Laser scanning technology is highly accurate and can be configured for both indoor and outdoor environments

When it comes to protecting buildings and property, traditional methods of security—such as structural barriers, security guards, and security cameras—have their limitations.  Advanced laser scanning technology can overcome many of these limitations and provide a safe, reliable, and easy-to-use solution.

Overview of laser scanning technology

Laser scanning technology for building security applications utilises the time-of-flight method, in which a sensor emits a pulse that is then reflected by a target, if present.  The time required for the pulse to travel between the sensor and the reflector and back again is proportional to the distance.  The longer the time required, the greater the distance.  Essentially, a laser scanner works like radar but uses light instead of radio waves to scan the area.  In security applications, the laser scanner measures these pulse reflections in order to quickly and accurately detect intrusions into a protected area. 

Configured with other security tools and software, laser scanning technology can provide timely, automatic responses to a security threat. For example, a laser scanner can be integrated with auto-tracking cameras. If an intrusion is detected, the camera will automatically follow the intruder as they move through the protected area, keeping the intruder in sight and allowing for more accurate identification of the threat.  Another frequent configuration is GPS mapping, which can be used to display and track the location of the threat on a building blueprint or property map using GPS coordinates.  

Benefits of laser scanning for security solutions

Laser scanners are safe—with a Class 1 Eye Safety rating—so they will not harm people or animals in the monitored area.  The safety and invisibility of laser scanners make them a sensible choice for high traffic areas such as indoor retail applications

While laser scanning technology can be used for multiple applications, it is especially suited for perimeter protection because it is highly accurate and can be configured for both indoor and outdoor environments.

Advanced laser scanning is not only safe and inconspicuous, but the technology also boasts many unique features that save both time and money.  Some of the most significant features of laser scanning technology include: its ability to filter out environmental conditions, which saves time and expense by preventing false alarms due to rain or other conditions; a level of flexibility that makes it suitable for indoor and outdoor applications and also situations requiring portable application; and its usability in that it can be quickly and easily configured to any security need.   

These key benefits, described in more detail below, make laser scanning technology a powerfully cost-effective and time-saving solution, set apart from other security solutions which are often not as reliable, versatile, or user-friendly. 

Laser scanning safety and invisibility

Laser scanning technology is ideal as a security solution because it is invisible, allowing for inconspicuous monitoring of an area for intrusions.  More importantly, laser scanners are also safe—with a Class 1 Eye Safety rating—so they will not harm people or animals in the monitored area.  The safety and invisibility of laser scanners make them a sensible choice for high traffic areas such as indoor retail applications.  

Laser scanners deliver high level of accuracy even in a range of adverse conditions—such as rain, snow, glare, or low light—that often negatively impact the reliability of other perimeter security solutions

Immunity to weather conditions

A valuable and cost-effective benefit of laser scanning is its high level of accuracy even in a range of adverse conditions—such as rain, snow, glare, or low light—that often negatively impact the reliability of other perimeter security solutions.  In contrast, laser scanning technology mitigates possible interferences using multi-echo technology, ensuring reliability regardless of weather conditions and minimising false alarms, saving time and money. 

Multi-echo technology works because part of the energy from a pulse of the laser scanner may be reflected by nearby objects like raindrops or dust, while the remainder of the beam continues to propagate and is reflected by the actual object. Laser scanners with multi-echo technology are then able to evaluate these multiple “echoes” and ignore the closer, weaker reflections caused by the environmental factors.  This effectively cancels out the noise and prevents false alarms.

In addition to multi-echo technology, laser scanners can be outfitted with filters to prevent the scanners from being dazzled by sunlight.  Filters can also be applied to block out certain sections of a monitored area (for example, blocking out a road so that passing cars do not trip the alarm.) 

Immunity to weather conditions and the ability to cancel out ambient activity is essential for outdoor security applications, for example, perimeter protection of a public building.  Especially for these outdoor environments, it is also necessary to note the importance of a high environmental rating.  For example, an IP 67 rating will ensure the reliably of the laser scanner even after it is completely immersed in water. 

Portability for expanded applications

Not only does laser scanning technology provide peace of mind with reliable intrusion detection and true situational awareness, laser scanning for perimeter protection is also an economical solution, eliminating costly false alarms and easily adapting to any security need

Another unique advantage of laser scanning technology that other solutions lack is its portability. This allows laser scanners to be configured for temporary, portable perimeter protection.  For example, as the need for airplane security has increased in recent years, it has become essential to develop movable security solutions to protect parked aircrafts.  Laser scanners can be configured around the perimeter of the aircraft, almost like safety cones, to protect the idle aircraft from intrusions.

Ease of use

No matter how reliable or advanced a security solution’s functionality may be, it is not a workable solution unless it is usable.  Fortunately, laser scanning technology combines both functionality and usability. A high quality laser scanner will allow for one-touch teach-in, permitting a user to set up perimeter protection literally at the touch of a button.

Conclusion

Where other security solutions fall short, laser scanning technology is a clear winner.  Not only does laser scanning technology provide peace of mind with reliable intrusion detection and true situational awareness, laser scanning for perimeter protection is also an economical solution, eliminating costly false alarms and easily adapting to any security need.

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Trygve Behny Sales and Marketing Manager, Security and Building Automation, SICK, Inc.

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