Vice President of Technical Sales and Solutions
Publish dateMar 23, 2022
I've really enjoyed working with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) on the recently released Operational Exercise for Evolv Express®. In this post I’d like to summarize the results and offer some additional perspective that should help put the results in the proper context.
The operational exercise incorporated forty-one functional areas, with Express earning an overall composite score of 2.84. This score reflects that, on average, Express met the criteria established for this exercise. In fact, overall, Express performed very well. Scores in the categories evaluated during the exercise are presented below. It’s important to note that, as a practice, Evolv does not publicly share any details that could compromise our customer’s security process. Therefore, specific details such as actual weapon makes and models, images, etc. are not included here, but we do share this sensitive information with our customers privately in a responsible manner.
One of the great things about the NCS4 Operational Exercise process is that they strive to evaluate products in real world environments. In the case of Express, the evaluation happened during entrance screening for a Columbus Crew match at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio. It was a cold night. The systems were outside. Express was the only system in place, covering weapons screening at all entrances. The security staff were the same people who would staff any other event. There was no special briefing, training or system tweaks in effect.
The fact is, technology, environmental conditions, architectural structures, conops, and staff training are all important factors that affect screening effectiveness. It’s possible to eliminate many or all of the problematic factors in a controlled environment. It’s not possible to do that in a real-world environment, and that’s why I’m so proud of these Express results from NCS4.
Although NCS4 is part of the University of Southern Mississippi, their approach is anything but academic. NCS4 recruits third party evaluators who are seasoned security professionals and have been personally accountable for security screening. NCS4 selects new evaluators for each operational exercise, so they have a fresh perspective and are looking at each solution in the context of the venue where it is being tested.
In the case of the Express exercise, the evaluators were a retired U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge, a Security Representative for an organization that produces live events, and a Security Representative for professional baseball, soccer, and hockey. Evolv didn’t get to pick these evaluators and all of them were seeing Evolv Express for the first time as part of the exercise.
I truly believe that the Express evaluators are solid proxies for the typical Express buyer. They had the same questions and “show me” attitude that we love to see in our customers. I learned a lot from them and appreciated their suggestions for ways we can both improve our product and better train our customers to get the best possible results. We’re always learning and working to improve.
While it’s true that NCS4 is focused on the security needs of the sports industry, I believe that security professionals in other industries can also gain important insights from these results. While it is true that the conops are different at every facility, the fact that Express performed so well in the high-volume, high-pressure sports environment should be a good sign. I’m not saying that Express is a perfect fit for every facility. But if it can work at a major stadium, it is definitely worth having the conversation about smaller facilities.
We at Evolv Technology feel confident that these NCS4 results provide third party validation of what hundreds of customers and over 200 million visitors already know from their personal experience: that Express offers an unmatched combination of high-performance weapons detection, low false alarm rates, high throughput, unique operational insight, and an awesome visitor experience.
I am really looking forward to working with our customers to sort through what the NCS4 evaluation findings could mean for their facilities. I also can’t wait to see how our future products perform in the NCS4 process. Having a trusted, fully independent third party available to stress test our product in real-world environment is an incredibly valuable asset. It will push us to always be doing more to make people safe, and that’s something I can always get excited about.
To access the NCS4 report, click here.
Vice President of Technical Sales and Solutions
Rick Abraham is VP of Technical Sales and Solutions at Evolv Technology. Rick has more than 20 years experience in designing and developing security solutions that protect people at airports, stadiums, performing arts centers, hospitals, government buildings, and other high-risk facilities and venues. In addition to Evolv, Rick has served in senior engineering roles at many leading security technology companies including Vivid, Reveal, L-3, and PerkinElmer. He has led the process of having security products successfully evaluated and/or certified by the TSA, ECAC, DfT, STAC, NCS4, and other evaluation bodies worldwide. Rick received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electric Engineering from University of Massachusetts, Lowell.