Keep Out! Protecting the boundaries with network video

Keeping the baddies out is a classic security discipline.

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. One example is Aspen Hills Nature Estate, a luxury residential estate in South Africa, where Axis thermal cameras with wide range coverage effectively stop intruders in their tracks. Even better, the surveillance system is mostly powered by solar energy.

Aspen Hills Nature

The reason for this change? The traditional technologies have obvious and significant limitations. They can’t distinguish between real and false alarms, and they only provide limited detail. For every alert triggered, someone has to inspect the area in question to confirm if there is an actual threat, or a false alarm set off, for instance, by a passing animal. This is not only time consuming, but can eventually lead to more lax security checks.

Enter network cameras.

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.

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 nighttime if there is little or no electric light available.

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

Thermal network cameras do not need any light at all to operate and are an obvious solution to nighttime 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.