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RoboCop: California’s Crime Fighting Robots on Duty

Crime Fighting Robot

The 1987 film RoboCop introduced the world to the concept of mixing technology with law enforcement in a way that blurred the line between man and machine. But that line has been blurred even more with the introduction of new – and very real – law enforcement technology known as the Knightscope K5 Security Robot. The K5 is now on patrol at several locations in California.

Knightscope, a Mountain View start-up headed by CEO William Li and co-founder Stacy Stephens has managed to secure some $12 million to develop the K5 platform from a list of investors that includes Konica Minolta. The cutting-edge security robot uses much of the same technology that is being developed for driverless cars, including a full array of sensors, cameras, and information processors.

According to news sources, the robots are capable of recognizing potential security threats by monitoring the local environment and comparing collected data against known crime “triggers.” The robot has an onboard microphone to capture noise; a camera with 360-degree sight and recording capabilities; and even the ability to electronically speak and smell. If any of the robot’s sophisticated systems identifies a trigger, it immediately begins sending data to the Knightscope Security Operations Center.

The robots have already proved useful as aids to human security guards at shopping malls. Now Knightscope hopes to encourage others to give them a try as well. Stephens has no illusions of the K5 completely replacing human officers, but he does believe the technology can be a big help in assisting law enforcement. He is betting his company, and the predictive network needed to operate the robots, on it.

Technology Can Make Us Safer

Monitronics is absolutely thrilled by the work that Knightscope is doing in California. We are big believers in the idea that technology can make us safer when developed in the right way and deployed correctly. For example, our HomeTouch home automation platform makes the home both more efficient and secure. Updating an existing Monitronics security system with HomeTouch lets property owners control their security from almost anywhere.

Technology is making us safer by using machines to do what human beings cannot: keep a constant eye on things 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As Knightscope’s Stephens explained to CBS San Francisco, criminals are not looking for confrontation. They prefer to act as quickly and efficiently as possible, without being challenged. Stephens believes the K5 robot can be effective as a security tool because it instantly challenges criminals. We think the same applies to our technologically advanced security systems and home automation.

Avoid Being Caught

The number one rule among criminals is to avoid being caught. No criminal enterprise is profitable if the criminal cannot execute his or her crimes and stay out of prison at the same time. Things such as the K5 and Monitronics home security significantly increase the chances of a criminal being discovered, apprehended, prosecuted, and convicted. Criminals will do everything in their power to avoid these technologies.

It will be interesting to see how effective the K5 actually is as a crime-fighting tool. If the robot lives up to its potential, more of these futuristic crime-fighting machines could be patrolling streets in California. Combined with state-of-the-art home security systems and home automation, the technologies could make the Golden State’s neighborhoods safer.

Monitronics can help you take that first step toward being safer with a wireless home security system. Contact us, or your local Monitronics dealer in California, for more information.

Sources:

  1. Tech Worm – http://www.techworm.net/2016/01/crime-fighting-robots-now-patrolling-streets-california.html
  2. Knightscope – http://knightscope.com/

5 Fun Facts About the Big Game

Football-Field

It’s that time again – the Big Game is upon us! Did you know this year it’s the game’s 50th anniversary? Whether you’re a hardcore football fan or just interested in watching the commercials and halftime show, the appeal of this sporting event is undeniable.

Which brings up the question: Why is it always called “the Big Game” in advertising? The NFL has trademarked the game’s real name and tightly controls who can and can’t use it. But let’s be honest: “The Big Game 50” just doesn’t have the same ring. Stephen Colbert once referred to a “Superb Owl” during his Colbert Report show, but even that made Comedy Central nervous.

While you confirm your plans for this Sunday, let’s look at five fun facts about the biggest event in football.

  • The difference between the price of a ticket to the first Big Game and the cost of today’s tickets is pretty amazing. In 1967, you’d have paid $12 to watch the Green Bay Packers defeat Kansas City. This year, a ticket to the Big Game costs upwards of $4,000, and that’s for the cheap seats!
  • Halftime shows have always been fun, but did you know that marching bands played the first five games? In 1967, the bands were from University of Arizona and Grambling College. In 1968, there were seven local Florida high school bands. Florida A&M headlined in 1969, and the 1970’s show featured not only the Southern University Band but also Al Hirt, Marguerite Piazza, Lionel Hampton, Doc Severinson and Carol Channing. (Don’t be too concerned if you don’t recognize those names.) In 1971, it was Anita Bryant and the Southeast Missouri State Band.
  • Do you have a favorite halftime act? To refresh your memory, the Black Eyed Peas headlined in 2011, followed by Madonna with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO, and CeeLo Green in 2012. In 2013, the show featured Beyoncé, with a Destiny’s Child reunion; in 2014, it was Bruno Mars, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Katy Perry performed in 2015, and while the show also featured Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott, it was all but stolen by Perry’s dancing backup sharks. In this year’s show, Coldplay takes the lead.
  • What’s the price of advertising during the game that can’t be named? In 1967, a 30-second commercial set advertisers back $42,000. This year it’s a whopping $5 million for a 30-second spot! Not to mention the astronomical price advertisers pay to become an official sponsor, and why the NFL protects its trademark so vigorously.
  • Two TV networks – NBC and CBS – were the first to televise the Big Game. Approximatelty 60 million viewers watched while nearly 62,000 people attended the game in a 94,000-seat stadium. Surprisingly, the first game was the only one in history that was not a sellout in terms of attendance. Last year, the game had over 120 million television viewers, making it the most watched broadcast in U.S. television history.

Are you headed to somewhere fun to watch the Big Game this year? Monitronics wants to watch your home while you’re away! A leader in home security, Monitronics offers home security systems to meet the needs of every home and family. To learn more about home security or find valuable information, visit the Monitronics website, or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.

Celebrate National Senior Independence Month

Senior-Citizens-walking-holding-hands

As baby boomers ready their golden years, it’s more important than ever to find ways to help our senior citizens maintain their independence while remaining safe. February is National Senior Independence Month, and there’s no better time to take a step back and look for ways to manage that balance. There’s a reason why the “aging in place” philosophy is taking root, so let’s use National Senior Independence Month to discover ways to enhance that independence.

  • Seniors need to stay active. National Senior Independence Month is the perfect time to encourage your favorite senior to try something new, whether it’s a new walking trail, a yoga class, or participating in a group activity, such as water aerobics or a walk for a good cause.
  • The brain needs exercise too. Getting older doesn’t have to mean the decline of mental acuity. Seniors can trigger their brains to make nutrients to not only strengthen and protect the brain but also grow new brain cells! One way to keep seniors’ minds active is to help them master new technology, which will also help strengthen their connections with loved ones.
  • National Senior Independence Month is a great time to check your favorite senior’s house for safety. Make sure they are living in well-lit rooms, and strategically place night-lights to help prevent falls. Keep floors and walkways clutter free, and clear of furniture, wiring or other obstructions that might make it difficult to move freely. Look at the whole house critically, assessing accessibility of things such as appliances, cabinets, shelving and even bathrooms. Install handrails and grab bars if necessary.
  • Make a point to appreciate your time together. Go for a walk with your grandmother, or talk to your grandfather about his life. Whether you’re sitting together and working on a puzzle or trying out a yoga class, the time spent with the seniors in your life is something to treasure.
  • One of the best gifts you can give to promote senior independence is an updated security system. The peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is paying attention cannot be overstated, and a home security system with medical monitoring offers even more protection. At the touch of a button, help can be summoned to assist in any type of emergency.

This year, for National Senior Independence Month, think about new ways you can help keep the seniors in your life feeling both independent and protected. When it comes to keeping seniors safe, Monitronics knows how to help. With our home security systems and medical monitoring, we provide seniors with the safety and security they need to remain independent. It’s just one more way that Monitronics offers home security systems to fit every family’s needs and keep every home safe. Remember to interact with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Check out our website as well, to learn how to keep your family and home protected.

National Heart Month: Five Major Milestones

Woman-holding-red-toy-heart

February is National Heart Month, a designation assigned by President Obama to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and is responsible for one in three deaths every year. That’s why it’s important to educate people about the warning signs, preventive measures and treatment options for cardiovascular disease. During National Heart Month, let’s take a moment to look at some major milestones that have led us closer to defeating heart disease.

  • The first human heart transplant was performed on Dec. 3, 1967. Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed this surgery in Cape Town, South Africa. Though the patient died a mere 18 days later from pneumonia, the heart functioned perfectly, and this case led to the development of better anti-rejection drugs. By the 1970s, patients were living years after receiving heart transplants.
  • The first coronary bypass was performed in the United States by a doctor from Germany. Dr. Robert Goetz successfully performed the procedure at Bronx Municipal Hospital in 1960, connecting the right thoracic artery to the coronary artery, using a sutureless technique. This event went largely uncredited for years, with many crediting the first bypass to Dr. Rene Favaloro in 1967. Interestingly, Dr. Christiaan Barnard was a student of Dr. Goetz, yet achieved far more notoriety even though Goetz and his son also developed and patented an intra-aortic balloon pump, which is still in use today.
  • The first coronary angiogram happened because of an accident. In 1958, a young doctor named Mason Sones accidentally injected dye into the opening of the right coronary artery, when he was supposed to inject it into the root of the aorta, to get a general view of the vessels in the chest. At first, he was panicked, because in those days they believed that this kind of accident could kill the patient, but all that happened is that the heart slowed briefly. This discovery led to the widespread use of this technique to find blockages in arteries. Today, the cardiologist injects a few milliliters of dye into a coronary artery through a catheter passed through the femoral artery.
  • The first fully implantable pacemaker was developed by a cardiologist turned engineer. Dr. Rune Elmqvist initially thought of the pacemaker as more of a technical experiment than a medical breakthrough. By working with cardiologist Ǻke Senning in Stockholm, he was able to help develop it into a working device. In 1958, they implanted it into the chest of a 43-year-old patient suffering cardiac arrhythmia, who ended up living to be 86 years old. During those ensuing 43 years he used a total of 26 pacemakers!
  • The first artificial heart for humans was invented and patented in the 1950s but not successfully implanted in a human patient until 1982. That year, the Jarvik-7 model, an artificial heart designed to last a lifetime, was implanted in a patient by Dr. William DeVries. The patient survived 112 days after the surgery, but further developments later led to patients living over 600 days. The Jarvik-7 was developed by scientist Robert Jarvik, but the first artificial human heart was actually invented by Paul Winchell, who was more widely known as a ventriloquist and comedian, who was assisted by Henry Heimlich, known for the Heimlich maneuver.

During National Heart Month, take some time to think about ways in which you can protect your heart, and let Monitronics take care of protecting your home. A leader in home security, Monitronics offers home security systems to meet the needs of every home and family. To learn more about home security, or find valuable information visit the Monitronics website, or connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.

Getting the Most from Your Home Security System

A home security system is an excellent tool for reducing risks associated with burglary, fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, and flood. Home security can also be combined with medical monitoring and home automation features to make your home even more safe and efficient. But remember this: Home security is only a tool. How you use that tool will determine its effectiveness.

Customizing a system for your specific needs provides better security than buying an off-the-shelf solution that may not be appropriate. For example, it’s important to purchase a system that is based on your particular property configuration. That’s why the first step in getting the most from your home security system is to work with a company like Monitronics that is capable of custom-designing the right hardware and monitoring package for you.

Here are some additional tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of home security:

1. Utilize Video Surveillance Cameras

Video surveillance cameras used to be thought of as extra equipment that only wealthy homeowners needed. That is no longer the case. Video surveillance is an affordable addition to any home security system that markedly increases safety and security. Video surveillance makes you safer by planting a seed of doubt in the mind of the criminal. Footage you’re your video surveillance system could help police catch a criminal and obtain a conviction. The truth is that criminals hate video surveillance. You should include it in your security system.

2. Create a Routine for Arming Your System

Homes with security systems are still vulnerable to crime, especially if a homeowner fails to arm the system. The best way to avoid doing this is by establishing some sort of routine that will remind you to arm your system. For example, put a hook on the wall next to the control panel where you can hang your car keys. When you grab the keys, you’ll see the panel and remind yourself to arm the system. Also think about a creative way to remind yourself to arm the system before going to bed.

3. Be Careful Who You Allow into Your Home

A common tactic among criminals who target residential homes is to pose as service providers in order to gain entry. For example, the new lawn maintenance company you hired may be nothing more than a front for criminal activity. That worker who asked to use your bathroom while you were out on the front porch may have spent time casing your home to see if there was anything worth coming back for. Protect yourself from these kinds of incidents by being very careful about who you allow into your home.

4. Be Particular about Where the Control Panel Is Mounted

Installation technicians should already know to be careful about where control panels are mounted. But technicians are not perfect. You have the ultimate say, so make sure your control panel is mounted in a location where it cannot be seen from outside. For example, consider mounting your control panel just inside the garage entryway rather than next to a front door with decorative glass.

5. Use Heavy-Duty Deadbolt Locks

Home security is a tool of deterrence, not prevention. A criminal who wants to get into your home badly enough may do so even if your house is alarmed. You can minimize such risks by using heavy-duty deadbolt locks on all of your doors.

Getting the most from your home security system means taking a few extra steps to make your property safer.

You can get more information about home security in your area by contacting Monitronics.