Integration: the differentiating ­factor

August 2015 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

With the plethora of technology available on the market today, users must feel like they are sifting through a haystack, and perimeter security systems are no exception.

Gus Brecher, Cathexis Africa.
Gus Brecher, Cathexis Africa.

According to Gus Brecher, managing director of Cathexis Africa, the requirements for a perimeter intrusion detection system (PIDS) are generally very similar across most environments and, in principle, extremely logical. “The difference in requirements for a mining application and a housing estate for example, is really only limited to the environment, the degree of the threat, the accuracy and reliability of the detection, and the actions that are required upon detection of a perimeter breach,” he says.

“In other words, the choice of technology really lies in the finer details of what you are trying to achieve and the environment in which the products are to be deployed,” adds Brecher.

There is one common thread across all the perimeter protection solutions though, and that is the fact that surveillance cameras dramatically enhance the solution by providing visual reference related to the perimeter alarms that are triggered by the chosen solution.

Also, regardless of whether you are using electric fences, fibre fence detectors, radar, thermal cameras with video analytics, infra-red beams, sub-dermal detection, or any of the other technologies out there, there is a decision to be taken directly correlating with the trigger that is received from the perimeter technology.

“Without a decent surveillance solution, your control room is really operating blind, and relying on the deployment of guards to the activated zones,” he says. “This is not really effective as any perpetrators would be long gone by the time the guards arrived at the supposed location of breach.”

Having said this, Brecher believes that there are still too many installations that are using a combination of PIDS and CCTV only to find that their control room is still ineffective. The reason for this is because the two systems are running independently of one another without an integrated decision-making process.

The questions one needs to ask here are:

• What do you do with the information that you receive?

• How do you create an effective, efficient, repeatable environment?

• How do you associate the events from your PIDS with your other technology on site?

If you look at an ‘un-integrated solution’, it’s easy to see where the process might fall short:

1. The operator receives an alarm from the PIDS, which informs him of a possible intrusion at a specific zone on the PIDS.

2. The operator now needs to work out which cameras to look at that may be related to that specific zone.

3. To make matters worse, if the site is using PTZ cameras, the operator now needs to move the PTZ camera to the correct area.

The reliance on the operator to make the decisions and find the right cameras to look at is a recipe for errors and, possibly, disaster. If you now integrate the systems, the process looks more like this:

1. The operator receives an alarm from the PIDS, which informs him of a possible intrusion at a specific zone on the PIDS.

2. The system automatically switches the relevant camera to the relevant monitor.

3. If the camera is a PTZ, the camera is automatically moved to the correct pre-set position.

“From the two scenarios illustrated above it therefore, makes far more sense that an integrated approach makes for a far more reliable, effective environment for your perimeter intrusion detection system,” says Brecher. “The technology must, of course, be appropriately suited to the environment, but that’s a discussion for another day,” he concluded.

For more information contact Cathexis Africa, +27(0)31 240 0800,,


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