Pairing Thermal Cameras and Radar for Perimeter Security

January 10, 2018

We can all agree that, when it comes to video surveillance, thermal systems have a higher advantage to regular CCTV in that they provide almost uninterrupted 24/7 surveillance. And if the thermal imager is sensitive enough, it can also deliver crisp clear images in severe weather conditions.

While cooled systems are still preferred for extreme long-range security (over 20km), the advancements in thermal technology have now allowed for many uncooled thermal imagers to also satisfy most needs, by providing mid to long-range detection and assessment at a much lower cost of ownership. The decrease in price, among other reasons, has helped pave the way for surveillance systems to include visual and thermal cameras in the same housing. These dual sensors systems raise the bar even higher, as the synergy of both sensors afford a great detection and identification surveillance system – the thermal camera does the detection by visualizing the hot target from the surrounding, and the visual camera can then identify the target’s characteristics.

Integration of technologies for multi-layered security

For large area perimeter security, however, it’s not enough to simply rely on the thermal camera systems on site, but it’s rather recommended to implement a multi-layered approach which combines different technologies. One way of doing this is by incorporating radar and thermal cameras for a complete perimeter detection and identification surveillance system. The implementation of both technologies can be very productive if used together for surveillance applications, but if applied separately the advantages lessen. Radar systems can detect any movement of targets, yet they cannot identify what it is; and thermal cameras can assess whether the target is a threat or not, yet can be limited in target movement at extreme long ranges. When combined, radars act as target detectors cueing the cameras to focus and zoom in on the target for proper assessment and identification. Radars with good tracking systems and thermals with high-end video analytics will also help decrease false alarm incidents. And the combination of both, at the end of the day, will help create a complete surveillance system.

Since not one site is equal to another, getting to know well your location will help determine what layout design best suits your area. Learning the site’s challenges is not only important, but aids in the planning process; from the power location, to the location of thermal cameras and radar systems, through optimizing those accordingly. It’s important to verify what distance and placement of devices best suits the area for maximum perimeter coverage, and how to ensure the different systems communicate flawlessly with each other.

Another key factor when having multiple security layers working side by side, is the automation of all the technologies into a sophisticated software that the security personnel can manipulate to make an intelligent decision on what a target is. Therefore, having systems that seamlessly integrate into VMS platforms is imperial.

Wide area perimeter security does not need to be complex. With proper assessment and the integration of the systems into a multi-layered technique, you can achieve a complete perimeter security solution that is not only reliable, but in the long-run also cost effective.