Video surveillance – Part 2 of 3

Mixed technologies for effective perimeter security

Whether it’s an industrial plant, a shopping mall, or a complex of villas, knowing what’s going on around you, and stopping potential threats at the boundaries, is important in many settings.

Whether it’s an industrial plant, a shopping mall, or a complex of villas, knowing what’s going on around you, and stopping potential threats at the boundaries, is important in many settings.

How to create a strong perimeter security surveillance solution without generating disturbing false alarms, caused by weather and wind or animals entering the area?

Andrea Sorri, Business Development Manager at Axis Communications with responsibility for Smart Cities, sees a strong combination in intelligent network-based thermal cameras and PTZ cameras in perimeter security applications.

Whether it’s an industrial plant, a shopping mall, or a complex of villas, knowing what’s going on around you, and stopping potential threats at the boundaries, is important in many settings. This is essentially what 24/7 perimeter protection is all about.

Technology mix

The classic barbed wire fence springs to mind, but over the years the security industry has come up with a wide range of technologies for this task, including short distance radar, lasers, ground sensors, motion sensors or motionsensitive fence wires. However, all of these are now increasingly being replaced or complemented by network video cameras.

“Armed with advanced capabilities, these cameras can effectively protect large premises, even in total darkness,” states Andrea Sorri who recommends a mixture of different technologies to optimise the perimeter surveillance.

“In combination with traditional technologies, network cameras form a more intelligent, IP-based perimeter surveillance system. A combination of live thermal video cameras as detection sensors and high-definition video cameras for detail and verification adds important visual information; who or what has triggered the alarm? What kind of activity is going on?”

Works in all conditions

Andrea Sorri claims that with such a vast range of cameras available, they can be set up to be as versatile and high performing as the setting requires.

“Even in difficult light or weather conditions, clear images on live and recorded video footage facilitate the detection and identification of objects, people and incidents. Automated solutions and video analytics software can further reduce the need for human intervention,” he says.

”This combination can be all that is needed to create peace of mind in practice”.

Animal troubles solved

Andrea Sorri gives an example of perimeter security solutions where the combination of network cameras and thermal cameras have been successful.

Faced with increasing security concerns, the Renishaw Hills Estate – a lifestyle village in South Africa – knew that it needed an integrated security solution to keep residents relaxed and safe. A specific issue with the existing solution were false alarms caused by animals attracted to the infrared emitters. Security personnel had to manually verify each of these incidents, leading to frustration and lost time.

They opted for a solution of Axis thermal and pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras to monitor for suspicious activities outside of the security fence at any time of the day, and under all weather conditions.

“In this way, their security team could monitor threats in real-time and improve their efficiencies”, comments Andrea Sorri.

Low light and large distances

Sometimes, the areas that need to be monitored are vast – think rail yards, bus depots, car parks, harbours or the area around an industrial site. Lighting conditions can also be a problem, especially at night-time if there is little or no electric light available.

Luckily, the combination of thermal cameras with intelligent video applications and PTZ dome cameras has proven very effective in handling these challenging environments.

Thermal cameras and radar

Sorri´s second example – System Truck production plant in Italy – confirms this efficiency. The 15,000m2 plant used infrared barriers as a protection system, which were proven inefficient due to the numerous false alarms.

Security personnel had to manually investigate every alarm to verify whether an actual threat was present, again leading to lost time. In addition, the existing solution lacked the range to properly protect the entire company perimeter.

To address these issues, a custom-made solution of Axis thermal and radar cameras was used to detect intruders across a wide area under low lighting conditions, ultimately improving the efficiency of the protection system including a significant reduction in the number of false alarms.

“Thermal network cameras do not need any light at all to operate and are an obvious solution to night-time monitoring. Even in broad daylight, they are useful in detecting people or objects that are obscured by deep shadows”, states Andrea Sorri.

The cameras available on the market today are so sensitive and accurate that they provide a perfect first line of defence, according to Andrea Sorri.

“A thermal camera equipped with video analytics can be configured so that when it ‘sees’ a suspicious event, it automatically directs a second, PTZ camera to point and zoom in to the right place and provide live HDTV video of the situation,” he explains.

Scalable and flexible

Andrea Sorris emphasises what he considers the beauty of IP-based technologies, namely that they can be integrated with each other, and with existing security systems.

“The versatility of these cameras, in combination with the many available video analytics applications, makes these systems flexible, scalable and cost efficient. Cutting the effort and stress caused by false alarms, and providing greater peace of mind,” concludes Andrea Sorri

Note: This editorial article has primarily been produced for the security trade magazine Detektor in collaboration with SecurityUser.com.

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