When using a video solution, it’s important to consider whether you need video security or video surveillance. While both play a role when protecting outdoor areas, understanding how they differ is important to meet your security objectives. Basically, video security is about actively detecting intruders as soon as they enter a secured area, while video surveillance generally means passively recording events for future use. Yes, at one time we expected that guards would watch monitors and “catch” intruders. But now we know that most cameras go unwatched, because even the most alert person gets tired after staring at screens. So what you end up with is surveillance, and that’s not security.
Video Security – A Burglar Alarm for Outdoors
Take your office alarm system as an example. Imagine if you replaced the window, door and motion sensors from your office with surveillance cameras, and left for weekend. While you were gone, burglars could break in and do what they want, and when you returned, you would have recordings of people stealing or vandalizing your office, long after you could do anything about it. It’s surprising, but this is the typical level of security provided by most outdoor camera systems today. When it comes to protecting critical assets like energy or transportation infrastructure, you need to know in real time when an intrusion is taking place so you can respond. For these applications, smart video detection cameras combine the strengths of machines and people. Smart cameras use computers to watch the scene automatically, and will alert people with accurate alarms so they can make fast response decisions. This lets you tie the two applications together – detection and video verification- to create a comprehensive video security solution. You also get a recording of the incident for forensics.
Can I Use High Definition Cameras for Video Security?
Conventional wisdom suggests that High Definition or HD cameras combined with video analytics might be useful for intrusion detection, but practically speaking, these cameras are better suited for surveillance. This is because High Definition cameras create images from visible light and any interference from daytime reflections such as the sun reflecting off of water or car headlights will cause too many nuisance alerts for reliable automated detection. Worse yet, in night time situations where you don’t have sufficient lighting, you would end up with a much more serious problem, missing intruders entirely. Of course, once you have detected an intruder and have been automatically alerted to the security event, High Definition cameras can prove helpful in providing detailed information about that event.
The good news is that thermal video security cameras are now available that can ignore the movement that happens outdoors – like trees, clouds, or trash – to accurately detect people and send credible alerts when an intrusion occurs. In essence, smart cameras operate very similar to the way a burglar alarm system is used to protect indoor facilities, detecting intrusions as they occur, allowing you to respond in real time. Once a person is detected, surveillance cameras can be used for an up-close view to see what the intruders are doing. By combining real time video security with video verification, you can achieve a total solution that meets your security objectives.
A version of this post originally appeared in GSN Magazine.