External security solutions.
What solutions will we see at IFSEC this year with regard to external security protection? Integrated CCTV have lots of experience in both the advantages and the pitfalls of the different detection solutions. Below we list some of the options and when and where they should be used.
External security has been around now for many years now. Originally of course there was CCTV. At the time a fantastic deterrent. However as the criminal fraternity have become used to cameras and less fearful of the consequences of CCTV evidence, the industry has had to concentrate on more effective ways of keeping criminals away from vulnerable sites.
Fixed beams or PIR sensors?
Both have their place, Pirs can of course be vulnerable to environmental problems such as flapping plastic , sunlight issues and wildlife. They can however be used in any position on the site and for blanket coverage are the best way to protect most external stock. Fixed beams are more reliable and stable but they rely on line of site between the transmitter and receiver and on many sites this just is not possible. Even where it is it tends to mean that the customer looses storage space and this rarely fits into line with his operational needs. Fixed beams are also overtly obvious and can be over-come on rare occasions because of this.
So are analytics the answer? This is a means where by using advanced video motion algorithms in conjunction with static CCTV cameras, security systems are able to generate an alarm condition . Human intrusion onto a premises can be detected with relative certainty. The drawbacks of this are generally related to lighting issues and of course the quality of the camera that has been installed. Most important is the view we can get from that camera often we need lots of cameras if the premises is large or has lots of nooks and crannies, we then have the issue that too many cameras and the costs rise, too few and we leave vulnerable areas on the site. In addition if we have dynamic stock movements this means scenes can change and the alarm point becomes irrelevant.
Thermal imaging cameras are definitely a brilliant way of confirming an intrusion. They can even detect heat behind walls or in sheds. they are the best way to be 100% sure that there is human activity within a restricted area. The only real drawback is the cost but Flir the main player in the marketplace have some convincing arguments as why they should be used more and more for commercial security applications. Definitely worth looking into.
Of course it is all very well detecting an intruder but what is the best way to encourage them to leave site and leave property untouched? Some use lighting or a verbal warning and activate local alarm sounders. This works very well at moving criminals on, no one wants to be caught, so drawing attention to an intrusion though noise is highly effective. Other methods include a central station response to a fixed beam activation , that is we send the signal through like we would on an intruder alarm alerting the central station that the perimeter has been breached.
Off site response.
CCTV monitoring by remote central stations is the main way that most businesses choose to protect their external stock. Once an on site alarm is generated this sent together with the CCTV image to the central station. The image is presented to an operator and if a person is seen a key-holder is called and mobilized to site , In addition the central station can tannoy the site and warn the intruder that they are being watched.
Monitored CCTV broadband connection.
In the past the CCTV images were always sent by PSTN or ISDN phone lines. Now with these being phased out under the BT21CN upgrades most companies now rely on broadband to transmit these images. This is where without serious thought remote monitoring can become unstuck. What if the broadband line goes down? Well Emizon21 IP have the solution to that problem .They are one of the few who can monitor broadband lines properly for failure and transmit an alert via a secondary signalling path to the central station to warn them of any problems with the line.
So external security has come a long way in the last 20 years and we look forward to what IFSEC 2010 has to offer us this year. We think IP cameras able to generate alarms with on board recording and switched relay contacts to activate sounders will be playing a part but can they replace traditional methods. We will have to wait and see.