Physical Security Has a New Partner: 3D LiDAR
- By Gerald Becker
- September 15, 2022
Physical security is a dynamic concept; it’s not a circumstance in which you can switch on some equipment and call it a day. As time goes on and threats change, it needs routine upkeep, supervision and improvements. Yet this topic falls victim to complacency all too frequently.
The truth is that legacy solutions are flawed because they are insufficient to counteract the threats of the present. It is necessary to adopt a new strategy that can adjust to shifting demands and tackle evolving problems, and LiDAR can play a significant role in this strategy.
As Threats Evolve, Traditional Systems are No Match
Managing physical security is a significant undertaking that’s getting harder. Monitoring, controlling access, and other security measures are necessary for public places, transit hubs, governmental institutions, businesses and other locations. Incidents can be greatly reduced if management and security staff at these institutions are capable of managing physical security.
A common approach to this is a Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) security installation approach, in which multiple cameras feed into a central monitoring station and video management platform. However, these solutions by themselves put facilities at risk because of the limitations of camera-only systems. Potential hazards include false alarms, problems with visibility and tracking, and environmental factors, as well as the difficulty of manually monitoring so many cameras. Additionally, a high number of false alarms might cause security operators to become complacent.
In addition, older systems are often overlooked or not considered for infrastructure scheduled maintenance. This would include upgrades, updates or operational health of the system sensors and components.
It's essential for the day-to-day users of these systems to keep up with security technology advancements in order to reduce new threats to their facilities. This is one of the fundamental components of maintaining a strong security practice.
Bringing LiDAR into the Fold
For the reasons just outlined, false alerts make it harder to find a real breach. You don't want to be worrying about things like a passing deer or a tumbleweed tumbling along; you want a solution that only alerts you to what are likely real problems. That requires a more exact solution that can, say, notify you when someone might be entering the property. Erroneous alerts will always be produced by microwave detectors, buried cable technology and fence sensor technology.
The term LiDAR, which stands for "laser imaging, detection and range" or "light detection and ranging," refers to a type of laser scanning. And though its application to physical security is still in the early phases, it has a great deal of potential. 3D LiDAR offers novel capabilities and resolves many of the drawbacks of earlier technologies.
Better, more comprehensive views are possible with 3D sensing, which has a considerably more sophisticated ability to "see" an area than cameras have. LiDAR sensors produce laser beams that travel in various directions, giving them a 360-degree field of view. With excellent accuracy, these light beams—coupled with LiDAR perception software—can locate and classify objects, as well as determine their speed and direction of movement.
LiDAR Converges with What You Have
Although it can produce acceptable results, traditional security approaches aren’t as precise or effective as LiDAR. LiDAR adds value: It increases, rather than detracts from, the value of your camera investment. It's a complementary technology that increases the utility of your current tools and provides you with more information to improve your security environment as a whole.
LiDAR can automate and enhance video-based security systems by integrating with a number of video management systems and using rich 3D object data. The sensors allow security experts to rapidly locate and track any potential security threats, and easy automation of other security resources is made feasible by PTZ slew to cue capabilities direct to cameras or through the video management system (VMS).
For instance, the system can activate the appropriate camera(s) and alert security personnel when LiDAR sensors detect a potential threat, so they don’t have to locate which camera has the information they need. Instead, the feed will immediately appear on their primary monitors. Thanks to the integration of the video management system (VMS), pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras may also be placed automatically where the action is, saving effort, time and error. Fewer cameras might be needed because they can be automatically moved to places of interest. Security professionals can easily recognize and keep an eye on potential dangers with the use of LiDAR sensors and automated camera positioning.
A New Partner in Physical Security
Because of the underlying technology, LiDAR systems can offer critical insights that conventional camera systems cannot. Traditional security solutions won't cut it in today's world because physical security threats are constantly evolving. Managing these growing risks can overburden leaders, especially if they are still relying on legacy technologies. LiDAR offers a novel method for protection of people, property, and physical assets. For increased efficiency, accuracy and peace of mind, your physical security shortlist should include LiDAR-based security solutions.
This article originally appeared in the September / October 2022 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.