Video analytics are a valuable tool to protect outdoor assets either at the perimeter or around critical assets. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when deploying smart cameras for outdoor security.
Choose video analytics specifically designed for outdoor use
Smart cameras operate by sensing movement, but outdoors everything moves, including the camera itself. A camera mounted on a bridge will move from the vibration of cars, trucks or trains, while cameras mounted on a pole will move from wind, aircraft taking off or other factors. In all cases, cameras need electronic stabilization to maintain a high probability of detection without nuisance alerts from these vibrations. Further, smart camera need to ignore stray movement caused trees and foliage, blowing debris or reflections from the water while detecting intrusions anywhere in the field of view.
Use thermal cameras instead of visible cameras
Thermal cameras will ignore stray headlights and reflected light, and eliminate the expense, power and difficulty of lighting large outdoor perimeters. New thermal cameras have clearer images that look more like a black and white video, and the prices have come down significantly making them affordable for mainstream use.
GPS analytics for accuracy
Using GPS analytics allows you to know the location and actual size of all objects in the field of view. This is the basis for size filters that accurately detect what’s relevant and ignore objects that don’t meet your size criteria.
Make sure the camera can withstand the elements
Outdoor cameras can be nitrogen pressurized and sealed to handle temperature changes and keep out humidity, snow or even blowing sand.
Determine an analytics camera’s true detection range
The best way to determine a perimeter camera’s true detection range is the distance at which a camera can detect an intruder walking “inbound” or directly toward the camera. In fact, crossfield detection is often twice the distance of inbound detection ranges. Sometimes vendors only publish crossfield detection resulting in designs that leave large security gaps. Ask your manufacturer to demonstrate their inbound detection range to avoid gaps. (SightLogix only publishes inbound detection ranges for our smart cameras.)
Use overlapping camera views to avoid blind spots
All cameras have a “blind spot” under the pole. This area must be viewed by an adjacent camera to ensure no gaps in security. To provide complete coverage, be sure to cover perimeter camera blind spots.
Longer range cameras lower costs
A majority of a perimeter security solution’s costs relate to supporting infrastructure: Poles, cabling, connectivity and power. Long-range thermal cameras cover more area with fewer devices, lowering costs.
A version of this article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of SD&I magazine.