How AI-powered Video Surveillance Levels Up Warehouse Security
There is no question of a strong need for warehouse security. Storage facilities lacking proper protection are vulnerable to external intrusion and internal theft, which result in serious financial and reputational losses for businesses. According to the NICB, warehouse and cargo theft costs the US economy between $15 and $35 billion per year.
To ensure that all the valuable inventory stays safe, many warehouses have put a number of security measures in place, i.e., they have built physical barriers, employed guards, installed security cameras and burglar alarm systems. However, ever evolving security threats call for the implementation of robust security solutions and the adoption of next-gen technologies to keep warehouse safety and security at the highest level. AI video analytics has proved to be one of the best solutions. Utilizing AI, video surveillance gains intelligence, which helps increase situational awareness, automate security operations, and ultimately bring an added layer of security.
Video surveillance is a vital part of warehouse security. Security cameras can work as a deterrent to thieves and as a tool that provides visibility throughout the entire premises, helping identify and manage security risks. They also provide a record of safety breaches and accidents for forensic purposes. Integrated with AI video analytics, video monitoring systems get the power to automatically detect a wide range of threats, provide real-time alerts, and allow security teams to immediately intervene when a dangerous situation occurs. In this article, we’ll cover different aspects of warehouse security that will obviously benefit from adopting AI-powered video analytics.
Secure the perimeter
Securing the warehouse perimeter presents many challenges due to the size and complexity of storage facilities. Apart from the entry points and the storage area, there are multiple areas that require constant monitoring, including administrative offices, parking lots, loading and maintenance zones. It’s impossible to have situational awareness and understand what is happening in all these areas at all times without implementing smart video analytics. AI-powered video monitoring software is capable of monitoring a vast area through multiple cameras 24/7. It neither gets tired nor loses concentration. Therefore, no break-in will go unnoticed. The system will accurately detect people and vehicles trying to enter the warehouse area and send real-time alerts to a security guard or the police so that they can take action. Using false alarm filtering technology, it is possible to filter out noise from leaves, lights, animals, or insects, triggering an alert only in the event of a genuine threat.
Apart from monitoring cameras, on-site warehouse security staff make patrol rounds to verify that there are no intruders lurking in security camera blind spots. AI video surveillance on drones can assist guards to carry out this task, especially in locations that are remote or hard to access, thus providing situational awareness of the entire premises and identifying critical incidents in real time. It ensures events are not missed and speeds up response times. Security teams can also follow drones live and analyze video feedback on their remote interface.
Enhance access control
Unauthorized entry is another issue that can be addressed with the help of AI. Given a large number of people coming and going, it can be difficult to distinguish between authorized workers and unauthorized people on premises. Besides, employees have different levels of access to different areas. Which is why it is critical to have effective access control at the entry and exit points of warehouse premises to authenticate people before they access secure areas. This could be a simple solution such as an access card, but it can’t provide the highest level of security as cards can be lost or stolen. Integrating AI-powered face recognition with the warehouse access control system makes it possible for warehouse administrators to view access events in real time and restrict access to specific areas, for example, to narrow down who can enter an area and when. With face recognition, authentication checks are much more secure, effective, and fast. Only approved employees will be allowed access to the warehouse or its certain restricted areas. Conversely, if an unauthorized person tries to gain access, they will be denied access and security will be notified of the incident. Face recognition can also be used to deny access to former employees and include people who pose a potential threat on a special watchlist.
Protect warehouse goods from thefts
Millions of dollars of inventory pass through warehouses every day, which makes them a tempting target for thieves, both external and internal. The Center for Retail Research reported that employee theft accounted for 22% of the shrinkage in retail sales, and 18% of that was due to warehouse thefts. Internal thefts are often committed by staff. They are rarely recognized and can be the hardest to detect since the people involved are familiar with the processes and can hide the theft by manipulating records or declaring perfectly good products as damaged. On-site video surveillance can deter thieves. But in most cases, CCTV systems aren’t being effectively monitored, and employees know it. Utilizing AI-powered video monitoring leaves thieves no chance to make off with valuable products. The event of a theft or even suspicious behavior that can result in stealing goods is instantly detected by the intelligent software and an alert is triggered to notify the security unit in real time. Video footage and detailed information on the incident can later be used for investigations. With AI video analytics, reviewing video footage is just a matter of seconds. Not only is it fast, it’s also very accurate, due to advanced AI software that is highly sensitive and isn’t prone to human errors. Access control is also beneficial for managing loss prevention in warehouses. It makes it possible to restrict access to areas with high-value merchandise, thus preventing unauthorized people from entering the facility and stealing valuable goods. Also, it eliminates the risk of forging or destroying warehouse inventory documentation and protects against trespassers who may be entering out of hours to vandalize property.
Fire risks are abundant in warehouses and, while having a catastrophic impact on business revenue and productivity, they affect human health and security. According to an NFPA study, there were 1,210 warehouse fires in the United States each year, resulting in 19 injuries and three deaths, and costing businesses an average of $155 million in losses. Fires can start for many reasons, but some of the most common causes are attributed to electrical malfunctions, accidental ignition of warehouse commodities or leaked and spilled chemicals, overheating of electrical equipment, or hot work. According to NFPA, 32% of fires in warehouse settings were deliberately lit. Whatever the reason, warehouse fires are often very difficult to extinguish. Flammable materials catch fire easily and spread quickly, causing damage to goods and property, as well as potential loss of life. But it can be prevented if proper security measures and technologies are implemented. AI-powered video surveillance is one of those solutions. It can not only detect fire early but also prevent it. AI-powered fire detection systems can detect smoke and fire in warehouses and surrounding areas as soon as cameras catch these hazardous events. Unlike ordinary fire detectors that may be ineffective outside, computer vision-based solutions analyze the images from thermal cameras, detect smoke and fire at a distance and send an instant alert, allowing warehouse managers to rapidly respond to the issue. Anything mechanical or electrical in a factory poses a risk of fire. That’s why regular maintenance, testing, and training are important. Combined with thermal cameras, AI video analytics can optimize this process by implementing continuous, remote, and around-the-clock temperature control of critical assets, identifying overheating of machinery and equipment faults. Dumpsters near the building or blocked walkways and exits are also a high fire risk in warehouses. Utilizing object detection algorithms, it is possible to identify potentially flammable litter and debris and thereby prevent a fire.
Enhance workforce safety and security
Warehouses are among the most dangerous workplaces, especially when it comes to forklifts and lifting platforms. Vehicles move in and around a workplace, reverse, load, unload and frequently cause deaths and injuries to workers. OSHA estimates that an average of 85 fatalities and 34,900 forklift and industrial truck accident injuries occur annually. Fatal and serious injuries also come from fire incidents, falls from high places, collisions with vehicles or falling loads. But the most common safety issues that cause nearly half of all injuries reported in warehouses are slips and falls. They may be caused by wet floors, oil spillage, uneven surfaces, and unorganized goods. Surveillance cameras powered by AI can be used to address these issues and make warehouses a safer place to work, ensuring that the employees are secure against risks. Leveraging the power of AI, warehouse managers can be proactive instead of reactive when impacts occur. AI helps to identify situations that could lead to slip and fall accidents and notifies warehouse managers to respond to them. For example, to remove obstructions along the pathways and clean the floor from scraps, trash, and spills. If an accident does happen, the system alerts right as a person falls so that medical care can be immediately provided, reducing the impact of injuries. This is especially important in a large facility where a fall or injury may go unnoticed. Thus, early detection helps reduce accident rates and save lives. Tracking movement through a warehouse may also be beneficial for workplace safety. AI-powered traffic flow analysis can help generate heatmaps to show movement patterns in the warehouse and identify inefficiencies. For instance, it can spot poorly placed or frequently accessed goods and other choke points. This can help managers attend to these areas, optimize facility layout, and prevent future operational or security problems. Besides, AI video analytics should be utilized to spot when workers are not wearing appropriate safety clothing, such as hard hats and gloves.
Warehouses clearly benefit from integrating AI-powered analytics into their existing video surveillance. It provides one of the best ways to keep track of security risks and deter theft and other illegal activity. Due to continuous monitoring, real-time alerts, and advanced analytics, it helps to increase situational awareness and reduce response time to evolving situations, ultimately creating a far more robust security posture to protect inventory and keep employees and other assets safe.
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