Combining better thermal images with video analytics drives new levels of cost-effectiveness
Thermal cameras with video analytics detect with great accuracy in bright sun,
fog, rain and other conditions

Smart thermal cameras are rapidly becoming the intruder detection solution of choice for securing outdoor assets. Whether for smaller-range applications like protecting entranceways or gates, or securing large perimeters around energy, utility, chemical, or transportation assets, thermal cameras paired with video analytics offer an accurate detection solution that provides instant notifications in real time.

Thermal video incites speedy response

A number of automated detection technologies including coax and fibre fence sensors, microwave, seismic sensors and radar can provide a level of intruder detection. However, smart thermal cameras combined with video analytics provide substantial advantages over these alternatives. One advantage is speed, which is so important when trying to stop an intruder. Only video provides the detail to display and record the “what and where” of an alert without need for additional verification systems. Knowing the size, location and nature of an event as it unfolds is the best way to mobilise a fast response.

Thermal solutions reduce nuisance alerts

Another advantage for thermal solutions is accuracy. When an intruder strikes, triggered alerts must be believable and actionable. Nuisance alerts completely undermine your security system. This is where smart thermal cameras excel. Thermal cameras are a perfect “human detector” for the outdoors because they sense the heat of objects within their field of view, while ignoring the lighting challenges that cause nuisance alerts for visible detection cameras (like headlights or reflections off water).

Exceptional day/night surveillance

While thermal cameras have long been known for “seeing in the dark,” today’s more advanced thermal cameras also show tremendous advantages during daylight applications, which had once been a real challenge. For example, during the day, a person can be cooler than the background, as pavement, buildings and other infrastructure absorb heat from the sun. When the scene background temperature becomes uniform in a given area, the result for older generation thermal cameras was an image with large areas that look “whited out” and undefined, leaving intruders to go undetected.

Now, through advancements in thermal imager sensitivity, along with a greatly increased level of onboard video processing, thermal cameras with video analytics can detect with great accuracy in bright sun, fog, rain and other conditions. These capabilities have expanded the usefulness of thermal cameras from their traditional role as “night vision” cameras to 24-hour intruder detection solutions.

Fewer cameras are needed to protect the same location, reducing the infrastructure and thereby lowering overall project costs
Smart thermal cameras can differentiate the heat from moving humans and animals
from the changes of heat and light in the environment, resulting in fewer
‘nuisance’ alarms

Smart detection and analytics

Smart thermal cameras also provide an excellent option for applications which require “detect and assess” functionality. Some smart thermal cameras can automatically control a PTZ camera to zoom onto a detected target, giving an up close view of the alarm so it can be quickly classified. By combing thermal detection with automatically steered PTZs, you gain complete situational awareness over the entire perimeter.

Combining better thermal images with video analytics drives new levels of cost-effectiveness as well. The same image processing used to create better thermal images during the day can also provide more information for making video analytics more reliable. Today’s smart thermal solutions can provide reliable intruder detection regardless of wind, weather or the movement of small animals, trees or blowing trash. Such a system delivers the necessary “security awareness” around the perimeter and internal site assets needed for even the highest level of security reliability.

Cost-effective perimeter security

While perimeter protection is essential to critical infrastructure security, it’s obviously more expensive to protect an entire perimeter than a smaller section. As a result, many sites which are unable to secure funding for a comprehensive perimeter detection system will often stick with whatever system they have in place, regardless of how susceptible it may be to nuisance alarms or how limited its ability to provide reliable detection.

Given this reality, in situations where budgetary limitations simply won’t allow for systems that protect the entire perimeter, an emerging approach focuses on securing the most vulnerable areas within the perimeter using accurate thermal detection solutions first, and then expanding to cover more of the perimeter as budgets allow.  Such a strategy limits detection to specific, vulnerable areas. Rather than the entire perimeter, often consisting of miles of fencing, you can start with defined areas where the most critical incidents may occur. For example, you can start by protecting main gates or entranceways first, solving their most important outdoor security problems quickly and affordably.

This is where recent innovations play a big role. Today, a single smart thermal camera can detect intruders with great accuracy over huge areas covering hundreds of square metres. In this way, sites can immediately address their security challenges with great effectiveness for the cost of a few cameras. Fewer cameras are needed to protect the same location, reducing the infrastructure like poles, power and communications otherwise needed, lowering overall project costs accordingly.

Providing cost-effective outdoor security is a common need among security professionals tasked with protecting critical assets. Thermal cameras can see more, detect more and operate 24-hours per day, providing clearer images and more accurate alerts for trusted situational awareness. Rounding out the benefits, lower costs open up new opportunities to improve protection of critical assets in any environmental condition.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

In case you missed it

Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organisations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months.   More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behaviour of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education programme. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices of employees.

How does audio enhance security system performance?
How does audio enhance security system performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems? 

How have standards changed the security market?
How have standards changed the security market?

A standard is a document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and/or practices. Standards surround every aspect of our business. For example, the physical security marketplace is impacted by industry standards, national and international standards, quality standards, building codes and even environmental standards, to name just a few. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have standards changed the security market as we know it?