Thermal imaging cameras for home security
FLIR SR-Series: an affordable and environmentally friendly solution.
All over the world the perimeters of industrial parks, airports and harbors are being protected with the help of thermal imaging cameras from FLIR Systems, but the security solution big companies choose to protect their assets can be used for home security as well. Extremely affordable, maintenance free and environmentally friendly, FLIR thermal imaging cameras can be the ideal security solution for home protection.
A very good example of this fact is an estate near Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, the United Kingdom. The estate has been secured by FLIR integrator Case Security. Andrew Herridge, Operations Director at Case Security, explains why the owner of the estate opted for thermal imaging cameras. “FLIR thermal imaging cameras need no light to function and are incredibly dependable.”
Case Security provides electronic security solutions for commercial markets and a limited number of high-end domestic customers. They deploy state-of-the-art technologies to control, deter and monitor their clients’ premises, including FLIR thermal imaging cameras.
No light needed whatsoever
Unlike other night vision systems, thermal imaging cameras detect the thermal radiation that is around us all the time, translating it into a visual image. This means that FLIR thermal imaging cameras deliver 24/7 imaging capability regardless of lighting conditions. And that’s not all: thermal radiation penetrates atmospheric obscurants better and farther than visible light, allowing you to see what’s out there through haze, smoke, dust and even light fog.
The FLIR SR-Series thermal imaging cameras include the most advanced thermal imaging technology available on the market today, but in a user friendly package. The FLIR SR-313 thermal imaging cameras incorporate an uncooled Vanadium Oxide microbolometer detector producing crisp 320 x 240 pixels thermal images. Advanced internal camera software called Digital Detail Enhancement enhances these images further, to ensure that even the smallest of details can be seen.
Conventional CCTV cameras rely on color contrast to provide enough information for the viewer to detect a threat. Even at moderate ranges, weak contrast can render these cameras useless. Thermal cameras do not have this limitation. “The contrast on a thermal image is usually much bigger, due to the difference in temperature between a person and his surroundings”, explains Mr. Herridge. “That means that generally speaking you can detect a person with a thermal imaging camera at a larger distance.”
Excellent range performance
Equipped with a 35 mm lens the FLIR SR-313 thermal imaging cameras can detect a human size target at 780 meters and a small vehicle at over 2 kilometers. Due to this excellent range performance only a few FLIR SR-Series thermal imaging cameras are needed to monitor the entire estate. “We’ve installed six FLIR SR-313 thermal imaging cameras on the highest parts of the house that cover all of the land that comes with the estate.”
These six thermal imaging cameras and several CCTV cameras are combined in a TCP/IP network. “The images from all of the sensors in the TCP/IP network, including the FLIR SR-313 thermal imaging cameras can be accessed from every television screen in the house.”
Powerful FLIR software
To manage the network, Case Security installed the FLIR Sensor Manager software. Whether to protect a large industrial park, an airport, a harbor or a residential building like the estate in Buckinghamshire, FLIR Sensors Manager offers powerful and efficient management capabilities for any security installation that includes FLIR Systems thermal imaging cameras. Not only does FLIR Sensors Manager allow the user to automatically locate all FLIR Systems thermal imaging cameras in the network and to easily control them, it can also be used to control a wide variety of other sensors.
“We use the powerful FLIR Sensors Manager software to ensure that any occurrences are immediately brought to the owner’s attention”, explains Mr. Herridge. “FLIR Sensors Manager contains a Video analytics module with Video Motion and Target Detection. The user can place virtual trip wires and other triggers. If the system detects that someone is entering the perimeter a silent alarm will go off and the images that caused the alarm will be shown on the screen so the user can immediately see if it really is a trespasser or an ‘unwanted’ alarm. In the case of a real intrusion further action, such as calling the police for example, can be taken immediately.”
“All of the images are also constantly recorded on hard drives for future use, to present it to the police for instance”, continues Mr. Herridge. “If nothing out of the ordinary occurs the video files are discarded after a week. If the owner manually overrides this or if an alarm is triggered the files are preserved until the owner decides to discard them.”
Monitoring the alpacas’ behavior
In this case, however, the owner also has another use for the FLIR SR-313 thermal imaging cameras, according to Mr. Herridge. “The owner keeps alpacas, small lama-like animals from South America that produce a fur that’s somewhat similar to sheep’s wool. These animals are quite an investment, for they usually do not come cheap, so he uses the FLIR SR-313 thermal imaging cameras to check whether his alpacas are behaving normally. He says he can quite easily see if one of them has escaped or if some of them show different behavior.”
Installing the cameras was easy, according to Mr. Herridge. All SR-Series can be easily connected to common power and video interfaces found in existing and new security systems. They can be easily integrated into any existing CCTV infrastructure and the images from the thermal imaging camera can be displayed on virtually any existing display that accepts composite video.
No maintenance needed
Even more important is the FLIR SR-Series’ low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),
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