215-947-2338 (local)

866-633-3813 (toll-free)



By Ken Hantman

Institutions look towards their marketing efforts to increase admissions and utilization of services at hospitals and to increase enrollment at schools. At universities, sports teams are another source of garnering attention and promotion, and games yield income. The development officer raises funds from alumni or from charitable giving, sometimes in gala events. Grants are another source of income. The administration must look fondly on these departments which stimulate the income of the institution and are always engaged in the positive air of promotional and fund-raising activities and events.

What happens when the administration shifts its attention from the warm glow of affection for these promotional accolades and achievements to, instead, the mundane Security Department? Here is a staff that may cost $25,000 per week and yet there continues, year-in year-out some annoying instances of crime. Requisitions of expensive things like new camera systems and a new VMS, to replace the ones that are only ten years old, can run a half million dollars. The glory associated with the university doing ground-breaking research or obtaining large grants, or the hospital winning national honors, does not seem to have an equivalent in this department, Security. It is just a cost-generating department dealing in a necessary but unpleasant subject, as the administration sees it.

Can this perception be turned around? Not merely the perception but the reality?

To address this it is useful to think in terms that are realities for the administration, for the Chief Financial Officer, the H.R. Dept., and the insurance department. Ben Franklin’s adage that “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned” is a starting point, but we’ll see we can move far beyond it. Let’s start by modernizing it. Let’s rephrase it right off as “Twenty Million Saved is Twenty Million Earned.”

Let’s look again at the positive side, dealing with increasing the admissions or enrollment or gaining donations or grants. It is very hard to increase the revenues that have become stable over a long period of time. Each additional hospital bed or lecture hall seat that is “sold” costs more than the last, thus diminishing returns. There are advertising costs. Hospitals of course are geographically limited in their service area, except for establishing new campuses at large capital expense. Universities are similarly limited for their commuter students. A typical non-profit university or hospital may have a margin of 2-3%. So, for all the excitement of the marketing end, there really is not much room for increasing revenues.

Now let’s look at the loss end. Studying data compiled from the F.B.I., the Commerce Dep’t, the Dep’t of Labor, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Integrated Benefits Institute, and the security and the insurance industries, it becomes apparent that corporations and institutions typically lose about 15% of their revenues to an aggregate comprised of: workers comp, sickness of workers and resultant lowered productivity, long-term disability, public liability and slip and fall claims (9,000,000 per year), workplace violence (2,000,000 acts reported to police each year), internal and external theft, fraud, arson and property damage, and vehicular accidents.  This means they make about 17.5% margin before these losses, and are left with about 2.5% margin after these losses.  

The Security Department happens to own the infrastructure of video surveillance cameras. Presently these cameras can be viewed for random seconds here and there. Video analytics, which uses simple rule-based artificial intelligence to recognize the human figure trespassing into a defined restricted area — great for a manufacturing plant after hours for example—is useless at a campus environment where thousands of people belong everywhere all the time. A vast leap forward in proprietary artificial intelligence software has finally overcome this problem.

It is now possible to add the artificial intelligence to existing cameras, analog or digital, to provide analytics that work in occupied areas of activity without restriction. No rules are set for what the artificial intelligence is to observe. On its own it learns what normal patterns of behavior are for humans, vehicles, machines and environment. It then alerts the Security staff when it observes anomalies. Employees breaking safety procedures or regulations, people evading controlled access points or tailgating through doors or gates, fights, someone thrown to the ground, dangerous vehicular patterns, someone fallen off a bicycle, an incipient fire outdoors….all sorts of interesting actionable intelligence is caught by the artificial intelligence. Patterns of dangerous behavior and acts can be intercepted by intervention before accidents happen and sometimes before crimes progress. The cost of such deployed software may be ¼ of 1% of the security department budget.

Liberty Mutual did a study that concluded that the cost to the employer of a workers comp claim is six times the actual insured amount paid to the employee.  (see more at: http://www.perimeterprotectivesystems.com/articles/right-security-system-can-reduce-workers-compensation-liability) This results from costs of a temporary worker, advertising to rehire, retraining, managers’ time on reports and in court, adverse public relations, damage to involved equipment, and effect on other employees’ morale. Now, utilizing the new artificial intelligence technology, the Security Dep’t is in a position to present to the Administration and take on an active role in reducing workers comp and public liability. Additionally, training of the patrolling security staff, since they are constantly patrolling anyway, can teach them how to identify potential liability hazards such as tripping hazards like heaved blocks of concrete, loose railings, inadequate temporary fences around construction areas, and other things which tend to constantly emerge in a large campus.

Working with a consultant that can provide cohesive training in all areas of loss enumerated above, and partnering with other departments such as Human Resources, Risk Management, Insurance, Physical Plant or Construction and Engineering (for correction of observed conditions), and seeking involvement of the C.F.O. to help benchmark, track and quantify improvement along each of these loss areas, Security can be the leader in targeting and achieving a 25% reduction in the multiple loss area. For the typical hospital or university that will represent over a 250% improvement in the margins or bottom line. No other department can accomplish that. Security Departments that will become preventative and proactive are the face of future leadership in the field.

Ken Hantman is president of Perimeter Protective Systems, Inc.  He has been a consultant to hospitals, universities, industry and to insurance companies for 35 years and has done expert witness work related to liability of property owners for injuries to invited guests and to trespassing children. He is also a partner in R3Results with G.A. Bartick, who is a keynote speaker for Google, MetLife, Comcast, and others and has coached 1-in-5 of the Fortune 50. Ken & G.A. are developing in R3Results employee training materials for workers comp, preventing sickness & enjoying well-being, and all areas of loss. Their first product “Verbally Defusing Violent Confrontations” has received high praise. For further information Ken may be reached at ken@perimeterpro.net  866-633-3813. For further info on artificial intelligence described in the article: http://www.perimeterprotectivesystems.com/content/ai-sight-behavioral-analytics-software