a thoughtful combination of advanced technology solutions produced by many different vendors. Unfortunately, most security screening solutions function as isolated analog silos that don’t share or receive data from other systems. It shouldn’t be that way. The screening system should function as an intelligent node in a fully networked nervous system that supports the right response at the right time. That requires a digital-native platform with robust integration APIs and a network of partnerships between vendors. Sadly, this kind of integration currently falls outside most existing security screening technologies. Digital integration should be standard.
I’d like to reiterate that we are very happy that Express has received SAFETY ACT designation. We value what the DHS is offering through the SAFETY Act process and look forward to ongoing collaboration. However, in the present environment we believe that SAFETY Act designation is table stakes. Our mission demands that we aim to not only keep people safe, but also deliver an outstanding visitor experience. This standard requires digital-native technology that makes the most of modern analytics, machine learning, image-aided alarm resolution, and digital integration. We believe that Express embodies this new standard today, and we’re hard at work to raise the bar even higher in the future.