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What to know when selecting a thermal camera

What to know when selecting a thermal camera
Over the years, thermal cameras have become popular in several verticals. From border surveillance and defense forces to industrial manufacturing and even health care, customers now use thermal cameras in some way or the other. With the recent issue of Corona Virus, thermal cameras have become an integral unit in airports and commercial spaces too. 
But unlike regular cameras, not many customers are aware of certain key factors that they need to consider when selecting a thermal camera. This is mainly because thermal cameras are still a relatively new concept for many security customers. And since they capture something that the naked eye cannot see, at least some of them feel that the technology is too complicated to understand. 
So here's a brief look at some of the significant factors to consider when buying a thermal camera. 

1. Temperature range

Thermal cameras have a range within which they can detect temperature. You should purchase a camera that would meet your temperature needs. For example, the cameras used at airports now are for human temperature monitoring. Hence their range just needs to include the highest and lowest points that a human body can sustain. However, in the industrial segment, the temperature may be higher. 

2. Accuracy

Thermal imaging cameras are often not just to detect higher or lower temperatures but also the calculate the differences. This means that the readings should be as accurate as possible. Most top-end cameras provide a +/- 2 percent accuracy. The distance at which the camera can maintain this accuracy is also critical. 
Kevin Cheng
Senior Manager of Sales and Marketing
 3S System Technology

"In border surveillance, our thermal camera can accurately detect the people or object more than 150 meters away," said Kevin Cheng, Senior Manager for Sales and Marketing at 3S System Technology. "The camera can also detect people with high temperature fast, with an error rate of just +/-0.3 degree Celsius."

3. Resolution 

Thermal cameras tend to have lower resolution compared to their regular counterparts, and hence this should be an essential consideration before purchase. The size of the area you need to capture and the nature of the target will decide the resolution you need. If you need to capture small objects in detail, high-resolution cameras will be necessary. 

4. Durability

Customers who use thermal cameras are often those who manage outdoor or rugged environments. Border security, for instance, requires cameras that can work in relatively more adverse conditions than those in urban areas. Similarly, cameras in the oil and gas segment would need to withstand the harsh conditions at a refinery, rig, etc.
Hence, the durability of the camera is an essential factor to consider. 

5. Cybersecurity  

Developments in IP has enabled thermal cameras to connect with other network devices and be part of the IT infrastructure. However, this naturally gives rise to cybersecurity concerns. This issue received much attention during the US-China trade war, which saw the US banning several Chinese companies citing cybersecurity concerns. 
The US government also used the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to mandate federal agencies and their grant or loan recipients to use only devices that are compliant with the act. You will need to find companies that provide NDAA compliant products. Solutions from 3S are NDAA compliant, making them usable in government projects. 
"High-sensitivity locations like national borders, manufacturing segments, and health care often, where information security would be a major consideration need thermal cameras," said Cheng. "3S is providing thermal cameras with NDAA compliance for such highly sensitive environments."

6. Image comparison

In certain situations, you might need to use a camera that can provide both thermal as well as visible cameras to compare the conditions better. If this is necessary, you may consider solutions that have both technologies infused into a single device. This is easier than having two separate devices for thermal and regular video recording. 
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Product Adopted:
Network Cameras

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