Perimeter security encompasses a plethora of physical security solutions including, intrusion-detection systems, crash-resistant barriers, access control, gate operators and high-security fencing.

First Line of Defense

New technologies help meet the demand to ward off strangers

First Line of DefensePerimeter security encompasses a plethora of physical security solutions including, intrusion-detection systems, crash-resistant barriers, access control, gate operators and high-security fencing. Integrated security solutions have evolved to meet the demands of perimeter security, leading to the development of new technologies. These range from fence-mounted sensors, fiber optic, taut wire, microphonic cables, rattler-vibration sensors; open-area sensors microwave, infrared, ground-based radar; and buried sensors (fiber optic, leaky coaxial, geophone) and sound sensors that include audio alarming and video sensors, which incorporate video analytics.

Integrated technologies represent baseline solutions for end users addressing perimeter security needs. There are numerous things in the many facets of perimeter security to consider that pertain to the current and projected market for this vertical.

Currently, North America and Europe have the highest expenditures for defense and perimeter security applications. One of the factors supporting this growth is the funding of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), which established risk-based performance standards for chemical facilities. These standards created opportunity for 6,000 new sites that require perimeter security upgrades to comply with CFATS standards. Additionally, government mandates are a major driver of market growth for perimeter security. The most unique facet of the perimeter security industry also is one of the biggest drivers of the sector’s market growth. Outside of government-based applications, many perimeter security projects must conform to government security guidelines across vertical sectors, such as CFATS.

Thus, local-level guidelines are created for risk-related assessments in individual sectors, a huge benefit to commercial infrastructures applicable for perimeter security. Contrarily, a lack of government oversight and enforcement can prove these mandates unsuccessful and result in a decrease of project-based work for perimeter security investments.

Government mandates and security standards require corporate investment in perimeter security, but until these guidelines are coordinated between local and national levels, market growth potential will remain unrealized.

Investments in perimeter security are manipulated by a multitude of external market characteristics relative to global politics, including the threat of terrorism and economic change. The high-security solutions offered by many perimeter security manufacturers are most prevalent at high-risk government sites, such as airports, military bases and prisons. Adapting to the risk factors of facilities that are responsible for human life and intellectual and physical property, the size and segmentation of the non-residential perimeter security market must frequently evolve. A significant factor influencing the applicability of perimeter security technologies is government- based infrastructure specifications. This market characteristic naturally relates the prospect of government action or inaction to a larger barrier for growth in non-residential perimeter security markets than other residential-specific security technologies. The variability of the environments within these global markets becomes a major consideration of perimeter security manufacturers when researching and developing technologies.

Because no two sites are the same topographically and demographically, the specifier, engineer and manufacturer must consider a wide variety of fence types, environmental situations and interior breach vulnerabilities to provide a complete security solution.

Considering the growing international markets for perimeter security, high-risk facilities aren’t the only filters applicable for site prospecting. Others include sites containing government-regulated raw materials; BRIIC economies in developing countries recognizing a rise in GDP, factors that emulate a path towards government regulated distribution or storage methods. The perimeter security market is directly proportional to GDP, as the decrease in market growth for perimeter security during the 2009 global economic decline revealed. However, increased government involvement in perimeter security and an influx of new government funding is expected to spur a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9 percent in global markets by 2014. This Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) equals a spike of nearly $200 million from the markets’ estimated net worth of $371.2 million in 2009. Growth in global markets has created another unique opportunity for business growth in the perimeter security market and is suspected to continue to increase over the next five years.

A distinguishing factor in the perimeter security market is site uniqueness. New security solutions are inspired by necessity, making project oversight of potential site vulnerabilities a major focus. For example, industrial sites experience a high volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. These sites also are frequently in non-residential areas, and remain unmanned on weekends. To counteract these exposed opportunities for unauthorized access, boom barriers or sliding gates on a rail could be paired with video content analysis (VCA) security cameras, and a 2-way speaker/microphone to accurately identify entrants and control access portals. A system designer also should consult with a perimeter security professional to address post-business-hour site breaches by specifying integrated, unmanned security solutions.

A ground-based radar system around inventory storages will detect movements around low-traffic, internal areas both above- and below-ground level. Video sensors in rooms containing intellectual and material properties provide accurate review and analysis of situations involving property loss. Sound-activated alarm systems identify break-ins through noise analytics and decibel strength, and activate other alarming systems at the point of a break-in. Tech-based integrations for perimeter security should focus on the use of remote network monitoring (RMON), the integration of a physically-activated security notification that will alert a site’s security network monitor of a breach, and doubles as a secondary alarm verification to prompt law-enforcement response. This creates a more accurate response system for security system monitors who can use technologies, such as speaker and microphones, to identify an intruder and deter them from advancing through direct vocal contact, rather than physical means.

The idea behind achieving effective perimeter security is two-tiered: intrusion prevention and property protection. Perimeter security is the first line of defense in security solutions, but the technical innovations behind it take it beyond the front lines of anyone’s property borders. Innovations in technologies such as sound-activated alarms and speaker microphones, create a multitude of internal perimeters on a site, allowing for intrusion detection beyond the front gates.

The effectiveness of perimeter security is dependent on timely, credible alerts that allow enough detail to respond to threats, or act internally as a quick-response system. For example, sound-activated alarming can activate IP video cameras in a breached security zone, simultaneously acting as a secondary verification to a break-in, as opposed to strictly relying on video analytics that may not have a full visual range of a breached area. The nature and location of a perimeter intrusion is necessary to relaying a proper response. The use of automated-detection technologies— coax and fiber-fence sensors, open-area infrared sensors, and buried geophone sensors—provide a base level of perimeter detection. These integrated technologies allow for perimeter security to be a multi-tiered functionality on a site.

For example, buried geophone sensors convert ground movement into voltage, and analyze the seismic response measured by deviations from a seismic baseline. Perimeter security applications use this technology to inform a system operator when an intruder enters a secure area. Accompanying this information with photographic data allows a system operator to review a breach in detail and analyze vulnerabilities in a site’s security system. Critiques of this method are easy to obtain, such as immediate differentiating between a possible unwarranted intruder and an animal running onto a site’s property. The necessities for achieving effective perimeter security—timely, credible alerts that allow for enough detail to respond— have created a market for technologies that offer a quick enough response time to deal with an intruder in real time.

The fastest growing technology for advantageous intrusion response is video analytics. Video sensors and thermal cameras are used for detecting otherwise “invisible” threats in a wide spectrum of light conditions, making them applicable for large outdoor areas as well as indoor monitoring. Video-content analytics are capable of using motion detection and object detection to determine the presence of a person or car.

Another approach is sound-activated monitoring. Manufacturers in audio-monitoring technology have structured products to tie into IP-network cameras, activating a response zone in larger facilities to intrusion alerts. This method of perimeter breach detection benefits a security network monitor by acting as a second-response system to alert authorities without the need for physical confirmation of an intruder. Additionally, a facility using staff-monitored, multi-zone security systems benefit from the use of audio detection when determining the exact location of intrusion, a necessary factor in effectively responding to a security breach.

Perimeter security equipment may see even more advances in coming years. Facets of the security products industry that will be affected by this growth also include video- and audio-monitoring technologies that allow for remote address to on-site perimeter breaches. Most video-based integrations deal with image content to detect a perimeter breach, whereas audio-based integrations deal with sound-identifying technologies to distinguish between sounds and activate either an alarm-base station or a zonal, videomonitoring system to the area of breach.

These first response opportunities highlight the first line of defense in high-risk facilities’ security solutions: Perimeter security as a singular security system encompasses a myriad of physical security solutions, including crash-resistant barriers, access control, gate operators and high-security fencing. Tech-based solutions have evolved to meet the demands of perimeter security, leading to the development of new technologies.

While these baseline solutions provide a nonphysical barrier and notification of perimeter breach points, achieving effective perimeter security must use integrated security technologies.

This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Security Today.


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