Planning for Your Perimeter
Taking a hard security review of your first line of defense
- By Aaron Saks
- Mar 23, 2023
The perimeter is an organization’s first line of defense and a critical element of any security and surveillance program. Even if a building’s interior or exterior security is strong, without a solid perimeter surveillance approach any company or business is vulnerable.
The point of strong perimeter security is to stop or deter crime or malicious activity before it enters onto your premises. Advances in AI, PTZ and multi-sensor cameras, and technologies like license plate recognition (LPR) technology are all combining to make perimeter surveillance a growing focus for security teams and a rapidly expanding business as well.
Most industry reports forecast continued growth for the global perimeter security market; Grand View Research estimates growth from $59.21 billion in 2021 at an annual rate of 9.4% through 2030. The reasons for this growth are clear. It is nearly impossible to watch the daily news without seeing the latest report of a new network intrusion or ransomware attack. Many organizations have reduced their on-site physical security teams, making it impossible for them to have “eyes” everywhere across a campus. Just like having a security alarm sticker or sign on your front lawn, the sight of pole-mounted cameras across a company’s boundaries can have a similar effect on stopping malicious activities before they occur.
What to Consider?
Security considerations include choosing the right technology for perimeter surveillance. The reasons vary from one organization to the next, based on a range of factors from a company’s market, application, location, size and, as always, budget and resources.
Camera choice can depend on how far a camera is located from a building or guard station, but typically, a company needs to cover a long field of view so they will either choose a wide-angle lens to capture a very wide area. On the other hand, if cameras are mounted on the perimeter far from a building, then the right option may be long-range cameras with a high-zoom lens and high-powered IR.
Depending on environment, an organization may need to consider the factor of “unnecessary information.” If there are many waving trees along a perimeter or pedestrian activity on sidewalks adjacent to the perimeter, then those environmental factors may trigger false alarms. A security team only needs to know if something comes over the perimeter or enters the grounds, but the elements on the outside usually are not that useful.
That is where AI-based analytics are beneficial. Surveillance camera operators can easily be bombarded with too much information – and too many false event alarms – especially if they are using conventional cameras equipped with motion-based pixel detection. AI and Deep Learning algorithms detect and classify distinct objects (people, vehicles, faces and license plates) while clearly distinguishing them from their environmental surroundings.
These smart cameras filter out irrelevant motion triggers to focus only on people, objects, and vehicles, and generate only the events users need to see for effective forensic searches and enhanced operational efficiency. As a result, they also minimize storage and bandwidth by not tracking and recording every type of object in motion.
AI is also playing a larger role in cameras with license plate recognition technology, recording vehicle entries and exits and alerting staff to potentially dangerous activities in real-time. For example, their license plates can identify persons while they are still outside a perimeter, so parking garage and security teams can intercept them before they enter the facility.
Climate can also play a role in choosing perimeter security, especially with cameras on the outside of the building, on poles or on fences and especially in remote areas with harsher weather conditions. In those cases, a customer would choose cameras with lower temperature specs and larger heating systems. Other options may include PTZ cameras with wipers to ensure constant and clear visibility along the perimeter.
The proper perimeter surveillance device is also the perfect complement to guards or security personnel either personally patrolling grounds or located in a command center. Perimeter cameras can be used for live operator viewing, virtual guard tours or perimeter sweeps, working in conjunction with AI analytics. The AI function can initiate a handover to security staff, alerting them to check an area if motion is detected in a certain zone.
For example, Hanwha’s PTZ motion detection hand-over feature allows an IP PTZ camera to zoom into a pre-set location once an alarm triggers from another camera on the same surveillance system. This feature improves system efficiency by decreasing the reliance on a security guard or system operator to track events, and increasing the likelihood critical events in a surveillance area are captured and recorded.
Multi-sensors, Multiple Applications
Multi-sensor cameras are emerging as key elements of perimeter surveillance, especially for the ability to cover one large area from one installation. Using one multi-view camera instead of several not only helps teams do their jobs more effectively, but also creates a more attractive and welcoming environment by not having as many cameras visible.
A multi-sensor camera’s ability to look left and right, as well as straight down is useful along a perimeter, and provides the flexibility of choosing from multi-view, 180-degree view, 270-degrees or 360-degrees to ensure there are no blind spots in an organization’s perimeter security monitoring.
Certain types of facilities may have specific needs for perimeter surveillance. For example, a school often needs to monitor entry and egress points, different wings of a building, or exterior doors that are only fire exits or loading docks and typically do not have people using them regularly. Again, that is where multi-sensor camera can come in handy, being able to accurately see which doors people are using.
In the case of critical infrastructure facilities – power stations, utilities, pharmaceutical or food manufacturing – it is important to ensure 24/7 monitoring in any weather or lighting condition.
Even in these situations, an organization still needs to see anything coming over their fence or onto a property. One technology that traditionally has been priced out of reach for many customers but is now more affordable for widespread perimeter deployment is thermal technology.
Thermal technology is best suited for areas where there is low light or no light, but security teams still need to track people or vehicles and discern objects like animals from long range in challenging areas, during day or night, in rain or fog. Cameras with thermal technology can also detect temperature changes in objects against their background.
With thermal, or in the case of bi-spectrum cameras where you have a thermal and visible sensor, a security team can accurately see what is happening along a perimeter, extremely beneficial for large facilities with large perimeter areas to cover.
Any perimeter surveillance technology needs to integrate seamlessly with security operations centers located in either buildings or elsewhere on property grounds. How that is done depends on the size of the perimeter, the number of cameras installed along a wall or fence, and also the number of dedicated guards or security teams and when they are deployed.
Larger campuses with more expansive facilities will usually have dedicated guard stations per building with dedicated workstations where the cameras are always on and monitoring any activity picked up along the perimeter. Often, these stations are operated with joystick interface to track subjects and fine-tune what the perimeter cameras are seeing.
Finally, defining a “perimeter” is important since it may not always be a wall or a fence. It depends on the environment where a facility sits. A corporate campus in a suburban office park may not have a hard wall or even a fence, compared to an urban area where there is usually a structured perimeter.
Some manufacturing facilities are also often located in remote areas that may not have a hard fence, or large area like an airport or shipping terminal may employ a combination of chain link fences, walls, or spots where there is no physical perimeter. There are complementary perimeter surveillance solutions that can be deployed to detect movement along the boundaries of an organization that still deliver the right combination of security, deterrence, efficiency.
Increasingly, organizations are realizing that the right video perimeter surveillance technology is an important investment that will pay off significantly over time.
For further information on Hanwha’s Video Surveillance Solutions, visit www.hanwhasecurity.com.
This article originally appeared in the March / April 2023 issue of Security Today.