Intelligent perimeter protection

Airports, car parks, gas and oil refineries, industrial complexes, power plants, prisons, railway depots, train stations and military establishments are just a few of the environments where it could be of critical importance for security personnel to have early warning that unwanted visitors are attempting to gain access to a restricted area. It could be a terrorist attack or just one or more criminals wishing to steal your valuable assets. Either way the damage and disruption the intruders may cause could have a dramatic consequential effect on your ability to continue to run your business.

There are many established methods of protecting the perimeter of a site, e.g. electric fencing, buried cable detectors, passive infrared, microwave sensors and vibration sensors. There is also of course the option to deploy security guards to patrol a site or to be statically located at vulnerable areas of a site. All of these methods have been successfully used in the past, but there are many situations where they may not be practical or affordable.

Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue in the form of video surveillance systems supported by VCA Technology Video Analytics. Not to be confused with VMD (Video Motion Detection), which works on the basis of detecting changes in the light scales of pixels within a video image, VCA Technology Video Analytics provides a far more sophisticated, reliable and accurate solution. To achieve this it analyses on a frame-by-frame basis the metadata related to the motion and properties of objects within a video stream.  The result of doing so is a high detection rate and a dramatic reduction in the kind of false alarms that can be generated by VMD software.

Independently tested against the UK Home Office i-LIDS image library for sterile zone environments, VCA Technology Video Analytics is able to work exceptionally well in sterile conditions in which activity or motion is not expected. It is therefore an ideal solution for monitoring large open areas in order to detect unauthorised access.

Operator efficiency

VCA Technology Video Analytics can be retrofitted to an existing video surveillance system or included in the specification when a new system is being designed.

The software can detect movement within very small areas of a video image and can therefore provide operators with a powerful ‘exception’ reporting tool to help them identify suspicious activity and when appropriate, to despatch security guards or quickly report the incident to one of the emergency services. The ability to do this is significant in that it is widely acknowledged that operators can miss important events after monitoring video for more than 30 minutes or so, and the possibility of this happening is increased when individual operators are tasked to view multiple screens.

It is therefore likely that the cost of investing in the software will be justified in weeks or months on the basis that control room operators’ time can be used more efficiently and that no important incidents are missed.

How does it work?

A large number of manufacturers have adopted VCA Technology as their preferred video analytics provider. The software has been incorporated within their cameras and domes and as such they all offer as standard a ‘Presence’ detection feature that has 40 overlapping zones/lines which can be configured to detect activity and create alerts.

VCA Technology Video Analytics is ideally suited for the challenges of detecting movement in outdoor locations as it can automatically adapt to varying light conditions and can be easily fine tuned to avoid false alarms due to, for example, rustling trees or wildlife. It will even continue to deliver a high level of performance when cameras may be swaying due to windy conditions. 

Customers who wish to take advantage of the software to detect activity at the perimeter of their sites, can choose from a number of camera options.

  • VCA Technology Encoders can be deployed to analyse images captured by cameras which do not incorporate the Video Analytics software. The encoders can be retrofitted or included as part of a new video surveillance solution.
  • The software has been embedded into a wide range of devices including vandal-proof fixed box cameras and domes, megapixel network cameras, PTZ speed domes and Full HD Repositioning domes.
  • Where the existing lighting conditions are inadequate, customers can choose from a number of Day/Night cameras and domes which are equipped with IR lighting and they can therefore avoid incurring the cost of installing supplementary lighting.
  • There is also the option to install thermal imaging cameras equipped with VCA Technology Video Analytics. These cameras are able to detect objects and people in environmental conditions that might be impossible with traditional video surveillance cameras such as through smoke, snow, heavy rain and fog. Thermal imaging cameras are also installed in situations where it is not possible to install supplementary lighting, or where there are concerns about light pollution.

Easy set-up

Although ready to be used ‘out-of-the-box’, with minimal training, users can easily set up the detection, tracking and reporting functions of the video analytics to reflect the operational requirements of specific sites. Simply decide what you need to detect and then take advantage of the incredibly easy to use on-screen tools to set up the required detection lines and zones and create the criteria for when alerts should be generated.  

Multiple overlapping detection lines and zones can be designated to ensure that only specific activity is recorded. Direction of movement is defined so that the software only triggers when individuals or objects move in a particular direction across a zone, or when they move into a zone but not when they leave it. Filters provide the software with the ability to only detect people of a specified height and ignore for example, accompanying children. A rapid 'learning time' of just two seconds means that images are detected and classified almost instantaneously.

Key features include:

  • Simultaneous tracking of up to 100 targets.
  • Up to 40 polygonal detection zones or segmented lines
  • Continuous tracking of objects which pass each other or are temporarily obscure
  • Ignoring changes in light due to clouds, switching on artificial lights and camera auto-iris operation
  • Ignoring repetitive movement, e.g. waving trees, rippling water
  • Ignoring cloud shadows passing across the ground
  • Adjusting to image degradation caused by rain, fog, dirty lens and low sun position causing dazzle
  • Does not false alarm due to PTZ camera movement

Each manufacturer that has embedded VCA Technology Video Analytics into their cameras and domes is able to offer the software in modular form to provide users with the option to only pay for the appropriate level of functionality as and when it is required. In addition to the detection of intruders, the VCA Technology software can also be used for a wide range of other applications including vehicle monitoring, abandoned object detection and it can be configured to generate an alert if one or more people dwell too long in, or close to, a restricted area. It can even detect camera tampering and failure.

VCA Technology has an ongoing programme to integrate its video analytics with video management software in order to provide retailers with the flexibility to visually display alerts and reports generated by VCA Technology’s metadata in a format which matches their requirements. Integration has already been successfully achieved with Digiop, Exacq, Luxriot, Mirasys, VMS UK and Wavestore video management software.

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