Part 2 on Innovation: Artificial Intelligence

October 21, 2020
Written Insights

Part 2 of a 5 part series on the access control industry and innovation. We are an industry that loves iteration. It is time we accelerate innovation.

If you were to ask anyone in our industry, "what are some trends impacting our industry," artificial intelligence or AI is typically included along with Big Data, Cyber Security, and Megatech's. Most will also then state, "we need more artificial intelligence in our industry."

Then, if you were to press that same person by asking, "OK, where and how do you think we can use artificial intelligence in our industry and specifically in access control?" You are typically met with blank stares or an example of how the video industry uses it. Both not helpful.

Although that is telling and that is a problem, it is not surprising.

Unless you spend time thinking through the use cases, artificial intelligence examples do not just flow off the tongue. Artificial intelligence is also not something most of our executive teams or product leadership teams were taught, spent time thinking about, or show up when you ask current customers, "what features can you use?"

At first, artificial intelligence can seem daunting, and in full disclosure, I am by no means an expert in it. However, I have started to dig into what artificial intelligence is, what it is not, and how we can get started.

It is deep, comprehensive, and needs the right talent, investment, and leadership applied to it. Artificial intelligence deserves the proper approach. We have to start being purposeful when it comes to what artificial intelligence means to access control. We need to spend the time to think about it in the context of solving problems.

Where and who are our leaders in the access control industry driving the adoption and thought leadership on artificial intelligence? I have no idea, but I want to hear from them and think they should speak out more. We need the direction.

My high-level summary of artificial intelligence and its impact on our industry: It will be as transformative as it has been to other sectors. It is a case of when not if. We are late, and we need to get moving.

But where and how? The opportunities with artificial intelligence are vast. Here is one example as I started to think about it.

Pattern Recognition

Pattern recognition is concerned with the automatic discovery of regularities in data through the use of computer algorithms and with the use of these regularities to take actions such as classifying the data into different categories. That is fancy speak for: We take a bunch of data, have a computer process it quickly using algorithms to tag/bucket/class, and create models that we can then take action on. It seems straightforward, but most access control systems are void of this feature and are isolated or not connected, making the data aggregation impossible. I would suspect the value creation of using things such as pattern recognition will start to help drive the adoption of systems that support artificial intelligence.

Here is an example of how we could apply pattern recognition to deliver value to stakeholders like our dealer channel, system administrators, and end-users: System configuration and set up. Who is mining the data on how most systems are set up? Who is then offering suggestions on initial settings or even better, adjusting as time goes on and usage increases?

From what I can tell: nobody is.

I could argue that most end users would be satisfied with 80-90% of the suggested "standard" set up if driven by a familiar data set of an aggregated group of "like" customers. It definitely would not be perfect or 100%, but it could be 80-90%. Most integrators (and I have done it so speaking from experience) use standard operating procedures (SOPs) or their human, mostly undocumented, pattern recognition. Using these SOPs or pattern recognition is how they can quickly get on and off jobs. Unfortunately for some or fortunately for others, the machines can do it faster, more accurately, and, more specifically, to the business type. Plus, using the computation approach allows for pattern recognition to happen on an ongoing basis in real-time. This makes the access control system more dynamic, and in the end, more valuable over the system's life to the end-user.  

Again, this is just one example and just onde idea. The key here is to make it a focus and dedicate resources to it.

What are some other ways we can apply artificial intelligence to access control? Please reply and let me know.

Next week we will dig into the innovation needed around "incorporating more automation when it comes to system configuration and workflows."

Lee Odess

I've worked as an Entrepreneur and an Integrator (founded E+L+C), for a multinational billion dollar manufacturer in the lock and access control industry (Allegion), as an Executive of a start-up who pioneered the IoT/smart lock/smart physical access control industry (UniKey), and as an Executive with the first cloud based physical access control manufacturer (Brivo). I put all those years together to form a Growth Studio focused on business creation in the CRETech, proptech and smart home markets for small to large companies in the security, access control and IoT industry.

Labeled as an uber-networker by the Washington Post, Lee Odess has over 18 years starting, building and leading businesses with an exceptional track record for sales growth and marketing effectiveness.

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