Perimeter protection at the cutting edge of security
Tim Compston, Features Editor at SecurityNewsDesk, spotlights some of the innovative approaches which are helping to protect security-critical site perimeters.
Being able to identify threats at the earliest possible stage is a key requirement for effective perimeter protection as too, of course, is the ability to physically prevent unauthorised individuals or hostile vehicles crossing the boundary into a site to steal, cause criminal damage, or even worse. Given these imperatives we take a closer look at the technologies, and approaches, which are providing an edge here, whether that be advanced High Definition (HD) radar, thermal cameras, microwave and fibre optic intrusion detection solutions or even physical measures such as barriers, blockers and bollards.
Placing a figure on the value of the global perimeter security market, Research and Markets has just published a report, focused on the 2015 - 2021 timeframe, which estimates that the market globally will soar to $21 billion ($21,000 million) by 2020. While Research and Markets says that thermal cameras and video analytics are currently the most preferred solutions, it points out that other solutions, such as coax and fibre fence sensors, microwave, seismic sensors and radar, are experiencing significant growth too.
The greater take-up of thermal camera technology for perimeter security can, in part, be attributed to a significant fall in price, especially of uncooled models, which has brought thermal cameras within reach of a much wider range of applications. David Montague, Sales Director - Security for FLIR Systems in Europe, Israel, South Africa, Russia and CIS, certainly feels that thermal is a good fit at sites with extensive perimeters like airports, for example, where there may be a requirement to detect people when they compromise a fence-line: "You need a lot of conventional CCTV cameras compared with thermal cameras to cover the same area," explains Montague.
Beyond the individual thermal cameras themselves, FLIR is setting the pace for smarter perimeter surveillance through FLIR Thermal Fence, a 'multi-dimensional' perimeter security solution which, according to the company, is designed to offer an instant, automated, threat detection and visual threat assessment capability. To achieve this, Thermal Fence combines the capabilities of FLIR's thermal security cameras with its FLIR Sensor Manager (FSM) control and management software. This means that, not only is there the potential with FLIR Thermal Fence to bring together thermal security cameras and to apply thermal video analytics across the perimeter of a site - which is a good capability in its own right, but, to work with inputs from a multitude of IP compatible non-video alarm sensors such as shaker fences, RFIDs, microwave systems, fibre and radars.
On the radar
Walking around Intersec 2016 in Dubai earlier in the year it soon became evident that radar with its 360 degree coverage is extending its footprint for perimeter and site security deployments. Navtech Radar, for example, reported a high degree of interest, amongst visitors, in its new HD (High Definition) radar system. Called AdvanceGuard, according to Navtech Radar, this is able to separate objects that are just 25 cm apart.
Added to this, more video surveillance equipment manufacturers than ever before are seeking to integrate radar with their cameras, a case in point was 360 Vision Technology and its Predator Radar which brings together a radar sensor and a Predator 1080p HD camera to provide perimeter - and wide area surveillance - with a radius of up to 200 metres. The addition of radar of course unlocks the potential for the solution to work in all types of weather conditions.
Another vendor at Intersec 2016 that had its finger on the radar pulse was IndigoVision which was showing a camera plus radar detection concept as an on-stand 'talking point'. Paul Murphy, Head of Marketing at IndigoVision, told me that radar is becoming more attractive as the size of units goes down and the cost starts to reduce as well: "With radar detection it is like having a guard sweep constantly. You now have your intelligence [thanks to the radar] picking up stuff and moving the camera to there to zoom in."
Of course with all of the multiple radars, cameras, and other sensors around large-scale facilities there is a pressing need to integrate the resulting data in a meaningful way. Cambridge Pixel - a developer of radar display and tracking subsystems - recently unveiled a security and surveillance display application, called VSD, which is designed to improve target detection at airports, airbases and coastal facilities such as harbours and naval bases. It incorporates radar/video tracking technology, track fusion as well as support for ship (AIS) and aircraft (ADS-B) transponders to filter out authorised targets and thereby speed threat detection. “This capability allows an operator to quickly differentiate between real threats and legitimate movements,” says David Johnson, CEO of Cambridge Pixel, “This is essential to avoid real incursions becoming ‘lost in the noise’, particularly the growing ‘backdoor’ threat posed by terrorists, smugglers, and pirates at commercial airports and seaports as well as at military airbases and harbours.”
A future for fibre
Turning to fibre optic intrusion detection systems, one of the leaders in this field, Future Fibre Technologies has just secured lucrative perimeter security contracts for two major international airports in the Middle East. FFT Chief Executive Rob Broomfield says: "Airport facilities present a range of security challenges due to perimeter length and the variability of environments around the site. Instances of people climbing over, crawling under or driving through perimeter fences and gates protecting airports are not uncommon.”
Moving on to microwave-based solutions, Southwest Microwave used London's Transport Security Expo in November to showcase a range of performance enhancements to its INTREPID™ Model 316 Digital Microwave Link, including the sensor’s expanded intrusion detection capabilities, nuisance alarm resistance and ability to withstand physical and cyber-tampering or environmental extremes. Model 316 now couples Southwest Microwave’s field-proven RF detection technology with its INTREPID embedded digital signal processing (DSP). This, says Southwest Microwave, maximises the sensor’s ability to discriminate between legitimate intrusion attempts and environmental disturbances or other false targets.
Designed for the protection of fence lines, open areas, gates, entryways and rooftop applications, this advanced, all-weather, CE-rated volumetric sensor has a 122-metre detection range and operates at the K-band frequency enabling detection of slow-moving intruders and limiting susceptibility to interference from external radar or other microwave systems. Martin Lomberg, Southwest Microwave's European General Manager, believes that the Model 316's signal processing is industry-leading: “The sophistication of Model 316’s signal processing to classify disturbances positions this sensor as far superior to any other microwave technology on the market today.”
In another development, Southwest Microwave recently received certification from the United Kingdom’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) for its INTREPID™ MicroPoint™ II intelligent fence-mounted perimeter intrusion detection sensor.
Rapidly deployable CCTV systems are also finding favour to secure sites and to shore-up security gaps. A good example of the type of solutions now on offer is the WCCTV Site Tower from Wireless CCTV Ltd which supports remote monitoring, multiple camera and sensor options, and can be powered by mains, wind and solar or even fuel cell technology. Marketing Manager Daniel del Soldato is an enthusiastic advocate of the WWCTV Site Tower and reports that demand for the company's range of site security solutions has grown by an impressive 27 per cent, year-on-year.
Hostile vehicle mitigation
Of course it is not just about detecting potential security threats, there is a recognition that physical solutions are needed at the perimeter of sites - including transport hubs - to put the brakes on the ever present hostile vehicle threat. A case in point is Townscape Products which is helping to safeguard the newly refurbished Birmingham New Street Station thanks to the installation of 20 bespoke PAS 68 Counter Terror Blocks and three SS PAS 68 planters. The solution balances the need for protection with a desire to create a high quality urban landscape at the base of the hub: "We were determined to provide perimeter protection which was aesthetically pleasing whilst also providing an open yet secure perimeter," says Jonathan Goss, Managing Director at Townscape Products.
The PAS 68 impact tested Compact Terra Barrier from Frontier Pitts is also proving a hit where there is a need for hostile vehicle mitigation on the perimeter. Frontier Pitts says that the hydraulically-driven Compact Terra Barrier, which featured on its Intersec 2016 stand, has been successfully impact tested to stop a 3.5 t vehicle travelling at 48kph (30 mph).
On the frontline
To conclude, it is perhaps not too surprising to see so much innovation being focused on perimeter protection given that it is very much on the frontline of ongoing efforts to keep sites safe and secure.