Effective perimeter protection without the false alarms

Andrea Sorri

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. 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 motion-sensitive 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.

A combination of surveillance camera technologies

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?

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.

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

Addressing the challenge of low light and large distances

Sometimes, the areas that need to be monitored are vast – think rail yards, bus depots, car parks, harbors 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.

This was the case at the System Truck production plant in Italy. 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.

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. The cameras available on the market today are so sensitive and accurate that they provide a perfect first line of defense. 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.

The beauty of IP-based technologies is that they can be integrated with each other, and with existing security systems. And neither technology nor price put network cameras out of reach for smaller businesses and even private homes. 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.

Read more about Axis’ solution for perimeter protection.

Perimeter Protection