Everything around us with a temperature above absolute zero emits thermal radiation. This ranges from living people, like humans and animals, to objects, and even events, like fires. These thermal radiations are typically invisible to the naked eye, but we can see them through the use of thermal imaging cameras. Because of this, thermal cameras are a very useful technology with versatile functions that can be applied to a wide variety of scenarios.
To ensure a thermal camera operates to the best of its ability, the thermal camera should be installed so it has an unobstructed view of the area of interest. Moreover, the background temperature of the area of interest should be even and a different temperature than a typical person or event that may appear in the scene.
Thermal cameras have an amazing ability - they are able to withstand challenging environmental conditions that normal security cameras would typically fail in, making them particularly useful in outdoor applications.
Visual cameras rely on light to produce footage, however, thermal cameras rely on thermal radiation. As a result, thermal cameras are less sensitive to changing lighting conditions, extremely dark scenes, shadows, and heavy backlight. This eliminates the need of floodlights or other types of lighting in dark scenes, lowering light pollution and energy consumption.
Regardless of poor conditions, thermal cameras provide high contrast images 24/7, and can even detect objects that are camouflaged. Not only does this make classifying people and objects with video analytics more reliable, but can also reduce the rate of false alarms.
As well as being resistant to changing lighting conditions, thermal cameras are largely unaffected by adverse weather conditions like visual cameras are. These advanced security cameras can still produce usable footage, no matter if there is fog, smoke, rain, or even snow. Because of this, thermal cameras have the advantage when it comes to detection, making it the perfect camera to provide reliable surveillance 24/7.
Although thermal cameras are largely unaffected by poor weather conditions, they are still impacted. Harsh weather reduces the range the camera can detect, by evening out major temperature differences between objects.
Luckily, thermal cameras are equipped with advanced image processing. These features enable the camera to distinguish objects from each other - even when the temperature difference is small.
Perimeter and Compound Security
Perimeter and compound security encompass an extensive assortment of applications. A major advantage of thermal cameras is that they are just as effective over long distances as they are for short distances. Short-range scenarios include homes, car dealerships and parking lots, and medium-range applications include farms, solar power plants, factories, and even mines. Long-range applications include borders, airports, and railways.
In this type of security, thermal imaging cameras can detect when an intruder crosses a specified line (line crossing) or enters a designated area (intrusion detection) via analytics.
This alerts the user of an intruder before they enter the property. Analytics enables the security camera to detect objects that are far away and classify them. Classification provides the thermal camera with more information about what the object is and its behaviour - whether that be a human, animal, vehicle, or something else entirely.
Once an object enters the perimeter or compound, an alert will automatically be triggered. This activates a PTZ, which tracks the object and simultaneously supplies visual footage to the operator.
Thermal cameras provide reliable detection and produce accurate shape recognition in these applications. As thermal cameras can not identify people, they are suitable in establishments where privacy may be a concern, such as in schools. If identification or visual video is required, thermal cameras can be used in conjunction with other security cameras.
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