The Future Is Here: Smart, Connected Venue Security with Evolv

Senior security leaders across multiple industries, surveyed in a joint study by Microsoft and Accenture, cited “reactive threat management” and “intuition-led decision-making based on subjectivity” as top challenges in physical security. The technologies predicted in the study to transform these challenges? “Artificial intelligence and signals processing” at the venue’s threshold; the power of analytics to “sift through overwhelming amounts of data”, and Internet of Things-connected sensors and devices to “collect intelligence in real-time.”

These once sounded like the stuff of science fiction: so-called “smart cities” with “smart venues” that screen visitors unobtrusively, only stop potential threats while letting everyone else pass through, and stream business intelligence back to security teams to improve decision-making and enable a more proactive security posture.

Hello world! With Evolv Express AI-powered security screening and its companion analytics application, Evolv Insights, this future is here. In the latest software release launching this month, new capabilities for connectivity and analytics improve five important dimensions of physical security:

1 - Balance Physical Safety with Visitor Experience

Security screening with Evolv Express is powered by advanced sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence to distinguish weapons threats from everyday items. It moves guests through a venue’s entryways up to 10 times faster than metal detectors: up to 3,600 visitors per hour at normal walking speed. No stopping to empty pockets or hand over bags means screening is less obtrusive, improving the visitor experience. And no stopping or queuing up means Evolv Express is safer than traditional methods, virtually eliminating the threat of “soft target” scenarios for mass casualty events.

As a connected device, dare I even say an IoT device, Evolv Express captures critical information such as visitor flow rates, alarm rates, and threat types detected at every venue entrance, making this data available for consumption and interrogation across multiple business dimensions—date, time, location, entrance, and event type—in its Evolv Insights analytics platform.

To maintain the highest degree of guest experience and physical safety, Evolv Express offers a range of settings, and the new What-If Sensitivity Setting Analysis in the latest release of Evolv Insights lets security professionals use historical data to see how the system would have performed on an alternate setting. This helps security teams refine their concept of operations (ConOps) strategies and further reduce nuisance alarms, improve guard performance, and improve the guest experience without compromising visitor safety.

2 – Know Your Vulnerabilities

New features for Alert Categorization and Analysis in the latest software release advance the system’s ability to report on what threat types are found at a venue. Security teams resolving issues at the Evolv

Express system simply “tag” alerts with a single, one touch icon set to indicate threat items or nuisance items.

Using this information, new dashboards in Evolv Insights let users drill down into where and when each type of alert appeared, across entryways, times, and events. Armed with this knowledge, security leaders can better focus staff training, deploy more experienced staff when and where they will be needed, and improve overall staff preparedness.

3 - Improve Venue Operations

Better data can help teams beyond security improve visitors’ experience—with ticketing, concessions, retail, ushers, guest services, guides, and more—because the better informed these teams are, the more seamlessly they will operate. Information gathered at every Evolv Express system and available in Evolv Insights analytics will help venue operations improve decisions about staff to guest ratios, staff deployment at different locations and times, along with other resource decisions to boost efficiencies and reduce waste.

To better understand how security and operational needs differ across types of events, the latest release of Evolv Insights introduces Event Type Analysis. Different types of events—think rock concerts, sporting events, corporate events, speaker series, and family productions—will likely exhibit very different characteristics across dimensions like threat types and frequency, alarm rates, visitor flow rates at different venue entrances.

Evolv Insights makes it easy to compare event types side-by-side to find commonalities and differences or to compare events of the same type to find and address anomalies, improving planning across many teams throughout venue operations—including security.

4 - Transform Security from Cost Center to Value Driver

Keeping venues secure not only protects people; it safeguards the brand—for venue leadership, their corporate sponsors, and the talent they attract. But security is too often seen as a necessary evil: a cost center rather than a value driver. I found this callout in the aforementioned Microsoft and Accenture study spot on and worth noting… No matter which metric the organization prioritizes, a data strategy will be required to optimize the outcome. An effective strategy will enable physical security to become the core intelligence platform of the organization, transforming from a cost center into a value hub. I could not have said this better myself.

With Evolv, the power of data and analytics at every visitor entrance means security teams can provide a high degree of value to executive leadership by providing transparency and visibility with accelerated, streamlined, reporting capabilities.

Evolv Insights offers both pre-defined and flexible dashboard views that users can save and return to, share with colleagues, print to file, and export to work with adjacent analytics packages. And in the latest release, subscribed users automatically get “pushed” Post-Event Summary Reports, without a separate need to access the Insights application.

5 – Adopt a Proactive Security Posture

When venue teams need critical data about their venue in the moment, wherever they’re located, the latest software release from Evolv offers the MyEvolv Portal mobile application. Teams can now access analytics, scanner monitoring, and management, and proactive communications from any device, including Android- and iOS-equipped smartphones and tablets, to facilitate faster, better decision-making and respond in the moment to security needs across their venue before they become an issue.

Evolv prioritizes connections between venue staff and its security systems both through analytics and through communications technologies like Request Assistance—a discreet, one-touch alert from the operator tablet to additional venue security to help resolve an incident at the system.

The latest software release extends this connectivity and communication with new Remote System Management in the MyEvolv Portal. Available in both the mobile and web-based application, system administrators can now remotely log into Evolv Express systems and interact as if they were co-located with the system for monitoring, troubleshooting, and configuration changes. And whenever critical changes to the system occur, subscribed users receive new Proactive Notifications via text, email, or in the application.

Conclusion: The Digital Transformation of Physical Security is Here

While much has been imagined about the benefits of a future world—with “smart venues” powered by connected products and better data to improve visitors’ experience while making everywhere safer—Evolv brings that future to life today. It enables venue security and operations leaders to access better data for evidence-based decision-making, ensure connectivity between people and security technologies throughout a venue, and improve the guest experience while maintaining the highest standards in physical safety both today—and tomorrow.

Steve Morandi
Vice President, Product Management