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Mark McCourt

SIA launches new robot-focused working group

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Security Industry Association on Dec. 1 announced its new Autonomous Security Robots Working Group, appointing Mark McCourt as the group’s chair. McCourt talked with Security Systems News about the group’s formation and core focuses.

McCourt said that he’s been working on the group since September. “We thought about getting out in front of this topic by taking the robotics, the drone, the anti-drone [or] drone defense, underwater unmanned vehicles, that section of the market that serves security, and start early on what SIA’s platform should be to help grow this industry successfully as a partner.”

This would give robotics companies a more direct reason to be a part of SIA, getting a voice at the table with SIA’s various segments, such as its legislative, education and standards teams, McCourt added. The Autonomous Security Robots Working Group is a part of SIA’s existing Public Safety Interest Group. The working group is currently seeking input and participants.

“We want to create good communications around this topic that we can get out and talk to people about.”

The working group will be looking at a variety of relevant topics. “One of the things we want to do is hone in on the go-to-market strategy and the role of channel partners,” McCourt said.

Education for end users and security practitioners—to inform them of the benefits of robots within security—will be a goal of the working group. “It’s not all about job replacement and cost reduction,” McCourt said. There are other elements of productiveness, and allowing people who might have their jobs impacted by robots doing other tasks to add value to their organization

“Robotics technology, especially when powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, has the potential to reshape how we think about security,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in a prepared statement. “The Autonomous Security Robots Working Group will help industry members and end users manage and leverage this change to greatly enhance the protection of people and property.”

McCourt currently works with Cobalt Robotics, helping the company with commercialization.