Perimeter surveillance – Part 1 of 6

How do we protect areas from threats on the ground and air?

Perimeter security has gone from being about alarming when the perimeter is broken, to react before an intrusion have been committed.

Perimeter security has gone from being about alarming when the perimeter is broken, to react before an intrusion have been committed.

Perimeter security has moved on from simply triggering after the event when a line has been crossed, to deploying technology that reacts before the intrusion has even happened.

“You want to be proactive and see what happens outside your plot boundary and be able to track objects, that is crucial,” says David Lenot, Critical Infrastructure Practice Leader at Genetec.

“Perimeter security – how do we effectively protect areas from threats on the ground and air?” This was the title of a well-attended panel discussion at Sectech in Stockholm recently, in which the following five industry experts participated:

Jimmy Ek, Nordic Sales Manager, Axis Communications, Mark Cosgrave, Divisional Manager, Western Europe, Optex, Gustav Norvik, Product Manager, Stanley Security, David Lenot, Critical Infrastructure Practice Leader, Genetec and Magnus Cederäng, Business Unit Manager IP-Surveillance, Infralogic.

The market for perimeter security has changed a lot in recent years and the solutions have become more advanced and at the same time more affordable. Jimmy Ek, Nordic Sales Manager at Axis Communications, emphasises that integration is the key when it comes to perimeter security today and that it has been so for a while.

“We see that many people are using security cameras, thermal cameras, radar and so on. It is becoming more common to combine technology, and integration is a clear trend,” he says.

Mixed technology works best

Magnus Cederäng, Business Unit Manager IP-Surveillance, Infralogic, agrees, even though he claims that there are still surprisingly common in the Nordic region to see perimeter surveillance applications utilising just one type of sensor.

“However, I think we are moving away from using one-sensortype solutions to a combination of several different varieties of sensor and to applications where cameras are used to verify an intrusion,” he says.

Knowledge based decision

The five panelists present at the discussion agreed that there is no single technology that can offer a total perfect solution. Which technology to choose depends on what the customer wants to achieve and the conditions at the site.

Mark Cosgrave, Divisional Manager at Optex, wants to keep it simple. He says that the most important thing is to find a solution that works for the customer. In addition, he advises that integrators should research the technology before making a decision.

“Make sure you understand how it works and its limitations,” comments Mark Cosgrave, who also emphasises that the choice of technology should not be purely based on budget.

“Choose the best solution, not the cheapest, because it may not give you the result you want,” he states, and refers, amongst other things, to the risk of multiple nuisance alarms.

Improved technology

Nuisance alarms are historically a problem in perimeter security applications. For many years the security industry has hyped certain technologies, like video analytics, and made promises to customers that could not be realised. And that still happens. Or as Jimmy Ek from Axis expresses it:

“If a provider of a perimeter surveillance system promises that you will not receive any false alarms, nor will you miss any real alarms and you don’t even have to configure your system, then they simply are not telling the truth.”

However, Jimmy Ek is also keen on explaining the improvements in the technology over the last ten years.

“If you drive a seven-year-old car and then get in a new car, of course the experience will be different. Today, cameras along with AI video analytics are very good. But yes, you need to choose quality hardware with a lot of processing power, you need light sensitivity and you need to plan your installation. If you do this, then you will experience a solution that just generates a few false alarms, but still not zero false alarms,” he says.

Proactive solutions

David Lenot, from Genetec, points out that there are many different types of technologies for perimeter security that have become available due to falling prices.

“In addition to IP-cameras using video analytics and various types of fences and sensors, there are also thermal cameras, radar and Lidar detection systems suitable for perimeter security solutions, “ he states.

David Lenot also emphasises the difference between “intrusion detection” and systems that track objects.

“Fence alarms, for example, have become much better, and it is also important to be able to track objects with radar or Lidar technology. By tracking the objects both before they reach the fence line and when they have stepped over it, you do not just improve the detection. This is a new paradigm where we try to understand if someone is about to intrude, what happens before that and where is the intruding person heading,” he says.

Lidar technology

Lidar is an abbreviation for “light detection and ranging ”. It is a type of laser sensor that measures distances to objects and maps them via a dot grid which is then read by software.

“Lidar may be new to some people, but it has been used for security applications for more than ten years. Together with cameras and surveillance equipment, it is very effective, not least to create situational awareness. It’s about protecting your plot with several layers,” states Mark Cosgrave, stressing the importance of not just relying on one type of technical solution.

“Don’t do it, because if it doesn’t work, then that’s it. You should have to use several different types of technology within the overall solution,” he says.

Radar technology

Gustav Norvik, from Stanley Security, emphasises that when a camera cannot see far enough, it is more effective to use radar to track the objects and when they get close enough, the camera can focus on them.

“It makes it easier for the operator or end user. With an installed speaker system, they can verbally communicate that they have seen the intrusion and that the offender must leave. In this way, we can use different types of technology together,” he says.

Magnus Cederäng agrees:

“We represent different types of sensors, but I agree with Gustav, the operators need information to act upon and they do not want false alarms. If we can start combining different technologies, I think we can get down to a one percent false alarm rate,” he says.

More proactive in the future

David Lenot believes that it is quality and coverage that are the crucial points, not whether you use cameras, fences, radar or thermal cameras.

“You want to be proactive and see what happens outside your plot boundary and be able to track objects. Being able to position and track objects is crucial,” he states.

Jimmy Ek believes that the installation and design of the solution is very important.

“Today it takes quite a lot, you have to design correctly, you have to plan, you cannot just mount the camera anywhere and believe that it will not give any false alarms. You have to spend time on it.”

Furthermore, Jimmy Ek also believes that the development of AI will facilitate and make many applications better. He sees the development of deep learning for cameras as something very interesting from a perimeter security perspective.

Drone detection still fresh

Drone detection is becoming an important part of perimeter security.

“Perimeter surveillance is about about detecting objects on the ground, and on water, but also in the air. The way you design perimeter monitoring needs to be 360 degrees and you should have a system that can position objects,” claims David Lenot.

Gustav Norvik says that he was present when 17 different drone detection systems were tested at a large Nordic airport.

“Most are based on RF or radar. The combination of RF and radar can be good for determining the position of the drone. However, one problem is what to do when an enemy drone is detected. Shooting it down is associated with legal issues, what happens if it hits a person or property when it crashes? This is something that continues to be discussed,” concludes Gustav Norvik.

Note: This editorial article has primarily been produced for the security trade magazine Detektor in collaboration with

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