Protecting remote sites with automated talk down

Protecting remote sites with automated talk down
The utility industry has the inherent problem of managing a huge number of physical locations and assets across a large geographic expanse. These facilities are often located in remote locations making their protection from theft or safety incidents a challenge. Video systems, including the use of video analytics, have proven to be a very effective means to detect and alarm on such incidents.

However, the ability to accurately detect and notify does not always result in deterrence. Intruders may understand that cameras are present, but ignore the fact that real people are monitoring them or intruders expect that they will have sufficient time before any type of reaction occurs. For utilities, this inability to execute a timely response to the event is often a reality. It may be due to the remoteness of a particular location, limitation in security personnel, or delays from local law enforcement due to high activity. As such, utilities need a means to not only detect, but also deter or delay incidents from occurring without physically deploying security professionals to a location.

The solution

Audio Talk Down is the ability for a security operator to react to a security incident with direct audio. Manual audio talk down has existed in security operation for many years. It enables the operator to inform the detected perpetrator of their monitored state by communicating specific details, such as shirt color, location or current action. In a manual talk down scenario, upon receiving an alarm, the operator manually locates the target with a security camera and then issues live or recorded voice commands at the intruder. This method has proven very effective in deterring intruders; providing a virtual on site presence, even though the operator may be miles away.

However, there are drawbacks with this manual event. Having a live person readily available to perform a talk down is not always feasible or affordable, especially for facilities that may have limited security resources or limited budgets for full time central monitoring. Even with full time monitoring, a person’s ability to react immediately may be delayed due to other circumstances or priorities.

To address this problem, PureTech Systems teamed with its partners to automate audio talk down. The automation combines video analytics with an audio deterrent. Doing so helps address the challenge of responding to remote locations by providing an automatic, or semi-automatic, means of deterring an intruder.

The initial piece of the solution is a perimeter surveillance system that utilizes video analytics to ensure an effective means of intrusion detection. Intelligent video provides several unique advantages over other means of perimeter detection, including the benefit that most video installations allow for alarming before the intrusion actually occurs (e.g. outside the fence). Facility owners are typically less concerned about apprehending the intruder and more concerned about avoiding damage, injury or theft. Understandably, intruders also want to avoid interaction. As such, the earlier they know that they are under surveillance, the more likely it is that they will leave, or at least make short work of their intrusion.

Within the solution, video analytics also provide the ability to understand where the potential intruder is physically located on the property, can classify the target as human, group of humans, vehicle and provide its current course or heading. Using that information, the video analytics software determines when to issue an audio message and which prerecorded audio alert to utilize; pseudo-customizing it to the event. Additionally, camera auto tracking, the ability for the video analytics software to control the pan, tilt and zoom of a camera to keep the intruder centered in the image, provides the ability to maintain visual coverage of the event. This continues without any user intervention until terminated by an operator, or upon reaching a predefined timeout.

Use of a series of outdoor speakers, easily achieves the audio portion of the solution. For larger or advanced installations, an expanded solution includes the option of adding a long-range audio deterrent (e.g. LRAD). An LRAD brings the added functionality of directional audio, whereby the system focuses the audio directly upon the intruder. Using the same camera auto tracking technology controlled via video analytics, applied to the directional LRAD, keeps the directional audio pointed at the target, even when moving. As the name implies, these devices also have the ability to provide additional influence for the intruder to leave the area by asserting very loud, directional, deterrent tones. Options exist, whereby the tones, can physically incapacitate the intruder.

In many cases, video surveillance capability is already present at the remote site. This facilitates several methods to add the intelligent audio talk down capability to an existing surveillance system. For a remote site or a site with limited cameras, a simple video analytics edge device integrates with the existing video management system to intelligently monitor and control all the cameras at the location. For these installations, adding one or more speakers along with a video analytics equipped edge device provides for intelligent automated audio responses. Larger server based installations can augment their capabilities with readily available video analytic software modules and directional LRAD devices as needed.

The results

Audio talk down has proven to be a very effective tool for protecting remote sites and critical assets for many segments, including energy companies and utilities. Adding intelligence though video analytics effectively turns a passive surveillance system into a virtual remote first responder. This capability, achieved with minimal additions to existing video management systems, creates a work force multiplier, which aids remote facilities in reducing or eliminating damage, injury or theft.

The solution results in:
  • Accurate detection rates and low false alarms
  • The ability to detect beyond the perimeter
  • Continuous deterrent action without the need of dedicated man power
  • Range of deterrent levels
  • Viable across a range of budgets
  • Integrates with existing security deployments
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