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  • Writer's pictureGreg Ayres

All-Seeing and All-Knowing

Updated: May 31

Originally posted by Construction Executive. Read it HERE.

Advanced Security Systems Use AI-Driven Tools to Automatically Detect and Deter Trespassers Within Seconds—Leading to Safer, More Secure Construction Sites.

Theft of equipment and materials costs the construction industry between $300 million and $1 billion every year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Equipment Register. Loss is expensive and crime happens in seconds—fewer than 25% of stolen goods are ever recovered, potentially increasing insurance rates and stalling profitability when supplies and equipment aren't available to complete projects on schedule.

What's the solution? Technology—specifically, video surveillance with proactive deterrence—has emerged as a key tool in protecting construction sites, yielding numerous residual benefits in the way of safer and better-managed properties.

Construction-site thieves target tools, materials, equipment, office trailers, and even fuels. They break into and damage buildings, storage enclosures, and heavy equipment. Vandals break windows, smash materials, and spray-paint graffiti inside and out.

Lately, urban climbers have been venturing up cranes for publicity on social media. All of this raises the issue of general safety around the premises—while also boosting liability insurance rates.

Current solutions include installing video cameras with monitoring services around a worksite or hiring private security to drive the property at night. But monitored cameras have their limits. They are completely dependent on human attentiveness, delays in operator interruption, and situation assessment. Plus, police response times are indeterminate and unreliable.

Likewise, installing banks of cameras as a reactionary measure to only record and playback video events after the fact isn’t the best use of this technology, given the cost and labor for live monitoring. And, finally, guards are expensive and can only offer intermittent coverage of an entire property. 

Intelligent Guardians

Cameras using artificial intelligence have become intrusion detectors that, when combined with integrated deterrence capability, escalate their capability to the level of a security guard. This evolution in technology moves video monitoring from a hit-or-miss proposition to a proactive and strategic tool for deterring crime and preventing property loss.

The emphasis is on automating live video monitoring by pinpointing the alarms that really matter. These automated capabilities, courtesy of AI algorithms, don’t require human intervention unless the threat escalates. If it does, central monitoring receives the elevated risk and draws attention to the video for intervention and possible 911 dispatch. 

Proper use of AI is a game changer in security protection for construction sites in both effectiveness and cost. Imagine a camera positioned around a property that automatically detects trespassers and instantly implements deterrence actions to thwart the intrusion. Crime occurs in seconds, confronting trespassers must be immediate. 

Floodlights, Strobes, and Sirens

Live remote video surveillance has now developed to a point where algorithms can quickly detect both intrusions and persistent loitering. High-definition video surveillance smart guardians embedded with AI provide 24/7 protection, with cameras covering critical areas. These units consist of a powerful 4K camera with a wide-angle lens, multiple motion detectors, an omnidirectional microphone, and quad-core intelligence. An intrusion is detected and immediately verified on video, and an alert with recordings of the event is sent to the construction superintendent's phone or other mobile devices.

The system also deters criminals with a set of immediate responses, including instantaneous illumination from multidirectional LED floodlights, blinding strobes of red and blue LEDs, piercing sirens, situation-appropriate warning messages, and intimidating sound effects. Events are live-monitored to ensure these deterrents are successful; if they're not, a video-verified alarm is sent to a central monitoring station to dispatch authorities through 911 operators.

Successful Deterrence

This technology solution is packaged with cellular internet access and integrated with cellular modems, then positioned on construction trailers, buildings, and temporary poles. Cameras are powered by a temporary run of AC power and placed strategically to cover the site. 

As a project progresses and the configuration of the worksite changes the camera base guardian units are easy to relocate. And live video surveillance with police dispatch is offered as a backup to the fully automated deterrence technology. 

Videos of actual crimes in progress at construction sites provide evidence that these initial mitigation efforts are highly successful. In fact, in more than 98% of incidents, intruders leave the site immediately. If they don't move off the property, monitoring dispatches responding authorities and directly engages with intruders to let them know they have been detected and police have been summoned.

The stakes are high for the construction industry when it comes to the theft of equipment and damage to sites. Intruders and trespassers need to be kept off the property and detected immediately when they try to breach the area. Now, construction leaders have another highly successful tool to help keep their projects and sites safe.

Videos of Actual Crimes in Process

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