Integrated crime prevention
CBC's Dave Riley explains how surveillance technology advances enable early warning site intrusion detection, plus an integrated on-the-ground response by the security team.
The effective protection of critical infrastructure including buildings and transportation sites such as airports is significantly enhanced through the use of surveillance measures, as the terrorist events of 7/7 in London showed back in 2005.
But while correctly specified CCTV monitoring is a proven means for providing evidential quality recordings of past events, it works most effectively when used in a proactive way that enables crime prevention, detection and deterrence – rather than simply post-event identification of the perpetrators. After all, it's far better to avoid an incident in the first place.
Equally, the interaction between electronic security technology and security staff is an important consideration, since an effective interface between the two will add value to both elements of the overall operation and prove more than the sum of their parts. It also strengthens the traditional 'onion-ring' of defences, which terrorists or criminals must peel away layer by layer before reaching their target.
In practice, a coordinated approach of this kind will enable further efficiencies to be realised, for instance by improving the safety of security officers patrolling sites, and allow control room staff using the surveillance cameras to more effectively coordinate manned response to detected site intrusions. The trick in achieving all this lies in providing surveillance technology that allows the overall security operation sufficient time to react.
Traditional optical cameras offer opportunities to observe activity in daylight conditions, but combined technology units now allow surveillance to continue in low light/night-time conditions without the need for visible lighting. For instance, use of dual thermal/optical imaging allows site intruders to be detected (regardless of weather or lighting conditions etc) at distances up to 1km away, enabling site security teams to be more efficiently, effectively and safely despatched to deal with any threats – rather than having to carry out unnecessary site patrols that may expose them to unwitting danger.
This 'force multiplier' factor means staff can be freed up to work on other 'added value' duties, and if called out to combat a terrorist or criminal attack they can be directed accurately to the relevant area by camera operators who are following these people movements in real-time.
CBC's multi-technology Ganz C-AllView cameras demonstrate how this can be achieved, with the C-AllView NightVision model using integrated infrared lighting and the dual optical/thermal Ganz Thermal Vision system enabling detection at distances greater than 4km, with the detail capture of visible-light CCTV. People, animals and vehicles can be observed without the need for artificial lighting through smoke, fog, mist, rain, snow and foliage. Typical sites benefiting from this type of protection include ports, harbours and jetties, refineries, depots and pipelines, power stations and reservoirs, and commercial operations with large area perimeters.
Video content analysis
Complementary advances in surveillance technology are provided by the increasing reliability and operational effectiveness of video content analysis (VCA) – ie the use of intelligent software to reduce terrorism/criminal threats to site facilities using eg vehicle monitoring, abandoned/removed object detection and automatic PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) camera tracking. VCA intrusion detection filters are designed to work with both fixed and PTZ cameras, proactively alerting operating staff about potential intrusions in sterile zone, tripwire or fence violation applications. Tamper detection capabilities can also include any attempt to sabotage the camera itself.
What's called 'edge-based' VCA system architecture means that users don't need to invest significant sums on centralised control room servers to handle all the processing requirements. Edge-based systems also remove any single point of equipment failure by distributing the software processing element to the field-based cameras, where they can be more quickly and easily repaired/replaced. The low false alarm rate of modern video content analytics means VCA can additionally be used to achieve what's called 'black wall monitoring' – in other words, video is streamed to a control room monitor only when the analytics software engine triggers an alarm. This reduces the strain on CCTV operators and improves overall operational efficiency by freeing up operators to deal only with likely incidents requiring investigation.
Meanwhile, supplementing the increasing security operation efficiencies enabled by technological developments, equipment advances are also delivering improvements in working performance and capital cost savings. One example of this can be seen in the use of LED colour monitors recently introduced by CBC, which use intelligent colour corrective technology with a mercury-free WLED backlight that offers long-term energy savings of up to 40%.
LEDs also represent the future for site lighting, since they require less electrical consumption than bulb-based lighting systems to deliver the equivalent power. There are three reasons why end users are moving from bulb-based lighting systems to LEDs. Firstly, technical advances in LED technology make LED illumination a feasible operational reality. Secondly, LED illuminators provide increased security on-site and thirdly, they deliver significant comparative cost savings.
In summary, the protection of critical national infrastructure can be achieved in a variety of more efficient, intelligent and cost-effective ways, allowing security technology to add significant value to the protective 'envelope'. By adequately safeguarding important site assets, these measures are able to demonstrably justify their investment.
Dave Riley, CBC (Europe)'s Head of Sales for the UK and Ireland,