Knightscope Relies on PagerDuty to Keep Their Robots Rolling
As security becomes more advanced and available, companies must look for ways to be more efficient with their resources in order to stay competitive. With challenges that limit the capabilities of companies, such as limited employee resources and low customer tolerance for delays in services, reliable and affordable solutions are necessary. In this case, it means disrupting the traditional security industry. Organizations are achieving their goals by relying on automation and technology.
Knightscope Leads the Way
For the past nine years, Knightscope, an American advanced security technology company, has been leading the charge with its Autonomous Security Robots. The publicly traded company designs, builds and deploys Autonomous Security Robots for use in monitoring people and vehicles in public areas such as malls, parking lots, neighborhoods, and casinos. They have been innovating public safety using robots and proactive monitoring to deter and report security risks. Their mission is ambitious: to make America the safest country in the world.
When Knightscope shipped their first robot in 2015, the security robot industry was still in its infancy. With little competition and a blank canvas on the landscape of the industry, Knightscope was a pioneer. They dove head first into the autonomous security robot space and now have contracts for more than 100 autonomous security robots.
It Takes a Village
All of the Knightscope robots are, essentially, vessels for the company’s API software. The data collected by the robots is their real product. Several departments work together to keep the systems rolling, and they need to ensure that they are working as efficiently as possible. Jane Miller, Senior Operations Manager, manages the Network Operations Center (NOC) at Knightscope, where the team is responsible for maintaining client’s robots—keeping them up and running 24/7. “They’re our first line of defense for everything technical going on with our fleet of robots,” said Miller.
The NOC needs to be able to handle potential software and hardware issues anytime, including after business hours, such as a computer’s hard drive within the robot filling up. Also, because Knightscope software is running in autonomous security robots, the robot’s vessel can end up with problems independent of the software glitches. For example, it could be vandalized or hit by a car. It may need human intervention in situations where it’s not sure what decision to make. In these situations, the on-call team member must resolve the issue or complete the diagnostics in preparation to pass it over to the appropriate team.
Miller is also responsible for the technical client support of Knightscope’s Security Operations Center (KSOC), where Knightscope’s software interface allows clients to interact with their robots. Here, clients can view the video coming from the robots, and have an emergency phone call system where the robots can be programmed to call the Security Team. Clients can also prompt audio announcements if someone is seen as a threat or enters a restricted access zone.
With all of the different systems and departments, resolving an issue could get complicated. Because they are a technology company at their core, they know they need a dependable and proven way to align all of the systems and teams.
PagerDuty is Their Solution
Knightscope has been using PagerDuty since 2015 to manage its real-time operations. It connects the PagerDuty API into its proprietary robotics software to monitor the robot hardware, software, and autonomous decision making. The teams will receive proactive notices via PagerDuty if a piece of software crashes unexpectedly, if the robot physically needs help, or if connection to the robot has been lost. PagerDuty also provides data about the health of the fleet of robots, ensuring new software releases or bug fixes are operating as expected.
“We take care of making sure that the robots are doing everything they need to be doing from a security perspective, if it’s having any hardware or software issues. If anything comes up, PagerDuty lets us know and we take care of it. If any new issues come up, we investigate, and escalate to our R&D teams,” said Miller.
This is where PagerDuty Incident Response shows its value. When a robot isn’t responding the way it should, “We’re using PagerDuty to make sure that the robots are doing everything they need to be doing to support the clients,” said Miller. In fact, it’s a huge relief for new employees when they start working for Knightscope and see that they can rely on PagerDuty to tell them when something is wrong, instead of wading through mounds of data.
PagerDuty has proven to be adaptable and reliable as Knightscope continues to develop new features and platforms. When a technology company, especially an industry disruptor, is at the forefront of tremendous progress, they need to ensure their systems are nimble and can change quickly. “We’re still a startup culture, so we’re always changing things. It’s been really easy for the team to integrate PagerDuty into new technologies—to adapt and grow as we go. It keeps us production-ready; ready to work with our clients.”
Knightscope has benefited from PagerDuty because it is:
- Easy to use – Easily integrated with their software using PagerDuty’s custom APIs.
- Adaptable and agile – Easy to implement new features, platforms, technologies.
- Flexible – Easily create and modify rotation schedules & notifications received how you want them.
- Cost effective – Onsite robots, available 24/7 reduce the need for human staff.
The Future is Changing
The future for Knightscope seems limitless. In the world of technology, change is certain. With ever changing priorities, crises, budgets and access to reliable employees, companies like Knightscope are constantly looking for ways to create effective and consistent solutions. They are pioneering the new age of security, and they rely on PagerDuty to achieve their goals.