Susan Brady: The sale and installation of outdoor perimeter security equipment often requires a different skill set than interior protection. Can you offer dealers some tips and pointers that they should follow to ensure that all components of the installation work to the correct specifications and are the right solution for the customer?
Bill Evenson, Vice President, Future Fibre Technologies: Historically, the outdoor perimeter intrusion detection systems (PIDS) business has always been one of some risk to the installer if not approached carefully and of great value-added reward when done well. History has also shown us that simply taking the technology solutions and installation techniques more widely used for interior applications and applying them outdoors rarely results in a successful project.
Three major developments have really revolutionized the outdoor sensor space. Interestingly, all three are direct responses by the sensor manufacturers to the higher demands and expectations of the users; and, as always of course, to the quest for lowered labor and infrastructure costs.
The most meaningful development to date is probably the application of sophisticated software algorithms to the signal processors. They analyze the myriad of “normal” outdoor events such as rain and wind and are now able to classify these signals as non-alarms. In some systems, these constantly evolving software techniques have now significantly lowered the rate of dreaded “false” or nuisance alarms to very acceptable levels and in some cases even eliminated them. This evolution alone has given some of the more mature outdoor technologies such as outdoor infrared and microwave (which suffered for years from a poor outdoor reputation) new life.
In the case of fence mounted cable-type sensors, military applications of these algorithms set the stage for a whole new class of fiber optic fence mounted sensors that require virtually no power or electronics infrastructure anywhere along the perimeter with all of the obvious benefits. As costs have lowered, these technologies have become more affordable and mainstream.
Gary Buth, Director of Technical Sales, Security Sensor Division, Takex America, Inc: Understanding the primary threat or concern a customer has is crucial to system design and specification. What types of weather will the sensors need to endure?
Each sensor has a specific function and detection capability, stay within the product's recommended range of operation. Each product or technology has its own strength and weakness, choose the best performance value of a sensor or technology based on the application.
If the customer wants to detect vehicle or equipment movement in or out of a specific area then a simple photo beam system may be sufficient. If there is a strong need for detection of people then a combination of perimeter devices may be required, such as outdoor motion sensors and photoelectric beams, even a fence system.
Verify all wire and cabling requirements as well as acceptable power supply voltage. Make sure that each sensors relay outputs meet the needs of the system type and control panel they are to be integrated with.
Scott Simmons, Eastern Regional Manager - Outdoor Solutions, Optex Inc: The most important thing to find out is what the customer wants to protect and what they expect the system to do. Similar to an interior system, there is no “cookie cutter” solution that fits all outdoor perimeter applications, but there are some things that need to be decided before proposing a system.
Is there a defined perimeter border that needs to be protected, or is area coverage more suitable? Are there elements within the area that might restrict the ability to use certain technology (i.e. inability to get a clear line of sight for photobeams, moving items which might affect motion detectors, ability for animals to enter the area, etc.)? Is the system going to be responded to by the police, or by a local/on-site guard? Is there CCTV which can be integrated to provide video verification of what caused the alarm?