Since first becoming available for hotels, indoor gunfire detection has been considered a lofty high-end addition to security systems. As reported in Lodging Magazine, this will soon no longer hold true. Converging market forces and shifting security priorities will make such systems as essential as smoke detectors, providing affordable, unobtrusive, and potentially life-saving monitoring and detection of gunfire in every hotel venue.
Statistically, the probability of an active shooter event occurring at any given location is miniscule. Even so, the devastation active shooters cause is so horrific that being prepared for such events demands attention and resources. A recent survey of top security decision-makers representing a wide range of commercial venues reported that an active shooter scenario was the physical security threat that concerned them most. Of course, this is a very real fear for hotel owners and operators.
Traditionally, indoor gunfire detection solutions have been reserved for only the most high-profile, well-funded projects. For effective coverage, a high number of detectors must be deployed throughout a property, and the price adds up quickly. Labor-intensive monitoring and alert notification services that support these systems is expensive. And, unlike many security technologies whose cost can be justified for the many day-to-day use cases in which they deliver value, most gunshot detection systems will hopefully never need to alarm and notify. This makes budgeting for their high cost even harder to justify.
But the high cost is changing. The proliferation of the IoT and cloud platforms, combined with smarter, faster, and more affordable AI engines, is now setting the stage for a new generation of indoor gunshot detection. For gunfire detection systems, sensors that leverage the cloud to process and analyze detected sounds can dramatically reduce the cost of associated hardware needed on-site. New detectors, which are small and inconspicuous, can be sold for hundreds, rather than thousands, of dollars each.
Installation costs are minimized due to the simplified network requirements and “plug-and-play” connectivity of IoT sensor devices that can be programmed and mapped from a phone or browser.
Self-learning AI, powered by cloud servers, continually improves the accuracy of gunfire analysis, reducing or eliminating the need for human involvement for monitoring and throughout the alert notification sequence.
As the cost of indoor gunfire detection systems ceases to be an obstacle, hoteliers certainly must consider inclusion of such technology as part of a comprehensive active shooter security plan. Most have already invested in physical security technologies to guard their facilities. Now it is time to focus on strategies to save as many lives as possible, should an attack occur.
A gunfire detection system can notify authorities within seconds of the first trigger pull and equip first responders with actionable intelligence to deploy immediately on-site. By eliminating valuable minutes before 911 is contacted and providing clear and concise data of the gunman’s location, number of shots fired, and type of weapon, gunfire detection systems can potentially slash the duration of a mass shooting in half. And, studies show that for every minute victims wait for treatment, survival is 10 percent less likely.
A recent study by The Harford of over 1 million of its small business policies showed that in a five-year period, twice as many customers made insurance claims for loss due to theft than for fire. And yet, the use of camera systems—which can deter and help resolve cases of theft— reduces insurance premiums, while smoke detectors are legally required in every room and hallway of all commercial buildings. The explanation for this is obvious: smoke detectors can help save lives and do so at a price point that’s affordable for any size organization. Hotels can’t afford not to have them. The same is true for the next generation of indoor gunfire detection systems. Given their ability to help saves lives, with only a small incremental increase in security budgeting, they’ll soon be an indispensable element of every active shooter technology plan for hotels.