"WTF?!?!? Who is Brian Karas?!?" Exclaims Knightscope

Author: John Honovich, Published on Oct 21, 2016

Knightscope co-founder Stacy Stephens emailed us:

He may not have intended to send it to us and he probably can figure out who Brian Karas is, (e.g., on LinkedIn). His objection was to us criticizing his company in a recent post about their competitor Sharp.

The problem is: Knightscope is reckless. They are a danger to themselves, to the emerging security robot market and, by extension, to the security industry as a whole.

Movie Prop

Knightscope is likely upset about Karas declaring:

the Knightscope machine is designed to look like a movie prop

But look at the Knightscope robot next to movie robots and the similarity is obvious:

And the biggest upside to that is people find it entertaining, like this YouTube video clip where a passerby compares Knightscope (which also makes sounds like a movie prop) to Star Wars BB-8.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

UPDATE: That account and video has been deleted. Evidently, Knightscope created an unidentified account to secretly market their robot. Ironically, they labelled it as 'kids love it'

Here is another video from the Stanford mall showcasing Knightscope:

Knightscope may seriously have a future as an (extremely expensive) gimmick / toy far more than for its claims to stop violence or crime.

Reckless - Run Over Child 'Pilot'

Doing a trial at a mall across the street from Silicon Valley's largest VCs is appealing to a fund raising startup. But despite initial good press, the trial was a disaster when the Knightscope robot ran over / into a toddler and then tried to spin the incidence.

Knightscope either did not know, or responsibly factor in, that putting a 'trial' robot into a mall with loads of people would present risks. And then their spin job 'field incident report' made it worse.

But, thankfully, it did make clear publicly a critical limitation in using their robots.

Reckless - $7 An Hour

Knightscope's business case rests on their $7 per hour pitch distortion, a fraction of what security guards make per hour. Knightscope must think people are stupid because the $7 per hour metric is based on their robots (1) never needing to be charged or maintained and (2) running 24 / 7 / 365; the former is technically impossible, the later warps the hours most organizations would actually use the robot. Once factoring in charging, maintenance and times where the robot is simply not needed, the actual cost per hour is the same or higher than guards. And guards can do things like climb stairs, give directions, open doors, smile, etc...

Reckless - $50 Million Investor Interest

Knightscope's investor campaign is a spin job that reeks of desperation. They keep bragging about the tens of millions of 'interest' they have generated (now at ~$55 million) but the reality is that not only is the interest non-binding, there is zero vetting and even fake email addresses can be used to register hundreds of thousands of interest. This was covered here: The Dumbest Investment Campaign

Reckless - #StoptheViolence / Sandy Hook and Boston Bombing

As part of their 'investment' campaign, they are promoting the social media campaign #stoptheviolence. Unfortunately, there are zero examples of Knightscope stopping any violence or even a clear theory about why a rolling can with cameras could reasonably stop violence.

Indeed, Stephens talks about how Sandy Hook and the Boston bombings were inspiration for them to prevent crime, as he describes below:

Certainly, he is not the first unscrupulous vendor to link horrific tragedies to their products but it remains absurd. What will their robot do to prevent mass shootings?

As a 'solution' to this, Knightscope has started claiming that they will develop gun detection analytics.

Of course, gun detection (and from the image above evidently hidden guns) is another reckless stunt, given how hard of a problem that is to solve and zero evidence they are close to doing so.

Pro-Robot, Anti-Gimmicks

IPVM is certainly 'pro' security robot. The ugly race to the bottom in video surveillance is a threat to the industry and innovation. Security robots, at least in concept, have great potential to revitalize the security technology market.

The problem is the gimmicks and reckless marketing that Knightscope, and Stevens as their marketing leader, specializes in.

Danger to Robots and Industry

The nascent robot market risks damaging its reputation like video analytics did.

Yes, you can do stunts at first to get people excited. But as video analytics showed, the stunts eventually wear off unless real value is delivered. Worse, once the initial excitement wears off, the disappointment / bad taste can remain for years.

Like it or not, Knightscope has made themselves the 'face' of the security robot industry and if they do not mature, they risk harming the reputation of the whole security robots market as a gimmick rather than a real force for the entire security industry.

1 report cite this report:

'Suicidal' Knightscope Robot Drowns on Jul 17, 2017
Knightscope continues its hyper growth, at least when it comes to controversy, this time with a 'suicidal' robot in Washington DC. And here is...
Comments (34) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Dell Launches IoT for Surveillance on Sep 05, 2018
Historically, Dell has been a PC and server provider (e.g., "Dude, you're getting a Dell") and widely used for surveillance storage. However, in...
Hikvision FIPS 140-2 Cybersecurity Certification Examined on Aug 27, 2018
A week after the US government passed a law banning Hikvision, Hikvision announced it had obtained a FIPS 140-2 certification from the US...
$25 Million US COPS SVPP School Security Funding Examined on Jul 24, 2018
The US Congress has authorized the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) to fund various security measures and training to mitigate active...
Fail: Dahua "Didn't Check The Lux Levels but It Was Dark" on Jul 20, 2018
Dahua UK has been promoting their camera quality on LinkedIn: I, and others, asked what the lux level of the scene was. (background: Lux Rating...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Drops Dahua, Fenner Becomes ISS CMO on Jul 09, 2018
Hired to improve Dahua's miserable marketing just last year, Janet Fenner has quit Dahua, joining VMS manufacturer ISS as Chief Marketing...
Pelco Is For Sale on Jun 27, 2018
Pelco is for sale, being shopped by an investment bank, IPVM has confirmed from multiple sources. The company, acquired by Schneider Electric in...
Snap Surveillance Profile on Jun 26, 2018
There are not a lot of video surveillance companies that survive 9 years with only one feature that makes their product stand out. In the case of...
Hikvision Covers Up Racial Profiling And AI Error on Jun 25, 2018
Faced with global scrutiny, led by the US government-funded Voice of America (VOA), Hikvision has covered up evidence showing their racial...
IFSEC 2018 Final Show Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM attended the IFSEC show for the first time this year. The Chinese took over the show, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact