Surveillance has become part and parcel of the vast majority of security solutions today, as it is an essential tool in the fight to minimise the impact of crime. A surveillance solution can help organisations, both public and private sector, to more effectively detect and deter criminals, prevent crimes from happening, and provide evidence after the fact should a crime occur.
These benefits are well understood, however many public sector, government and parastatal organisations face a significant challenge when it comes to effective surveillance. These organisations often have large premises and subsequently sprawling perimeters, which must be monitored to prevent unauthorised entry, and standard CCTV solutions are often not up to the job. Thermal imaging cameras, with the addition of intelligent analytics, offer the ideal solution, providing visuals of entire perimeters and long-range views in all weather and lighting conditions for effective surveillance in any conditions.
The lighting conditions of the area to be monitored can have a significant effect on the quality of images produced by the cameras. Regular CCTV requires the right levels of ambient lighting to produce usable images, which means that during the hours of darkness, security vulnerabilities can occur in areas where additional lighting cannot be provided. Even in areas where additional light is available, this vulnerability can be exploited by disabling the light sources, which is one reason why the majority of crimes occur at night. In addition, bright lights such as car headlights can obscure images, making them unusable. Furthermore, weather has an impact on the effectiveness of standard CCTV, with conditions such as heavy rainfall, fog and smoke obstructing the camera’s view.
Thermal imaging cameras are the perfect solution to these problems, as they operate not by direct visual but by detecting the heat signatures generated by people and objects and using this to generate a picture of the environment. This means that thermal imaging is just as effective at night as it is during the day, and is unaffected by bright lights, inclement weather and adverse environmental conditions. In addition, military-grade thermal imaging cameras have low power requirements and multiple lens options, and have a range of up to 2 kilometres, depending on the lens used, making them ideal for use in surveying and monitoring large perimeters or even for reducing the total number of cameras required in a CCTV setup.
To extend the effectiveness of thermal imaging, intelligent video analytics can be used to detect threats and distribute alerts in real time, triggering alarms when exceptions in the images occur. For example, video analytics technology is able to positively identify intrusion with up to 98% accuracy and can differentiate between animals, humans and vehicles. With the knowledge of the nature and exact location of a perimeter alarm, security personnel can respond more quickly and effectively. Smart analytics can also be used for access control and to enforce no-go zones, as alarms can be programmed to trigger should non-compliant behaviour be detected. Other suspicious behaviours such as loitering can be automatically detected and alerted. With the ability to learn from prior events, smart analytics can also minimise the number of false alarms over time for a more efficient response to events and more effective crime detection and prevention.
Thermal imaging cameras can easily be integrated into existing CCTV solutions to augment standard solutions with powerful visuals in any conditions. Leveraging the power of analytics, organisations can be assured of effective surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the time of day, the lighting or the weather. This is ideal for securing large perimeters and detecting and preventing unauthorised access as well as criminal elements.
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