Xanadu opts for thermal perimeter

Residential Estate Security Handbook 2016 - Vol 1 Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Xanadu Nature Estate is set on 240 hectares of North West Province terrain overlooking the picturesque Magaliesberg mountain range. The estate sports walking trails, green belt parks and bird hideouts to ensure the tranquillity and enjoyment of life on the estate.

Today the estate is surrounded by 7,4 km of perimeter fencing which was protected by a combination of cameras. However, Christo Wentzel, the Xanadu security trustee for the past six years says the maintenance costs of the existing security cameras were rising and there were some gaps in the perimeter defences that needed to be covered.

The estate therefore decided to replace its perimeter cameras with 38 FLIR thermal cameras. The thermals were supplied by Timeless Technologies and installed by 4C Technology. The cameras are connected to a fibre optic network cable that runs around the perimeter of the estate, linking security operations to the control room.

Wentzel explains that when looking at which technology to use for the new perimeter surveillance project, Xanadu examined many options. In the end, it settled on FLIR thermals because of the quality of the technology and due to the fact that these thermals are used in police and military operations, testifying to their reliability.

Thermal imaging also operates as effectively in the dark as well as during the day, and analytical software has progressed to such an extent that thermals can easily detect movement over long distances, even small movements such as people crawling or trying to hide from the cameras. And it does this without assistance from guards or operators.

In the past, Xanadu assigned guards to monitor the areas along the perimeter where there was no camera coverage. However, Wentzel says the guards have limited vision at night, especially as there are no lights to assist. The thermals don’t have this problem.

The number of false alarms the control room receives has also declined since opting for FLIR thermals with motion detection. The control room in Xanadu works on a black screen approach, where operators are only alerted when the analytics software detects movement and displays a message on the screen. Wentzel says the number of alerts generated with the new thermals declined from 3200 to 300. This is a significant number of false alarms the security team used to have to deal with.

The management software Xanadu has installed is able to learn as it goes, meaning it quickly understands the difference between an animal and a human, or branches moved by the wind. The system can also track cars driving on the dirt road outside the estate’s perimeter, but does not report each vehicle it sees. Only once a vehicle has stopped and crosses the estate’s virtual boundary line will the system raise an alert.

The virtual boundary is just outside the second of two fences that make up the perimeter of the estate, one of which is completely electrified. The reason for the double perimeter is to act as a deterrent to would-be intruders. The Xanadu response team has been set up so that it can be at any point on the perimeter within two minutes of the alarm being raised, meaning the fence has to keep them busy for two minutes.

With about 500 households on the estate and room for more, Xanadu’s security team is ensuring its residents are able to enjoy estate life to the fullest by making full use of technology to support its guarding service.

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