Improving Perimeter Intrusion Detection With Multiple Technologies

As I performed my daily review of the SSI Web site, I noticed a comment on a blog I posted last week on outdoor perimeter protection. The remark called me to task for not mentioning the other technologies used in effectively securing a perimeter.

I welcomed the feedback with open arms. After all, my goal is to help integrators learn and improve their skills, and while doing so, I can pick up some knowledge along the way. So, I reached out to my commenter, Lloyd Rimland, northeast regional sales manager for Takex, a provider of photoelectric infrared (IR) beams, motion sensors, microwave sensors and flame detectors. Rimland has served in the electronic security industry for 12 years and has worked for companies such as ADI, ASG Security and Sonitrol. Read on as he addresses what integrators can do to help end users protect their valuable assets.

Do you feel end users are mostly being provided ineffective or substandard perimeter protection?

Lloyd Rimland: I think perimeter protection can certainly be more successful. I think a lot of the integrators are new to perimeter security and don’t understand what it’s all about. The less experienced or less initiated integrator might be inclined to settle for less effective technology, which in turn can lead to a less secure system. They have relied on CCTV for the past 10+ years because it is “sexy.” Having only a camera system in place for security does not deter that many people. Think about it: how many times have you seen a story about a break-in or robbery where the camera has picked up the suspect? The perpetrator can simply hide his face, wear a mask and avoid identification. The job of an outdoor perimeter protection system is to give an early warning. Camera systems by themselves have limitations.

What do you think integrators need to do to deploy an effective system for end users?

LR: It’s so important for integrators to know the capabilities of the technologies they plan on using. Additionally, when doing a site survey, integrators need to ask various questions before determining what the best solution will be for the end user. For example, what type of facility is it? Is it in use 24 hours a day? What kind of issues is the end user having? What is the crime like in the area? What are the facility’s high impact areas?

In your opinion, what makes an efficient perimeter protection system?

LR: The most effective systems include multiple technologies. They complement each other and give a layered approach to the perimeter security system. For example, in a heavy fog location, microwave technology combined with, say a photoelectric infrared sensor can provide effective coverage. Since photoelectric infrared sensors can be affected by heavy fog, a microwave sensor, which is not affected, can be used in combination to provide a “back-up” of sorts. Another example is one in which there was an electric fence installed, plus photoelectric IR beams, plus a camera system. Once past the electric fence, the potential thieves will cross the path of the beams that will signal the cameras, which will turn on the infrared lighting system, which will signal the DVR that will send a signal to the alarm system.

How can integrators determine the type and number of detectors to install around the perimeter?

LR: Too often, integrators have tunnel vision and think one type of detector or sensor can cover an entire area when, in fact, a better and more cost effective way might be available by combining technologies. While it is nice to be able to use one technology on a project, too many times the cost is driven up because a more effective way of protecting the area is available. For instance, instead of using five or six outdoor motion detectors to cover a fence line of 300 feet, why not simply use a photoelectric infrared beam to cover the same area? This would be less expensive to the end user, easier to install and service if needed and provide a more stable line of protection.

Let’s talk about false alarms. How can end users and integrators combat them?

LR: Well, it’s a little tougher, especially when you’re dealing with the outdoors and motion sensors. So many things can affect the motion sensor, like birds or direct sunlight. Integrators should look for products that have sensitivity and masking capabilities.

Some of the other technologies, like photoelectric IR beams, have come a long way. It’s very old technology itself, but there have been advances in the circuitry, not so much the programming, but just in the way that they operate. As for fences, if it’s a very windy day and the fence is not secure, the vibration will cause a false alarm. You have to make sure that the fence is very secure at the poles so that there is not a lot of the rattling or moving if it’s windy. So, combatting false alarms is always a consideration as well when you’re trying to come up with the best solution for an area.

Is there anything else you would recommend for integrators?

LR: Training is the key. Knowing the technologies, products and solutions available for use are critical. There are several opportunities for training at ISC West, ISC Solutions and ASIS. Then, there are distributors such as ADI and Tri-Ed/Northern Video that have expos and roadshows throughout the country. Of course, manufacturers offer training as well.

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