License Plate Recognition Technology Aces Security Test on Campuses

Arguably the most effective video analytic technology on the market today, ALPR brings far better security for college campuses, particularly with its “new school” methods.

Analytics Adds to ALPR Appeal
The rise in camera-agnostic and easily deployed ALPR is happening concurrently with the proliferation of citywide video surveillance systems. Many cities and municipalities are realizing that networks of strategically placed surveillance cameras are the most comprehensive way to keep a constant lookout.

More and more of these networks are springing up on campuses too. But just like cities, educational institutions are recognizing the need for advanced video analytics to supplement monitor-and-record functionality. ALPR analytic capabilities added to these surveillance solutions are working to identify vehicles entering the campus belonging to wanted persons and immediately notifying law enforcement when such vehicles are found.

ALPR-based analytics can provide many other services for campuses. With properly placed cameras, persons parking in unauthorized lots can be detected automatically and notifications sent to enforcement officers. The system can be used to control access to the campus based on license plates. Furthermore, it can detect suspicious movement patterns just outside the perimeter such as circling. These alerts can be sent directly to campus security or police.

ALPR allows campuses at any given point to know exactly how many vehicles are on campus, to whom they are registered and what potential behaviors can be associated with a vehicle and its driver. In the future, new identifiers will automatically be captured, such as vehicle type (e.g. car, van, truck). Knowledge and situational awareness are key to keeping campuses safe from known or unknown threats (and if security integrators need to further sell it, ALPR even provides a potential source of revenue from the ticketing of vehicles that violate campus parking regulations).


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Even More Benefits to Come
In the very near future, campuses, as well as other users of ALPR, will have access to a major new development: high-definition (HD) ALPR. Until now, ALPR solutions made use of what could be referred to as “standard-definition” cameras; that is, cameras with about the same or slightly higher resolution than an NTSC television. To reliably perform ALPR with such cameras, they had to be zoomed in tightly enough that the plate image took up a significant portion of the frame. In addition, such cameras could only effectively capture a single plate at a time.

As HD has become the standard, such cameras are also more affordable. This is a tremendous advantage for ALPR and for end users. The next generation will be capable of processing video at resolutions up to 4K, meaning the capture of multiple plates from the same image will be possible. It also means cameras do not need to be zoomed as far and allows for wider-area coverage. That translates to being able to cover the same area with far fewer cameras – a savings not only in cost but also in footprint, appealing to stakeholders.

Not all ALPR solutions o
ffer fully comprehensive feature sets. It’s important for an integrator to ask the prospective ALPR manufacturer for a live demo of their solutions using the client’s chosen cameras. By selecting the right technology, students and faculty can have the peace of mind that they have the best protection the marketplace has to offer.

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Bio: John Chigos is the CEO of PlateSmart Technologies.

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