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How Your Outdoor Surveillance System Can SeeThrough Mother Nature's Wrath

By Laura Spadanuta

The great outdoors can be not-so- great for those who are setting up outdoor surveillance systems and attempting efficient perimeter detection. The equipment has to deal with weather, wind, possible tampering, and even the occasional wild animal or two. Additionally, there are trees, brush, pedestrians, and the toughest opponent of all—the darkness. Here is a look at recent trends in outdoor surveillance and perimeter protection and some best practices that can help to make the systems more effective.

Thermal Cameras

The lack of light outdoors at night is a thorn in the sides of integrators. It isn’t always possible to install more lighting to make visible-light cameras work better in the dark. So security managers often turn to other tools.

Consultants, vendors, and integrators interviewed for this article kept coming back to one major factor: the dropping price of thermal imaging cameras. Thermal imagers read heat energy coming off objects. They provide a picture of the various heat energies in a field of view.

Thermal imagers are increasingly being used in conjunction with analytics and other sensors to reduce false-alarm rates. “Deploying analytics is no substitute for having lighting or infrared illumination. If you’ve got zero lighting at night, then the best use of analytics is linked to a thermal imager,” says John Whiteman, DVTel’s vice president of strategic programs.

In addition, some thermal cameras are used in conjunction with visible-light cameras, although it should be noted that visible-light cameras do need some sort of light or illumination.

(To finish reading March's cover story, "How to Improve Your Image," please click here.)


♦ Photo by mattymatt/Flickr

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