Interview with Oliver Schneider
As the Founder and Managing Director at RiskWorkers GmbH in Munich, Oliver Schneider specializes in threat management, risk monitoring, development and implementation of corporate security strategies, among others. Prior to embarking on a successful private security career, Oliver served as an officer in the German Army, with almost five years in Special Forces Command (KSK). Schneider’s extensive experience in both military service and the private security sector made him fully understand the safety issues and challenges that security professionals face. In an interview with Brennan Borgestad, Business Development Manager at Scylla, Oliver speaks about his exciting career experience, his new book, the views on the benefits of using artificial intelligence in the security sector, and the future of AI in general.
You have recently published a book “Der Wille Entscheidet” (“The Will Is Decisive”). What made you write it?
“It was my friend who encouraged me to write a book,” says Oliver Schneider, “to share all those stories that happened in my career, many of which with regard to rescuing hostages and managing crisis situations.”
Working as a security, risk and crisis management consultant Schneider has successfully managed several kidnapping cases as a so-called “Kidnap for Ransom Consultant” and was engaged in solving crisis situations in Afghanistan, Algeria, Brazil, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan and Caucasus. So, the book features the ex-commando officer’s reports on different cases he took part in and has the aim to show that any difficult and seemingly hopeless situation has the way out.
Do you find your military experience useful for a career in private security and day-to-day life?
“Sure. All the experience that I gained in the Army turns out to be highly useful especially when it comes to problem-solving, acting in a critical situation and carrying out negotiations.”
Oliver Schneider admits that such KSK principles as psychological stability, sound preparation, strategic planning and the right tactics can be applied not only in crisis to rescue people and deal with hackers or cyber-extortion, which is getting more and more common nowadays, but also in everyday life to handle conflicts with close people.
Oliver claims: “In the end, it’s all about negotiations. Be it a kidnapper or your girlfriend the process is similar. To succeed in negotiations, you should just follow two simple rules: listen and understand. That will help you get the real objective behind the statement of your negotiation partner. Without a clear picture, it’s hard to get success.”
What is needed to bring physical security to the next level?
According to Oliver Schneider, the main issue is the unwillingness of the business environment to take security and risk management seriously. Implying security measures is costly and takes lots of effort, while most of the time nothing happens. Therefore, business owners are reluctant to invest money in augmenting their security infrastructure by deploying innovative technologies. Oliver is convinced that such an approach is a delusion as “a critical situation can happen everywhere and to anyone, no matter how big or small the company is. Consequences could be critical for business and its reputation.” To avoid that security professionals should be ready to be there immediately and have the necessary tools to respond adequately.
Why is proactive security important these days?
Oliver says that proactive security is the need of the day. For example, in Germany, the police department is currently looking for a smart solution to equip the elevators in the police headquarters. It must be able to detect specific objects like weapons and send an alarm as soon as the threat is identified without producing a great number of false positives. Oliver Schneider thinks that only AI can meet those requirements. Due to its ability to detect threats in real time, significantly reduce false alarms and send immediate alerts to a threat, AI helps to make security more proactive, thus effective.
What made you join Scylla?
“That was a funny story. When I first met Albert Stepanyan two years ago in Munich, I was surprised to find out that we both have a military background, served in special forces, and even used to work for the same company,” recalls Oliver. “That was the starting point of our collaboration with Scylla. Albert introduced me to Scylla and AI technologies and explained how they are utilized to enhance physical security.” Believing in Scylla’s AI-powered solutions, Oliver Schneider became a member of Scylla’s Board of Advisors and since then has been contributing his authentic security background and extensive experience to the cause of making the world a safer place.
What industries can benefit from utilizing AI-powered solutions like Scylla?
“There is no limit. AI solutions can benefit the retail market and logistics to prevent property loss,” says Oliver Schneider and adds that the application of AI is most justified for video surveillance because of the fact that cameras are everywhere especially in public places like airports and train stations. In Oliver’s opinion, each camera should be integrated with AI-powered technologies to harness their capabilities for improved situational awareness and better people protection. With Scylla technologies in place, organizations get the benefit of early warnings of a potentially dangerous situation, getting more reliable information, and the opportunity to react faster to protect the perimeter and people.
Using AI capabilities for physical security is just one example while the use cases of AI-powered technologies are unlimited. Though organizations still see some barriers to harness these innovative technologies and their benefits, we can see a steady increase in AI adoption by different businesses across many industries these days. The survey carried out by Forbes, shows that 40% of respondents indicate that they are currently implementing at least one AI project or plan to do so within the short term. However, in the same survey, over 90% of respondents indicate that they plan to implement one of the patterns of AI in the short term. Oliver Schneider also shows enthusiasm about the perspectives of leveraging artificial intelligence. He is fully convinced that “the future is behind artificial intelligence.”
Please watch the full interview with Oliver Schneider on our official YouTube channel.
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