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Accurate and cost-effective outdoor video security

Changing Weather

Designing a surveillance system that is accurate and cost-effective for the outdoors has been a significant challenge for the security industry. However, time-proven technologies are now available that are specifically designed to accurately detect security breaches in a wide range of outdoor environments while addressing the core issue of nuisance alarms. In this article, John Romanowich, CEO of SightLogix, lists some of the typical challenges with outdoor surveillance as well as the security benefits and cost-effectiveness of modern surveillance camera solutions.

Recent advancements in camera sensitivity along with improvements in video processing make newer outdoor video solutions more accurate and surprisingly affordable. With the right approach, not only is security performance greatly increased, overall project costs can be lowered by as much as 50 percent.

Eliminating nuisance alarms with outdoor video analytics

The key to lowering costs in the outdoors is directly related to technology that provides both accuracy and increases operating range. Making intelligent video effective for outdoors requires cameras that employ on-board image processing to address the outdoor variables. Unlike indoor video systems, which are designed to operate in static environments, outdoor analytics must contend with an environment that is constantly changing. Cameras are mounted high on poles which shake from even a slight wind or vibration, causing the camera to move along with the entire scene. Objects such as trees and leaves that flap in the breeze can create the appearance of an intrusion, unless properly addressed with image processing. When you add in snow, rain, humidity and dust, such a dynamic environment can cause havoc for video analytics that lack the image processing to compensate for such conditions. 

Deploying surveillance cameras
with sufficient processing and
analytics eliminates extra servers,
encoders and peripheral equipment


In the past, when indoor video analytic solutions have been misapplied for outdoor security, they have led to such a high rate of false security alarms that they must be “de-tuned” to avoid overwhelming security teams with phantom alerts. This ‘’de-tuning’’ results in a great reduction in camera range and detection accuracy and in some instances these systems lose so much security credibility from nuisance alerts that they’re shut off completely. 

 Surveillance cameras with advanced image processing & video analytics

Placing significant processing power inside the camera itself is the key to overcoming outdoor challenges, making outdoor video detection both accurate and cost effective. Such processing resources make it possible to analyze the full visual detail of every video frame, eliminating all the impediments that would otherwise trigger nuisance alarms. This is accomplished through a high degree of on-board image processing in advance of the analytics, a critical first step for making outdoor video analytics accurate and reliable. Such processing first electronically stabilizes the image to eliminate camera motion as a source of nuisance alerts. Image processing also allows the use of GPS technology to calculate the size, speed and duration of every pixel in the camera’s view to set very accurate size rules. Knowing an object’s true size lets you filter small animals, blowing debris, and trees moving in the breeze from sending alerts, while detecting human-sized intruders very accurately over large areas.

There is a direct economic advantage as well: The same image processing that gives outdoor video systems their detection accuracy also gives them extended range and area coverage. Longer and wider-range cameras mean that fewer are needed to cover large areas, reducing the number of poles, power and communications infrastructure, leading to a substantial project cost savings.  

Just as important is the significant manpower efficiencies that are realized when operators are no longer responding to nuisance alarms. Tying security personnel together with accurate information is the key that unlocks tremendous value for the market.

Applying the right technologies to outdoor video applications can transform the performance and economics of outdoor security. The result is a system that is trusted, accurate, and surprisingly cost efficient.  

John Romanowich John Romanowich


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