Lower price points, among other key factors, is giving rise to the use of thermal cameras across a range of markets and applications.
Using thermal cameras, in conjunction with other alarm sensors, offers an interlocking web of video tools for intrusion detection, alarm verification and forensic evidence gathering.
A true end-to-end perimeter intrusion detection system requires an advanced, multilayered solution. It is essential that this system be easy to use and capable of not only defending against attacks, but also helping security personnel proactively anticipate an event before it occurs.
One notable technology that is being increasingly deployed in perimeter applications across all sectors is thermal imaging. By utilizing thermal cameras, facilities can detect intruders from greater distances regardless of light and environmental factors, giving security forces more time to react and respond.
Considering the Value Proposition
The value of thermal security cameras is that they generate images from heat, not light. This enables thermal imagers to provide a clear visual in complete darkness and see through obscurants like smoke, dust and light fog. For this reason, thermal imaging is one of the most effective 24/7 surveillance technologies on the market today.
Another advantage of thermal cameras is that they are cost-effective perimeter solutions. While traditional fiber optics and fence detection systems require extensive cabling, thermal cameras can be mounted on existing infrastructure, reducing installation time. Additionally, thermal cameras see in low-light or no-light scenarios, eliminating the need for lighting poles and external illuminators. All of these factors result in a significant cost-savings for the integrator and end user.
Fortunately, for end users thermal cameras have become more affordable in recent years. Only a few decades ago, thermal imaging was solely a commercially developed, military-qualified technology that few entities had the capital to deploy. However, increased demand and expanding production has led to lower price points for thermal solutions, making the technology more accessible for critical infrastructure applications.
Detection & Analytics Overview
Using thermal cameras, in conjunction with other alarm sensors, offers an interlocking web of video tools for intrusion detection, alarm verification and forensic evidence gathering. By combining thermal cameras with sophisticated sensor control and video management software (VMS), facility managers can create what is known as a virtual “Thermal Fence” to deter trespassing.
Thermal fences use data obtained from sensors, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and radar, to identify and classify objects that have entered a designated area without authorization. This analytic tool is ideal for applications like airports, which cover large distances, or seaports, which are unable to have physical fences or barriers.
Today, thermal cameras embedded with military-grade analytics provide instant detection of persons, vehicles and other objects. Thermal’s unique ability to provide high contrast imaging, regardless of light or environment, allows for high performance video analytics. This results in highly accurate triggers for tripwires, exclusion zones, and temperature alarms, providing a much lower rate of false alarms.
Solutions such as these not only bolster situational awareness, but also act as a force multiplier, increasing monitoring coverage and efficiency with less physical staff.
Using Drone-Based Thermal
Another innovative way to use thermal technology to enhance perimeter awareness is through drone-based thermal camera surveillance. Utilizing remote controlled drones equipped with thermal sensors extends surveillance beyond the point of fixed cameras, allowing security teams to survey fence lines, towers, bridges, substations, and buildings.
Additionally, trip wires and virtual barriers set by video analytics can trigger drone flight through VMS software and track suspicious activity. The industry should expect to see more deployments of aerial devices with thermal sensors in the near future.
Experts throughout the industry agree that thermal security cameras are the optimal choice for 24-hour surveillance and intrusion detection. Additionally, the high-quality of thermal products in the marketplace accompanied by the knowledge of thermal technology will continue to mature, and thermal camera imaging should find its way into even more applications in the years ahead.
Six Benefits of Thermal Imaging Cameras
Thermal imaging cameras are an integral component in effectively securing borders, airports, seaports, critical infrastructure, and more.
Thermal cameras let people see what their eyes can’t: invisible heat radiation emitted by all objects regardless of lighting conditions. Some of the greatest benefits of thermal imaging come in the domain of security. Security cameras have become a staple of protection for many (if not all) major businesses across the country, and in such a landscape, the need to produce quality images is critical to provide constant protection against potential intruders.
1. Low-Light Scenarios
When cameras are monitoring the perimeter of a building, they often must deal with low light scenarios (for example, during nighttime hours). This is an area in which thermal imaging cameras can truly shine.
2. Immune to Visual limitations
Visible cameras, much like our eyes, often have trouble seeing through naturally occurring visual obscurants that block reflected light. However, because thermal radiation passes through these visual barriers, thermal cameras can see what going on where visible cameras cannot.
3. Camouflaging Foliage
Regular cameras that capture only visible light can be fooled, in some cases, by visual camouflage, or in situations where similar colors or patterns blend together. This can make objects or people that need to be detected unobservable.
4. Fewer False Alarms
Thermal imaging cameras often prove cost-effective in a business protection scenario, because they help reduce the number of false alarms. This is accomplished using advanced analytics software that can perform at its highest caliber with the high contrast images and video that thermal provides.
5. Higher Return on Investment
Thermal Imaging cameras are a very affordable option for many businesses that want to ensure they have the best security and protection solution on the market today. The total cost of ownership of a security system with thermal imaging cameras is, in general, much lower than other security systems
For example, due to their incredible range performance, fewer thermal imaging cameras are required on projects than would be needed with the use of visible cameras. Additionally, most cameras cannot see beyond 200 meters at night and require supplementary lighting, which can be very costly in itself to install and maintain.
6. Powerful Video Analytics
Analytics for video surveillance can be simply described as processing on a digital image that utilizes pre-determined algorithms in an attempt to automatically identify objects or activities of interest. Unfortunately, problems concerning the reliability of analytics can occur when using visible cameras when there is fluctuation in lighting, low-light conditions, or common natural occurrences such as wind, precipitation or the presence of insects, especially at night. Thermal imaging cameras’ high contrast video output minimizes these normally troublesome issues, and with the same analytics, provide higher reliability, significantly reducing false alarms.
Source: SecuritySales Magazine & SecurityMagazine