The New Age
Advancing protection with IP technology integration
- By Joe Morgan
- Mar 01, 2018
Perimeter protection has been
part of the human psyche
since the dawn of mankind.
Over the millennia we’ve
evolved from crude barriers
of sticks and rocks to fortified walls of
concrete and stone to electrified fences and
high-resolution surveillance cameras. With
each innovation we’ve become smarter and
more effective at shielding our critical assets
from threats — whether they’re a refinery
pipeline, a power station transformer, transportation
rails, a commercial data center, a
hospital narcotics cabinet, a retailer’s highend
merchandise or even the loved ones in
We’re now entering a new phase of perimeter
security, the “Age of Integrated Perimeter
Security.” Forward-thinking companies
are starting to explore how to combine complementing
technologies to address the fluid
nature of real-time threats. As more IP-based
products become available and affordable —
from long-range visual and thermal video
cameras to access control systems, radar, advanced
analytics and VoIP — they present an
opportunity for users to seamlessly integrate
tools and potentially stop problems before a
defensive stance is needed.
Think of your perimeter security strategy
as a series of concentric goals, what the industry
calls “The Five Ds of Perimeter Security.”
You first need to deter a threat. If the
threat isn’t deterred, you want to make sure
you detect it. If the threat progresses, you
need to devise a way to deny it entry. Barring
success at that stage, you need to delay the
threat from doing harm until help arrives.
And in the interim, you need a mechanism in
place to defend your facility.
Let’s look at the portfolio of IP tools currently
on the market and those on the horizon
and see how you could effectively apply
them to the five Ds.
DETER: turn aside, discourage or prevent
DETECT: discover the presence of
When it comes to deterring and detecting
threats, the earlier the warning the better.
This means facilities need to look outside
the perimeter fence and consider how
to secure the buffer zone leading up to that
fence line. Ample lighting and well-placed
video surveillance cameras tend to project
the message that anyone approaching is
being observed, which tends to deter individuals
looking for easy pickings. But if thetechnologies you can use to detect its presence.
Commercial ground-based radar can detect people and objects at
a distance even in heavy fog, rain and snow. They come in various detection
ranges, from several feet to many miles. These emerging-based
radars are filling a security need in both the consumer and critical
infrastructure markets. Unlike their military counterparts, they are
very affordable. As IP-based technology, they can send geolocation
data to a high-resolution IP video camera to turn its focus to the
area in question to verify and auto-track the threat. As the threat
moves across the camera’s field of view, tracking automatically can
be handed off to the next adjacent camera and so on.
Subterranean sensors and fiber can also be used to detect a
threat in a critical area of your facility such as on the fence, in the
buffer zone, around potential traffic areas leading up to or even inside
your property. Solutions like these are already being used on
fence lines in military applications and commercial industries, and
as costs continue to drop they are making their way into new commercial
Capturing with Cameras
Tri-spectral cameras — cameras able to capture video using thermal
imaging, illuminated IR and visible light all in one form factor — can
help you achieve multiple goals: early detection, verification, recognition
and identification. In the absence of sufficient external lighting,
thermal and infra-red illumination can detect a threat using the nonvisible
While they can’t provide a lot of forensic detail, thermal imaging
can display the heat signature of a threat even in total darkness. With
illuminated IR the camera can capture important details to help you
verify such things as a vehicle’s make and model or an individual’s
gender, clothing, facial hair and distinguishing tattoos in a totally
dark scene. In daylight, the camera can use visible light to record
other important identifying features such as colors.
With the addition of advanced analytics, thermal cameras can
detect a presence at long range with just a few pixels on target. With
slightly more pixels on target they can start to recognize the difference
between an object or a person. With more pixels on target they
can identify characteristics of the target, such as a person carrying a
crowbar or a weapon.
This ability to detect at a distance with good accuracy has significantly
decreased the number of false alarms users experienced with
earlier, less reliable analytics software. Years ago, along the Texas
border the problem of blowing tumbleweeds was triggering false
alarms, and it got so bad that operators eventually turned the software
off. Today’s analytics have improved to the point where they
can be programmed to filter out such irrelevant distractions, greatly
reducing false positives.
There are also a host of behavioral analytics currently on the market
to detect suspicious loitering or objects left behind, but within the
next few years we’ll be seeing more sophisticated behavioral analysis
software that will be able to make predictions based on facial and
For instance, if the video captures a person repeatedly eying a
particular asset or exhibiting minor behavior out of the ordinary it
will trigger an alert that the behavior is suspicious and needs to be
DENY: withhold admittance to
DELAY: to stop, detain or hinder for a time
If the threat ignores the deterrents and manages to circumvent
detection, electrifying the fence line may stop the threat in its tracks
— but liability is a risk with this system. Should the outer perimeter
be breached, there are several IP-based tools you can use to prevent
entry into the inner perimeter surrounding critical assets.
IP-based access control systems can be integrated with high-resolution
cameras to verify that the person using a key card or fob is
actually the person to whom the card was issued. This could be tied
to facial recognition software that would withhold releasing the door
lock until a match was verified.
As an alternative, VoIP communications can be linked to the security
solution, requiring an operator to verbally screen the individual before
unlocking the door. Or the VoIP system could incorporate voice
recognition software to verify the individual’s permission level to enter
that location before releasing the door lock.
Subterranean sensors can be used in restricted areas to trigger
loudspeaker warnings and other alerts if motion is detected in areas
where it’s not expected. For instance, if rail deliveries are scheduled
to arrive through a gate four times a day, a sensor embedded near
that gate can be programmed to send an alert if there’s an attempt to
open the gate at an unscheduled time. This could also trigger delaying
actions like the automatic closing of a secondary inner gate should
the first be breached.
Advanced seismic wave sensors, a relatively new technology on
the market, take sensor analytics to a new level. Sophisticated algorithms
analyze wave length, potency and other variables to not only
identify where the sound is coming from but also what is generating
it. The algorithm can discern such things as a human footsteps, the
slamming of car door or even the chambering of a rifle — important
details that security officers can use to verify, locate and delay the
threat from penetrating further.
DEFEND: secure against attack
From a defensive standpoint, situational awareness is critical both
for you and any outside authorities coming to your rescue. Here, too,
many of the IP-security tools mentioned above can provide crucial
real-time information to help responders strategize tactics while en
route to your location and continually fine-tune them once onsite as
the fluid situation unfolds.
High-resolution visual, thermal and illuminated IR cameras can
track perpetrators as they move through the facility from brightly
lit areas to dark corridors and corners. They can provide important
details as to the number of perpetrators, if they possess weapons and
what kinds. Embedded sensors can be used to detect movement in
restricted sites with the most critical assets and automatically lock
down the location, isolating the threat to a limited area or they can
trigger an automatic lockdown of all the doors in the entire plant or
other action commensurate with the level of threat.
The ability to quickly aggregate and synthesize data from multiple
surveillance cameras and other security systems will provide defenders
with a more in-depth assessment of the situation on which to base
a timely response. New self-learning analytics, also known as artificial
intelligence or deep learning, will have the ability to parse, learn
from and make determinations or predictions with increased accuracy.
These tools will further aid defenders in their quest for more
comprehensive awareness and faster alerts to potential threats.
How Secure is Your Perimeter?
Perimeter security is both a science and an art. As the threat landscape
continues to evolve, your perimeter security
needs to evolve as well. So while you might not
need every IP tool mentioned in this article right
now, it’s in your best interest to know what’s out
there and what’s coming down the pike.
threat isn’t deterred, there are a number of
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Security Today.