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  • By Joy Santamarina

How secure are you?

I had a chance to visit our island paradise for a quick break last August. As is always my habit whenever I’m on island, I scour through the news, watch and listen to the shows that matter, and catch up with friends on the latest happenings. Aside from the usual updates on school, family, friends, and running, politics was an off-repeated topic of course. A bit surprisingly though, or maybe not, there was the increasing concern on safety and security.

There seems to be a growing number of incidences of petty and not so petty crimes that make us question if we are safe and secure enough. Thefts, home invasions, sexual assaults and other crimes seem to be occurring one too many times. Is this a function of less police presence?

The University of Guam is helping NTT DOCOMO test its latest AI technology, which may eventually improve the security of the campus. Photo courtesy of University of Guam

Are there more readily available illegal drugs? Is our population increasing too much, too soon? What can we do?

Technology can help! There are many ways you can use technology to help you feel a bit more secure and safe.

  1. Kiddie Watches: If you have young children and are worried about their safety, there are many kiddie cell phone watches available that they can use. These watches not only serve as GPS trackers but can also make urgent calls and messages. The best ones have an SOS button which the child can press anytime for help, which then notifies you. Some even have alerts when the watch is removed. Others even have a 4G SIM slot but you have to check whether the local providers here support these types of watches. Otherwise, GPS and Wi-Fi are good enough to do the job.

  2. Vehicle Security: If you’re worried about car thefts, hit-and-run accidents and the like, there are likewise technologies you can use to protect your vehicle. The obvious choice would be dash cameras which you can put in front and at the back of your vehicles as it takes video records. There are also GPS-enabled trackers which can monitor the vehicles routes and location thru an app. Depending on the app you use, it can include statistics on traffic, fuel consumption, stops and the like which make these ideal if you have a fleet for your business. Of course, there are the usual car alarm systems and keyless entry features which are common for most vehicles these days.

  3. Home Security: If you live in villages that have fallen victim to recent home invasions, then perhaps you should consider home security technologies. Aside from alarms, there are other simpler technologies you can deploy to make your home a bit more secure. One of these are simple motion-sensitive lights that you can strategically place around your home that then light up when untoward motions are detected. Or you can simply put video cameras around which can record the activities which you can then view from your laptop, pc or mobile. A full on DIY security system though can include alarm systems, video doorbells, motion sensors for windows/other openings and even indoors.

Toward this concern of security, there is one interesting development happening on Guam. NTT Docomo and the University of Guam’s IT office is currently testing some artificial intelligence (AI) features as part of NTT Docomo’s 5G Open Partner Program. One such test puts in an AI that can automatically spot suspicious behaviour thru the CCTV feeds. Developed by a California-based start-up (Smart Home Sentry Inc), it aims to differentiate movements on live CCTV streams. Therefore, it will be able to differentiate regular people going about their day to day activities vs say, someone with a covered face, carrying a weapon, or moving quite suspiciously around. Another interesting test they’re doing is on facial recognition. Developed by a Japanese start-up (PLEN Robotics Inc), the PLEN cube is a camera robot programmed to track and remember people who cross its path.

While these tests aim to verify Docomo Pacific’s 5G networks capability to support AI systems, these are potential technologies which can be used to make our island a safer and more secure place. “With these projects, we’re getting the opportunity to explore the capabilities and benefits of the latest AI technology, which may lead us to new ways to improve the security, safety, and function of our campus,” said Manny B. Hechanova, UOG’s interim chief information officer.

Perhaps, there are local companies or start-ups which can also participate and develop more of these for the benefit of our own safety and security. Perhaps, these developments can be the answer to make us feel more secure in our island paradise.

Joy Santamarina is a consulting principal in the APAC region specializing in the telecommunications, media, and technology industry. Send feedback to

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