AI Powers The Next Generation Of Threat Detection

“Experience and security have been at loggerheads,” Xtract One CEO Peter Evans says. And he’s not wrong.

“Let’s say for argument’s sake you are going to see the Anaheim Ducks. What’s your experience? You’re gonna find a hot ticket, you’ve spent 500 or 600 or 700 bucks and it’s hot in Anaheim. It’s a long line to get in and you have to stand in line for 60 minutes, take stuff out of your pocket. … This is not a good brand experience,” he says.

That’s been the standard security experience for decades, one based on metal detectors and X-ray machines and wanding and physical searches. 

“This is technology originally built for the penitentiary,” Evans says.

But Xtract One doesn’t build metal detectors.

“I have a weapons detector,” he says.

Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, Xtract One’s systems can find bad actors carrying knives or guns or even bomb-making material without the system alerting based on, say, car keys or belt buckles or cell phones. 

“With digital transformation technology, we’ve changed the way you buy things, the way you do banking, education. We’ve changed everything except security,” he says. 

Until now.

Xtract One’s systems are extremely fast — ticket buyers can be in the door 65 percent faster, Evans says — and extremely efficient — security staff can be reduced by a third. And that means more money, not just because operating costs are lower but patrons in the building means increased per-caps. Twenty minutes spent inside instead of waiting is 20 minutes of potential concession and merch sales, after all.

“Unfortunately we live in a troubling time. There’s violence and entitlement. The Security and patron experience have been in conflict with each other, but we want them in fast to spend money,” Evans says.

“There were 10,000 people at the Moody Center gathered early for Harry Styles to run down and get to general admission floor seats. We had nine security lanes open and all of those 10,000 were through the door in 22 minutes,” he says. “Using these systems, they are in 65 percent faster. It isn’t invasive or high-touch. They get in and spend more money.”

EXTRA SENSORY: Xtract One’s SmartGateway promises an unobtrusive, non-intimidating security experience for guests and AI-fueled threat detection for venues (Photo courtesy Xtract One)

Because this is a software-based system that relies on machine learning, it’s always getting better, Evans says, and it can be fine-tuned. A venue in a cold and moist climate noticed that the packets of handwarmers were alerting the system, presumably because it was a powder that was essentially dense and metal, suggesting to the system gunpowder or a knife. So Xtract One taught its software to recognize the handwarmers for what they are. Cowbells — popular among certain fanbases — have long been a bete noir of security systems because their size, shape and composition is virtually identical to a weapon. Xtract One’s system can easily dismiss cowbells as a threat. Museums working with the company are concerned about spray paint and other vehicles of vandalism. At those sites, the technology can focus heavily on sniffing that out.

Eventually, Evans says, Xtract One,
which already has contracts with MSG’s Sphere and numerous venues operated by Oak View Group (Pollstar’s parent company), will be able to provide a completely frictionless seat-to-street experience, including enforcing venue bans using facial recognition.

“We are already starting to integrate with ticketing. Within 10 or 15 feet we can say ‘he has a valid ticket,’ five feet away we can tell you haven’t been banned and we can tell when you get in if you have a weapon,” Evans says.

What once took an hour is over in seconds.

Further, if a venue wanted to employ such a policy, Xtract One’s software could recognize if a patron is a regular — say, a season-ticket holder for a sports team — who rarely triggers any sort of problem. Integrating ticketing with security could direct such a person to a special entrance, similar to TSA PreCheck. 

The Xtract One system can even tell a venue if more patrons go left or right out of the entrance, if they head to certain concession stands and so on. 

In addition to arenas and museums, Xtract One works with manufacturers, who, similarly to arenas, are moving thousands of people in and out at specific times. He said now that the company has perfected a portable power source, it’s ready to take on more festival-type clients.

“We can offer highly-enhanced safe spaces when there is a concern. We can create a welcoming environment where the first moment of truth is a welcoming experience not a negative one — drive operating costs down, drive revenue up and provide data insights to enhance the experience,” he says. s