Thermal video analytics identify intruders despite background water movement or glare off the water
There are more than 300 ports in the U.S. maritime system, representing a major point of vulnerability that could have potentially devastating effects on the US economy. Securing the nation's ports is essential, and port perimeter security is the first line of defense against disruption to global commerce. In this article, SightLogix CEO, John Romanowich, explains how thermal cameras with video analytics have become a best-of-breed solution for port perimeter security.
Ports cover large geographic areas that include vast and varied perimeters that are not capable of being secured the typical way. For example, fences aren't feasible for the waterside segment of a perimeter. Physical barriers also do not provide the necessary situational awareness over the large areas typical for a port setting.
Additional elements that impact port security include:
- Location – Ports are often adjacent to public areas or neighborhoods where pedestrian intruders represent both security and safety threats. Some ports are located near densely populated urban areas, requiring security to carefully monitor and restrict perimeter access.
- Environment – Challenges of climate, weather and large areas of coverage pose additional difficulties for ports and maritime applications. Port security personnel must be alerted immediately when a breach in security occurs to allow them to respond in a timely and effective manner. Outdoor systems must provide overall situational awareness, including the accurate size, location and nature of an event as it unfolds, while avoiding nuisance alarms.
- Lighting is often poor or unavailable along extensive port perimeters due to cost and lack of infrastructure.
- Threats Include the wide range of possible risks that ports are susceptible to, from theft to vandalism to sabotage. Port security covers a gamut of applications, including rail security, electrical yard protection and chemical safety.
Thermal Cameras as a Technology Solution
When it comes to protecting the port perimeter, technologies such as thermal cameras and outdoor video analytics address the particular needs of the port environment and serve as a critical first line of defense
Achieving security awareness around port perimeters comes down to timely, credible alerts with detail to respond. Knowing the nature and location of an intrusion is the key to mounting an effective response. Smart thermal cameras operate day or night, and can “see” what the eye would miss, even over large outdoor areas in complete darkness.
Recent advances in thermal camera image processing have expanded their traditional role as “night vision” cameras to 24-hour perimeter security solutions, making them an excellent choice for solving port security challenges. Thermal cameras that have substantially more on-board image processing accurately detect the presence of unauthorized persons anywhere across site perimeters, enclaves, and isolated outdoor assets, while filtering the effects of environmental elements. Smart cameras with sufficient processing can provide accurate detection over large areas, regardless of wind, weather or the movement of small animals, trees or blowing trash.
Thermal cameras can also accurately discriminate legitimate targets from extraneous motion, while presenting very clear details about the scene. In a port perimeter application, thermal video analytics can identify intruders despite background water movement or glare off the water.
|Economics are important when securing large outdoor areas|
Thermal cameras can also geo-register their field-of-view to GPS coordinates. This allows the analytics to make accurate determinations regarding target location, size, bearing and speed, critical details for securing large areas like ports. Such geo-registration can be used to display a target’s precise location against a topology map of the port to pinpoint the location of an intrusion in real time. The same information can be used to automatically steer a PTZ camera to zoom and follow detected targets for making fast response decisions.
Economics are important when securing large outdoor areas such as port perimeters, especially given the tight budgets many port operators have to work with. Outdoor surveillance involves additional infrastructure costs, including construction, trenching, camera poles, network connectivity, video display and storage. New thermal analytic cameras can operate at twice the distance and cover four times the area, creating a larger buffer zone for early detection of intruders, along with a direct economic benefit: fewer thermal analytic cameras are needed to protect the same location, lowering overall costs accordingly.
The First Line of Defense
The economic impact of the nation’s ports, and of ports around the world, is a good indicator of the importance of providing proper maritime security. Clearly, a lot is at stake as port management and local, state and federal governments evaluate the best security technologies to protect these important assets. When it comes to protecting the port perimeter, technologies such as thermal cameras and outdoor video analytics address the particular needs of the port environment and serve as a critical first line of defense.