Over the years, the perimeter security industry has taken a few significant steps in terms of technology. In the past, when discussing perimeter security, we would talk about digging trenches and burying wires around a perimeter. Today, the types of solutions we are talking about look much different.
But despite rapid advancements, professionals and customers still face a major challenge in perimeter security, according to Jammy DeSousa, Senior Product Manager for Security Products at Johnson Controls.
“The biggest nuisance in perimeter security is false alarms,” DeSousa said. “The foremost way to overcome them is simply having a system that lets you know what you care about.”
Driving demand for smarter systems
The issue of false alarms is not something new. In fact, they are more common than most people think and are a major reason for resource wastage. Given the costs incurred, many governments even impose fines on false alarms. All this and the need for cost-effective systems have increased the demand for smarter solutions for perimeter security.
“In the past, technologies available in the market weren’t always cost effective for customers with big geographies,” DeSousa said. “Now the market is bringing perimeter detection technologies to the masses. So, something that was once out of a customer’s price range is presently obtainable. As for false alarms, a lot of attempts using technology have created a higher rate of those instances. Once a system has been proven to be too full of nuisance alarms, it’s ineffective as a tool.”
Must-have solutions for perimeter security
A lot of innovation is happening in perimeter security now. If the technology deployed is not based on the video, alarm verification is the first step in perimeter workflow. So, one of the must-haves for physical security solutions in perimeter protection is having a video management system for the site.
“You can’t assume someone is monitoring a perimeter that is physically near them— they may be monitoring several facilities and campuses,” DeSousa said. “It’s very important to have video and a map of the area for perimeter protection. On the innovation side, perimeters don’t always refer to external boundaries of a physical piece of property.”
The change in the definition of perimeter creates new requirements and possibilities. Significantly, this would depend on the vertical as well. Sometimes a perimeter is a boundary within an area that has specific secure and unsecured areas, like in a hospital.
Factors to consider when protecting perimeter
While the technology itself is becoming more and more innovative, some factors still need to be considered before installing any solution. The size of the application and the geography are the first to check.
“That is, what is going to lead you to understanding the type of technology you should be using, i.e., should you be using AI perimeter technology or legacy technology with buried wires?” DeSousa said. “Perimeter security is not black and white, but understanding the size and complexity of the area,
as well as what the customer is specifically interested in detecting can help decide the most effective solution.”
For example, some areas have to be monitored for a certain level of activity, and being able to filter through what is and is not allowed for activities is very important.
Other challenges to consider
False alarms are a major concern, but other issues limit the effectiveness of perimeter security as well. For instance, DeSousa points out that while radar has definitely become more popular, it could find variations in elevation challenging to cover.
“For this reason, we have to take topography into consideration when applying these kinds of solutions,” DeSousa said. “Artificial intelligence is another solution we’ve seen an increase in demand, as it has come to a point where we can effectively use surveillance cameras to see areas along a perimeter and from there give accurate detection of what the customer cares about, i.e., it’s a person, not a deer. Now we can use video to get a deeper understanding and effective differentiation of objects around a perimeter.”
The perimeter security sector continues to innovate with new technologies making inroads. However, concerns like false alarms persist, creating demand for intelligent solutions that can verify and provide better results. Going forward, we may see this becoming a priority for customers as they try to avoid resource wastage and costs.
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