Thermal imaging has started to make a serious effort to enter the commercial security market. Its usefulness might no be evident right up front. Why would you want to use a technology that doesn’t allow you to identify anyone for security applications?
The first answer to that question is that identification isn’t the only use for a video security system. Sometimes, depending on the application, detection is sufficient. It may be that other cameras may be used supplemental to the thermal to offer more detail, or the conditions may not allow the use of other cameras, and this is all you can do (rough terrain, inclement weather, etc).
Another important thing to remember is that security isn’t necessarily the only use for video. I’ve spoken before in my column about expanding your offerings beyond the traditional security model.
I heard a story once about a thermal camera being shown as a demo on a customer site. As the vendor was panning the thermal camera around, the customer was impressed, but as he panned across one particular building, the customer stopped him. “What is that line along the building there?” the camera operator was asked. As he looked at it, the vendor told the customer, “That is heat being detected along the wall of the building.”
The customer immediately jumped on his phone and spoke frantically to the person on the other end. The customer told the vendor that the heat escaping wasn’t supposed to be, and that building was supposed to have been sealed tight across that particular area. The customer told him he just saved him $50,000 per month in energy bills.
He bought the system.
Thermal imaging as an integration tool can open up many opportunities you may not have encountered yet. I’d be curious to hear in the comments what types of applications have been good uses for thermal.