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June 5, 2024

How Can Wi-Fi Sensing Improve Secondary Verification?

Shockingly, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that a staggering 94-98% of police responses to security alarm systems turn out to be false alarms, amounting to over $1 billion wasted in police time and resources due to this inaccuracy. In the security world, false alerts refer to notifications or alarms triggered by events that do not represent a genuine threat. These alerts are typically caused by inaccuracies in the detection process, such as mistaking harmless movements or environmental changes for security breaches. Common examples include shadows, passing pets, or moving foliage triggering alarms. 

False alerts bring significant application challenges for security providers and cause various operational problems. They can result in unnecessary dispatches of police or emergency services, leading to costly fines for the system owner. To address this issue, many jurisdictions have regulations that penalize excessive false alarms, aiming to ease the strain on emergency responders and ensure that alarms are only triggered for genuine threats. Moreover, false alarms hinder the effectiveness of security operations. Dealing with constant inaccurate notifications can make teams less vigilant, potentially causing delayed responses to real security breaches and diminishing the overall effectiveness of the system. Additionally, frequent false alarms can upset customers, leading to a loss of trust in the system’s reliability.  

This dissatisfaction among customers may prompt them to seek alternative security solutions with better threat detection capabilities, impacting the service provider’s reputation and customer base. 

How Secondary Verification Tackles False Alarms 

Secondary verification in security systems is a crucial process designed to tackle the prevalent issue of false alerts. It works by cross-referencing additional data points to verify the existence of a genuine threat. Secondary verification in security systems relies on multiple sensors or inputs confirming the same alert, reducing the likelihood of system errors or input mistakes. This approach prevents the security system from relying solely on a single source, such as a faulty sensor or human error, to dispatch emergency response resources immediately. Instead, by “filtering” out these erroneous alerts, the security system can operate more effectively and respond accurately to real threats. 

AVS-01: Developing a Standard for Secondary Verification 

Despite the abundance of data underscoring the adverse effects of false alarms, there’s a lack of clear protocols for alerting emergency personnel. Security providers grapple with regional legal complexities when integrating their systems with law enforcement or emergency services. While some have established best practices through partnerships, overall consensus among providers remains low. 

AVS-01, also known as the Alarm Validation Scoring Standard, is an innovative initiative developed by The Monitoring Association (TMA) to enhance the credibility and reliability of burglary alarms in the security industry. This standardizes alarm notification processes from monitoring centers to Emergency Communications Centers (ECC/PSAPs). It employs a procedural approach, mandating monitoring centers to follow a specified method for verifying alarms, including detailed procedures for managing multiple sensor activations, video verification, and one-or two-way audio systems. AVS-01 utilizes data from monitoring centers to generate standardized scoring metrics, categorizing alarms based on priority levels, from confirmed threats to life to situations where no immediate response is necessary. 

Wi-Fi Sensing Solves the Need for Additional Data Points 

Integrating Wi-Fi Sensing into existing security solutions not only provides a valuable data point for secondary verification but also enhances the system’s reliability. This technology detects motion through Wi-Fi signal disruptions, which reinforces traditional motion sensors by confirming actual human presence. By mandating validation from both hardware and Wi-Fi Sensing before alerting emergency services, the system significantly reduces false alarms, ensuring alerts are genuine threats. Moreover, Wi-Fi Sensing offers advantages over traditional sensors like PIR sensors or cameras due to its broader detection capabilities and fewer blind spots or angle limitations.  

 The process of integrating WiFi Motion into a security system is straightforward and efficient. It involves firmware integration on compatible client devices and configuring APIs through IoT devices with WiFi Sensing chips. This approach maximizes infrastructure utility while avoiding complex installations or privacy concerns. Simultaneously, it simplifies integration into an existing system, benefiting both users and service providers. Customers can avoid extra device installations and privacy invasions, optimizing their current infrastructure with minimal adjustments, thereby enhancing the value of the security system.  

Within Cognitive’s Wi-Fi Sensing application, WiFi Motion™, sophisticated algorithms have been developed to further enhance system performance. These algorithms filter out unwanted motion, such as movements from fans or pets, refining the criteria for when the system sends out alerts. Leveraging reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF), these algorithms ensure accurate processing and analysis of motion information, enhancing the overall reliability and effectiveness of the security system. 

Measure Twice, Cut Once 

The escalating challenges posed by false alarms necessitate innovative approaches to ensure accurate threat detection and enhance operational efficiency. By seamlessly incorporating Wi-Fi Sensing into existing security systems, providers can introduce an additional layer of verification that significantly reduces the occurrence of false alerts. This cutting-edge technology not only streamlines the process of detecting genuine threats but also offers a reliable means to filter out irrelevant motion, such as those from pets or environmental factors. Wi-Fi Sensing’s role in secondary verification promises to elevate security standards, foster faster response times, bolster threat detection accuracy, and enhance overall customer satisfaction. 

To learn more about how service providers can enhance their security offerings with WiFi Motion, download our whitepaper.