By Steve Birkmeier
The current and projected explosive growth of the cannabis market has created a wide variety of opportunities for various stakeholders, delivering exciting benefits in a number of aspects, such as job and tax revenue creation. But it is not an industry without challenges, with one of the most important being the necessity to enforce safety mechanisms at dispensaries and grows that defend against nefarious behavior and crimes such as theft and robberies.
Facilities in this industry must prioritize deploying comprehensive and effective systems and solutions to protect every component of the cultivation process. Because there are specific regulations that cannabis businesses must follow when it comes to compliance and surveillance, video technology is a common choice for efficient monitoring and investigating.
But as is the case in almost every organization, a surveillance camera typically records 24/7, generating an overwhelming amount of footage that is likely irrelevant if no anomalies or events take place. Though every camera has a general purpose — to fixate on a particular scene important to an organization — if no suspicious activity is occurring, it becomes highly inefficient for operators to be forced to sift through all of the footage.
This is where deep learning and video analytics come into play. These innovations streamline this process and allowing cannabis facilities to gain access to the most relevant video and security information at any given time. By extrapolating an event that requires a response and notifying the appropriate personnel, video analytics allow dispensaries and grows to gain access to the information that is most important to their business needs and facilitate real time, concerted action.
And with today’s advanced innovations, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the cloud, the response to a security event can be more immediate than ever before. Alarms and alerts can be sent through push notifications to a smartphone, enabling decision-making from any remote location and by any authorized individual.
Though deep learning technologies play a key role in providing enhanced security to a facility, additional solutions can also be added into the equation and every piece can be easily controlled at once through a comprehensive video management platform. Access control, for example, another security tool frequently used in this industry, can deliver perimeter protection for entrances and exits, and when integrated with other intelligent technologies, dispensaries and grows can experience an even greater level of safety.
For example, if a known offender is able to bypass an access control system and enter a grow, chokepoints established throughout can trigger another layer of security. Facial recognition can come in handy as a real-time detection tool that identifies individuals who are not in the facility’s database, allowing instant action to remove the criminal before an incident occurs. These events can all be tied into one common interface that provides the video verification necessary for a variety of threats.
Securing facilities that produce and sell cannabis may seem like an overwhelming and complicated task, but its importance cannot be understated, as the risks and challenges these facilities face will continue to evolve moving forward. Dispensaries and grows must take advantage of intelligent, collaborative security solutions that use video analytics to pinpoint the most important data for expeditious and cohesive decision-making and responses.