Using Video Analytics at Industrial Sites

How changing threats, compliance issues and intrinsic site challenges are furthering the need for automatic video solutions


There is little dispute that intelligent video has found a place at the round-table of well-funded high-security installations. Yet simultaneously, a perception has permeated the security industry that intelligent video is only for the heavyweights of security: the core infrastructure of ports, airports, transit stations, and nuclear power sites.

Early intelligent video developers are partly to blame for this out-of-reach perception because they spent more time on functionality rather than worrying about delivering a usable and simple to install solution for the masses. Early costs of these systems were also well beyond the budgetary reach of many businesses which relied upon private funding rather than federal grants.

Today there are commercially available intelligent video systems that are high-performing and proven, yet designed for simplicity of installation and operation. Despite this, corporate security directors for industrial sites have plodded along traditional routes using timeworn security programs only to be blind-sided by new trends in crime and added responsibilities of security compliance issues.

Popular criminal trends have cropped up, such as scrap metal theft, industrial-plant theft, and frivolous injury claims. On the industrial security front, administrators found their facilities exposed with too many holes because security components deployed for industrial security were not designed for such wide-area detection nor for the added dimension of anti-terrorism.

With limited budgets and a tendency to stay away from complicated solutions, industrial security was without a viable solution for protecting wide-open areas. Faced often with expansive and sometimes labyrinthine sites, not tidy office buildings with easily identified access points, etc. industrial security specialists often relied upon the standard solutions of gates, guards, fences, and when they could, cameras.

New threats arose that targeted materials that previously would not have been considered high-plausibility targets. A good example of this is the problem of scrap metal thieves that cart away everything from railcars, steel rolls, and copper wiring to guard rails and street signs.

But even more threats have become challenges in recent years - industrial security now needs to secure against threats not previously believed to be security issues, including theft of toxic chemicals, biomedical waste, and flammable materials. Such materials in industrial areas are often inhospitable for guard patrols, yet remain accessible to determined intruders. Because of these changing threats, even high-voltage areas and hazmat facilities (once thought to almost be self-protecting by their inherent danger) now need protection.

Despite the obvious problems of traditional security measures, the new demands of industrial security, and the benefits of intelligent video to fill this void, security installers lag behind in offering these more effective systems over the traditional devices they know and love. What lays in the future for security installers is greater demand for intelligent video solutions, especially in the industrial security market where the benefits of intelligent video and the return on investment are substantial.

Cutting Security Costs

The benefits of intelligent video are clear. It watches over areas that are too dangerous for security guards to patrol. It provides the ability to monitor wide areas and detect not just short-range movements, such as an infrared motion detector, but true intruder behavior scenarios. It can differentiate people from small animals, outperforming other sensors that typically cannot tell the difference between the two.

Additionally, new intelligent video edge devices have become available and provide a plug-and-play approach for remote and stand-alone deployment, for example, locations where a dedicated network processing computer or an onsite security guard is not cost effective or logistically possible.

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