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Opinion Piece: Safety and security go hand-in-hand with visibility for effective perimeter protection

By Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies

In security, the significance of visibility cannot be overstated. However, the biggest issue in gaining visibility over a perimeter through CCTV surveillance lies in the lighting conditions of the area to be monitored. This is because conventional CCTV cameras (even the ultra-high definition cameras) require sufficient light to capture a usable image. Previously such lighting dependency could only be solved with the installation of spotlights to provide adequate lighting at night for surveillance cameras to be able to function.

As thermal cameras have come down in price and increased in availability, these devices have shown they have what it takes to eliminate all the traditional headaches associated with perimeter protection through video surveillance, especially with the addition of intelligent video analytics to the technology mix. Gaining visibility over a large perimeter is exponentially easier with thermal cameras, as such cameras are not dependent on light for imaging. Working rather on thermals, these cameras can present an image regardless of the weather conditions, always ensuring total visibility. When combined with the power of video analytics, it becomes possible to automatically detect perimeter threats and distribute alerts in real time.

In addition, artificial intelligence in the analytics can positively identify and protect against intrusion with up to 98% accuracy and can differentiate between animals, humans and vehicles, this is clearly a smart choice to make to unlock true visibility and ensure efficiency for perimeter security.

More visibility, more control with technology

Once the physical perimeter has been established, it becomes important to do a risk assessment of the property or business that needs to be secured to determine the level of security required. For access control points, CCTV monitoring and surveillance can be used to visually identify people, here, it is advisable to use ultra-high definition or also know as ‘4K’ cameras.

To bring visibility to the rest of the perimeter, thermal cameras will play a vital role. Thermal cameras are military-spec and can work both in total darkness and day light. These cameras can penetrate through dust, smoke and any adverse weather conditions with an effective detection range of up to 1km, depending on the lens used. Best of all, using thermal cameras can reduce the overall number of cameras required in a surveillance set up, given their extensive range.

Making perimeter surveillance more effective, video analytics is a critical component in ensuring the efficiency of the security control room, as it is now possible to use a computer or analytics engine to do a most of the work that a human would have done in the past. Monitoring live feeds from CCTV cameras is now much more reliable with the addition of an analytics engine, which delivers real-time incident alerts and fewer false alarms.

Visibility that doesn’t rely on the human eye

Video analytics enable what is essentially “blank screen monitoring”, in that the analytics system will give notifications of risks according to specific rules set up. Allowing the operator to minimise the labour that goes into 24/7 surveillance with sophisticated algorithms and pixel-by-pixel analysis that enables video analytics to pick up on the smallest of details. Video analytics also removes the scope for human error and by automating many of the functions previously performed by humans, makes the surveillance element of perimeter security far more dependable. The software gives the response team the benefit of knowing exactly where along the perimeter a threat has presented, which can make all the difference for reaction time and appropriate response especially where a perimeter stretches over many kilometres.

Where the perimeter necessitates an even higher level of visibility, this is made possible using live surveillance cameras in patrol vehicles (the same as is used in cash-in-transit vans) and can even extend to wearable CCTV tactical jackets, which enables the control room to see exactly what the guard on patrol does, to send backup if necessary. Such wearable CCTV jackets, capable of transmitting low-bitrate live footage with GPS tracking functionality will also serve to ensure that ensure that guards carry out their duties according to set procedures or policies with the ability to monitor their performance from a central station.

Manage and monitor risks with visibility

The key to achieving safety and security depends on unlocking complete visibility of the perimeter to be secured. This can be done through a combination of 4K cameras for access control points, and thermal cameras to secure the remainder of the perimeter in all weather and lighting conditions. To maximise the benefits of both types of cameras and ensure that the perimeter is monitored intelligently 24/7, it is important to have the necessary video analytics platform to automate feed monitoring and risk alerts to ensure that security resources are not wasted on a constant stream of false alarms.  Furthermore, intelligent technology helps to eliminate the possibility of human error, making the entire perimeter security operations more effective and reliable than ever before.

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