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Top Physical Security Trends for
Manufacturers to Focus on

Top Physical Security Trends for Manufacturers to Focus on

Physical security has always been a top concern at manufacturing units that are prone to a diverse set of security risks such as theft, sabotage, violence, vandalism and fires. They account for a large number of injuries and fatalities, cause serious damage to property, lead to downtime and cost organizations billions of dollars every year. Another important challenge is to maintain workplace safety, as work-related accidents continue to be a major issue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 385.1 thousand cases of occupational injuries in manufacturing. That is why implementing strong safety management and control is critical for manufacturing organizations to protect their assets, improve safety in the workplace and reduce the impact of accidents and fires. In this article, we will discuss the latest physical security trends for manufacturers and explore some innovative solutions that can augment the security landscape.

Upgrading access control systems

One of the current trends is to modernize access control by integrating AI video analytics into existing systems and implementing multi-factor identification to verify both employees and visitors. Such an approach allows manufacturing plants, which typically include multiple facilities with complex infrastructure and a large number of people working at and visiting the site on a daily basis, to augment physical security, protect their valuable assets and better manage risk.

Biometric access control systems are chosen by many businesses due to the convenience and security they offer. Despite its many benefits, the use of biometric modalities such as fingerprints and palm prints can be dangerous because they require direct contact with a biometric reader. Their very nature makes them difficult to maintain from a hygiene standpoint.

A viable alternative is a face recognition-based access control system because this provides contactless authentication with a high level of accuracy. It is only possible due to advanced deep learning techniques and intense training.

Deploying cloud-based security solutions gives the opportunity to implement effective access control to multiple sites under a single system. With all data and controls centralized, operators have a more complete view of security across the entire site and can manage access levels from a single dashboard. It results in increased safety and security and improves employee attendance control and visitor management. This approach is now successfully implemented at one huge Armenian industrial complex, where the badge method is supplemented by Scylla facial recognition solution, which allows the site security team to have increased real-time visibility into what is going on at all entrance points, better manage employee attendance and control visitor access.

The growing importance of false alarm management

Manufacturing plants are complex environments that feature a number of areas of potential security risk and health and safety guidelines to comply with. That makes video surveillance imperative to secure the business, machinery and product and keep employees and site visitors safe. However, monitoring hundreds of cameras around the entire site, including manufacturing and assembly areas, entrances and exits, the car park and warehouses can be a burden for operators. They are often inundated with security signals and start missing or ignoring alerts. This can be damaging to a manufacturer, is costly in financial terms and can seriously impact the efficacy of the security team.

AI-powered technology automates the monitoring process, reducing the need to watch multiple screens at once and allowing security personnel to focus on real threats. By utilizing computer vision algorithms, Scylla AI false alarm filtering system triggers alerts only in case of validated threats, impressively minimizing false positives by up to 99.95%.

Perimeter intrusion detection system

There is a wide array of physical attacks that threaten the manufacturing sector. These include sabotage of equipment, attacks to damage facility operations or trigger environmental disasters, as well as active shooter incidents. As manufacturing units have expensive equipment, industrial know-how and stocks, there is a sheer need to restrict and monitor movement at all entry points and the site area in general.

AI-based technology plays a key role in reducing the impact of these physical security challenges. With enhanced video surveillance systems and AI-powered intrusion detection solutions integrated into the security infrastructure, assigned personnel can be notified as soon as an unauthorized individual or object enters factory premises. Scylla’s Perimeter Intrusion Detection makes use of an advanced AI engine that can work effectively despite rough weather conditions and poor illumination and delivers superior precision compared to cameras with embedded algorithms. Furthermore, collected data serves as solid evidence when reporting the incident to the police or claiming theft insurance.

It is also important to integrate AI-powered analytics into the warehouse video surveillance system. 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. AI video analytics assists warehouses in developing a far more robust security posture to protect inventory as well as employees and other assets.

Access control systems

Enhanced surveillance with drones

Large open and semi-open factories and industrial units can be effectively monitored using surveillance drones. They are ideal for real-time threat detection and tracking suspects. However, those must be connected to a flexible and versatile threat detection system like Scylla, which works both with drones and stationary cameras. This prevents the multiplicity of AI-based tools and creates a centralized physical security infrastructure.

Industrial thermal scanning

Fire safety threats are common for manufacturing plants. According to the NFPA, US fire departments respond to an average of 37,910 industrial fires per year. Hot work, combustible and flammable materials, faulty equipment and machinery, and electrical fires are the major causes of fires in manufacturing plants. To prevent them, AI analytics is now integrated with thermal cameras to implement smart temperature screening of equipment and critical infrastructure. It implements continuous, remote, and around-the-clock temperature monitoring of lithium-ion batteries and detects the heating of transformers and electrical substations, among others. If overheating is detected, an instant alert is sent to notify maintenance teams of the danger so that they can rapidly respond to the issue. Due to early problem detection, they can attend to the problem in time and safely schedule out repairs, thus preventing the plant from breakdown and improving overall safety at industrial facilities.

Improved workplace safety

Workplace accidents are a major concern in manufacturing. However, many workplace injuries can be completely avoided if employers implement special safety features to create a safe environment for their workers, for example, by removing loose debris and cleaning up oil spills and wet surfaces, guarding on dangerous machinery, monitoring equipment for overheating and limiting entry to restricted areas. These tasks can be assigned to AI-based computer vision solutions, particularly to implement efficient real-time monitoring and detection of smoke and fire at a distance. One of the benefits of video-based identification is that it is much quicker compared to most conventional sensors and gives site operators the ability to remotely monitor the facility and react immediately before situations escalate.

Video analytics can also be effectively used to detect slips and falls as they occur. Analyzing video from cameras in real time, it detects an event right on time to provide a proper response and the necessary help, reducing the possibility of severe consequences. It can also be applied to ensure that all employees wear protective gear and comply with all required safety norms.

Generating actionable insights

The benefits of using AI analytics for manufacturing sites extend beyond safety and security. While monitoring the premises for various threats and implementing accurate and secure access control and workplace safety, AI gives organizations the opportunity to gather data from access events and surveillance footage to get extra business benefits. Processing relevant data patterns, the system provides actionable insights, footfall analysis, and heatmaps, which can be used to better manage employee attendance, provide shift managers and unit supervisors with useful inputs, and boost productivity in the workplace. A well-designed and trained AI-powered solution can help generate an impressive ROI, grow profits, and cut costs considerably. According to McKinsey, 16% of manufacturing companies using AI have witnessed a 10–19% decrease in costs, whereas 18% saw a 6–10% increase in overall revenue.

Final Takeaway

Maintaining safety at industrial facilities means addressing risks before they become bigger problems. Workplace incidents, thefts, breakdowns, and fires are quite common in manufacturing settings and may result in severe injuries and fatalities, lead to unplanned downtime, and cost serious financial losses. Maintaining workplace safety is another challenge for manufacturing managers, who have to create a safe environment for the employees and also ensure that they all stay compliant with PPE protocols and other safety norms. Since all of this requires constant monitoring, AI-powered solutions can be of high practical value. Scylla has a comprehensive Industrial Safety Suite that is specifically tailored for manufacturing organizations with their needs in mind. If implemented strategically, AI video analytics can solve many physical security concerns, augment security and workplace safety, reduce losses and increase profitability.

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