Heat vision technology strives for inclusion in security installations. Long considered a stumbling

Remember how high retail prices were when home video cassette recorders first came on the market? How about compact disc players? Or, even after a few years of maturing as a product, remember how VCRs and CD players were still priced well beyond the $200 mark, making the investment reasonably sizable?

If you go to your local electronics store today, is it tough to find a decent VCR or CD player for around $100 or even less? Not at all. It is true, as technology advances and becomes more accessible, the prices for what were once considered luxuries make these products staples on the market.

In 1990, thermal imaging camera technology, which sees objects based on the infrared heat they radiate, had yet to produce a product for the security industry. Thermal imaging technology was developed and used exclusively in the early 1990s for military security uses. Five years later, the first commercial product, a small camera designed for law enforcement use on vehicles, arrived on the market.

The main problem with this new and valuable technology has always been price. Like any new product, the prices have been staggeringly high, even reaching into six figures for a single system. Today, even with a number of products available for commercial security and law enforcement purposes, thermal products have still only made a strong push into the military market.

However, due to a number of factors, including technological advancements and market opportunities, especially in long-range security and fire applications, prices for these devices are becoming more reasonable. And, according to many industry experts, as well as those who have had experience installing systems, the price point is poised to drop even lower in the near future.

This market is one that is wide open for installers who want to get involved. Currently, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for large producers, such as Raytheon and Lockheed, are also doing product installations. These OEMs have farmed out some work to security installers who can handle the technology, but many say they are seeking to educate even more installers to integrate thermal imaging deeper into the commercial security market.

Thermal Technology Creates True ‘0 Lux’ Cameras

The history of thermal imaging technology on the commercial market is a brief one. Initially, when the use for this technology was driven by the government’s desire for military installations, thermal imaging was not a fully developed technology. One reason for the ultra-high costs at the advent of the technology was that the systems, since they were reading radiated heat, had to be cooled to cryogenic temperatures to work properly.

Pricing Presents Thermal Imaging’s Biggest Hurdle

While the technology involved in most thermal imaging devices is not overly daunting to installers who are considering breaking into the market, the product’s pricing can be overwhelming to a dealer accustomed to installing regular CCTV systems.

Education Is Key to Security Installer Involvement

While many of the companies involved in the market not only manufacture but also install thermal cameras, most are seeking to involve security companies in the process.
Not only has the product become easier to install, but many OEMs are specifically seeking out security dealers to take over the installing work.

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