Using video analytics and thermal imaging to enhance perimeter security

Using video analytics and thermal imaging to enhance perimeter security
Perimeter security breaches around the world are growing. As part of a comprehensive perimeter security system, video surveillance cameras armed with thermal imaging and built-in video analytics could play a crucial role in keeping an eye out for possible intruders.

Increased technological developments in video surveillance was named as one of the factors fueling demand for perimeter security systems and services, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. However, intruders have been long exploiting the technological weaknesses of traditional security cameras — this includes camera blind spots and general human error. 

To combat these weaknesses, the industry has been pursuing two approaches: “First, video content analysis (VCA) helps effectively close the loopholes created by human error and trigger automated alarms upon detecting intruders. And second, the shortcomings of visible light cameras can be overcome by thermal imaging cameras — detecting the heat signatures of intruders — in devices that have become more powerful and affordable in recent years,” said Dmitry Rybakov, Product Marketing Manager for EMEA at Bosch Security and Safety Systems

In order to truly make a difference, VCA and thermal imaging cameras need to work together. “Without thermal camera image capture under extreme conditions such as rain, smoke and glare, even the most powerful content analysis algorithms have no chance of detecting intruders exploiting camera blind spots. And without the aid of VCA, thermal imaging cameras are reduced to becoming one more screen in the control room that becomes largely unmonitored in a matter of minutes and subject to human error. So only the combination of analytics and thermal images closes loopholes for intruders,” Rybakov explained. 

As a result, companies like Bosch have developed thermal cameras with built-in intelligent video analytics, such as the company’s DINION IP thermal 8000. In a perimeter security setting, thermal cameras like Bosch’s can help security operators by providing the most relevant image data possible. Although thermal cameras are not a replacement for visible light cameras, used in tandem, such a pairing could provide maximum situational awareness and early object detection to site operators. 

“By adding thermal cameras powered by intelligent video analytics to their perimeter security solutions, customers may never miss a potential threat and can retrieve the correct data quickly, however extreme the conditions,” Rybakov said.

Most popular sensor choices 

Advances in sensor technology are also expected to drive future perimeter security growth; however, sensors from fence-mounted to vibration to thermal are already some of the most popular items in the perimeter market. 

“Fence-mounted sensors in general have seen growth over the past few years,”Stewart Dewar, Product Manager at Senstar, said. “This is a result of technological advances, which includes more advanced software algorithms that reduce nuisance alarm rates and provide improved location accuracy. With these improvements, fence-mounted sensors are now seen as a better option than they used to be.” 

The integration of fence sensors with other systems, such as intelligent lighting, is also enabling new function¬ality and applications. “For example, intelligent lighting can react to intrusions by adjusting the intensity or strobing in the affected zones or even individual luminaire, augmenting both deterrence and assessment capabilities,” Dewar added. 

Ribak named vibration sensor cables for fences and seismic detectors for underground as another type of sensor gaining popularity — both as kits can be connected to a standard alarm system or video surveillance system. 

Thermal sensors, radar sensors, laser scan sensors and image sensing (e.g., VCA) have also made gains in the last few years, according to Tsuji. “These detectors provide not only alarm trigger information but also size, direction, speed information and increase affinity and functionality together with video surveillance camera management systems,” he added. 

Keeping future intruders out 

As long as terrorism remains a threat, the global perimeter security market will continue to grow. Luckily, as technology continues to get better and smarter it is also becoming more affordable, and, therefore, more accessible to a wider variety of verticals.
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