Whether it’s identifying an intruder, tracking the movements of a fleeing suspect, distinguishing moving objects, or recognizing high-risk areas, video surveillance and video analytics have proven to be valuable tools for utility personnel. However, the truth is, without adequate lighting, none of this video capture would be possible. Let’s look at why lighting plays such an instrumental role in video monitoring and the types of lighting solutions that are most effective for surveillance systems.
The concept that light is needed for video is simple. If a security guard reports a late night break-in at the power station and there is no light source by the perimeter zone, the video recording will be completely dark. The footage will be unusable and first responders will have to start their investigation from scratch.
In the past, lighting has often been overlooked as camera lux rates and HD capabilities took more of the limelight. However, security practitioners have begun to embrace the importance of lighting, utilizing two primary ways of increasing it for your camera.
The first method is to deploy a camera with a built-in light source. This is commonly known as an infrared (IR) camera, consisting of several light-emitting diode (LED) lights surrounding the camera’s lens in a circular fashion. However, as many security managers have found, these infrared cameras have limitations. While integrated lighting can provide decent results for close range monitoring, they are not ideal for long expanses.
Side effects such as “hot spots” are a very common occurrence when it comes to IR cameras. Hot spots occur when a camera’s lens angle is wider than the LED field of view provided. Think of shining a flashlight on an individual in the dark and using that light to take his or her picture. While one specific area will be fully visible in your image (the small circle provided by your flashlight), all elements outside that narrow field will remain indistinguishable. Needless to say, this is not a desirable outcome when looking to increase security with video surveillance.
Other issues that can occur when using a camera with built-in lighting are damage caused by excessive heat build up and the accumulation of insects in or around the camera. LEDs that are fixed inside a camera can accrue heat, attracting insects. This can trigger motion detection sensors, set off false alarms, and cause spiders to spin webs around the camera’s lens, obstructing overall vision and analytic accuracy. Heat build up can also cause erosion of LED lights within the camera, creating irreversible damage and effectively shortening the lifespan of the bulbs. Once these LEDs burn out, there is no way to replace them, which usually means the utility must replace the camera completely in order to fix the problem.
In addition to infrared cameras, security managers can also deploy external illuminators to increase lighting for their surveillance applications. One of the benefits of using an independent IR illuminator is the absence of excessive heat build-up. Each panel is intelligently designed with PCB rows that allow heat to dissipate in all directions, maintaining a desirable internal temperature at all times. Using this kind of strategic structure layout not only deters insects, but also preserves the life of the LED.
Independent illuminators are the ideal option when it comes to coverage, flexibility and bandwidth. Where fixed lights possess only one narrow angle, independent illuminators present a variety of angles that supply higher quality coverage. For instance, when working with a panoramic or PTZ camera, which has a wide field of view, an integrator could install a mounting bracket that holds three, 120-degree illuminators. As a result, there would be 360 degrees of light emission, providing adequate illumination regardless of the angle at which the camera would point.
Regarding camera storage, external lights deployed alongside video cameras provide more benefits than infrared cameras. We are living in an era of security where cameras are capturing more data than ever before, so maximizing storage capacity has become a top priority. When images become too gritty, bitrates can rise rapidly, increasing required bandwidth. Utilizing an external illuminator frees up bandwidth by reducing the amount of image noise, minimizing the required bits transmitted per second and overall data storage needed.
Finally, stand-alone illuminators carry a great advantage in their ability to project and provide light at longer distances. In a facility where infrared cameras with integrated lighting provide 10 degrees of coverage, an object or person can be recorded up to 100 feet. An independent infrared light emitting 10 degrees of illumination can cover over 900 feet, producing more than 9x the average scope of an integrated light.
Taking into consideration all of the aforementioned facts associated with using infrared cameras and cameras used with external illuminators, the choice when comparing the value of lighting is clear. You would not accept a grainy image due to poor lighting for your movies, family photo albums, or even social media photos for that matter. So why would you accept it when it comes to keeping something as vital as a critical infrastructure facility secure? It’s time we stopped taking light for granted and realize its importance when it comes to quality video and images. Without proper lighting, there is no video or reliable analytics.
Home automation systems are becoming sleeker, more intuitive to use and more affordable. What most homeowners don’t realize is that a variety of today’s smart devices that offer added convenience and comfort to the home can also meet some security needs
With increased consumer confidence and demand for both security integrations and smart home features, smart lighting provides customers with an affordable way to add both to their home.
Home technology is becoming a standard for builders and adding lighting controls is a marginal cost compared to a more complex, hardwired automation system.
Homes can be marketed as both a smart home and one with added security benefits. If a customer balks at high-end security systems or homebuilders are looking to save on costs but still provide security elements, smart lighting products like WiFi dimmers, switches and plug-in modules provide low cost of entry and scalability as devices are added.
Not only does smart lighting provide increased security measures while your customers are home, it also gives them the opportunity to remotely access their lighting anytime, anywhere through an app on their smartphone, as long as WiFi is available.
This provides another level of security, as homeowners can schedule lighting “scenes,” or preset commands for group(s) of lights, while they are away for an “at home” look.
Smart lighting apps, like Leviton’s My Leviton app (pictured above), can help ease homeowners’ minds by giving them the option to adjust the lighting or scheduling for their devices on the go.
3. Added Convenience and ‘Cool’
While the technology and benefits of smart lighting controls can speak for themselves, there is something to be said about that “cool” factor that has increased the demand of these devices in recent years.
When you recommend smart lighting controls to your customers, you’re not only providing them with an element of security, but also a new, convenient, trending solution for their residences that can increase their interaction with and value of the homes.
It shows you are on top of tech trends and working as their trusted partner. Bottom line, security industry professionals should have the bigger picture on their mind when educating homeowners on the latest enhancements and connected devices that are available.
The result of the merger of Oberthur Technologies (OT) and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho), the OT-Morpho group became IDEMIA. The group's ambition is to empower citizens and consumers to interact, pay, connect, travel and even vote securely while taking advantage of the opportunities of an increasingly connected world.
"Our future will be built through innovation and disruption which will revolutionise our daily lives. Our vision when we merged OT and Morpho was to build a new offer capable of revisiting the world of digital security. And this is what the creation of IDEMIA has achieved. Thanks to our talented people and the solutions they invent, citizens and consumers can now connect, interact, exchange, pay, travel or even vote in total confidence, drawing on the benefits of a connected world", explained Didier Lamouche, CEO of IDEMIA.
We are very excited to announce we will be moving LRG’s Support Center in the coming months to a larger and more modern facility here in Jasper, Texas. While the modern part is a given since we currently reside in the 105 year old Linton Lanier building in downtown Jasper, the nearby new facility has 7,000 square feet of enhanced capabilites. The building will feature:
More workspace to accommodate a growing staff.
Large dedicated demonstration and training room.
Fiber connectivity for voice, data and remote streaming demonstrations.
Staff lounge and kitchen.
Large warehouse for staging regional events and product rollout.
We are so excited for this new opportunity and we can't wait to tell everyone more! We hope to be moved into our new home by the end of 2017.
TRENDnet's NEW 52-Port Gigabit Web Smart PoE+ Switch is now available!
The TPE-5240WS offers advanced management features with a 104Gbps switching capacity. This rack mountable switch comes with an intuitive web-based interface. TRENDnet is providing you with 48 gigabit PoE+ ports with total power budget of 370W, and 4 shared gigabit ports. Add up to 52 cameras to your network with ONE device!
Don't forget about TRENDnet's upTREND Partner Program that offers you benefits for utilizing their security solutions!
ASIS hosts some of the best vendors in electronic security solutions and over half of the LRG team had the privilege of attending ASIS 2017 in Dallas, Texas.
We here at LRG appreciate every one of our customers for supporting us and our vendor partners. To show that appreciation, LRG gave $100 cash to any customer that ordered $2500+ of LRG products. Two of our reward recipients at ASIS 2017 included:
G&K Security Supply based in Little Rock, Arkansas works with Regional Manager, Brian Geggie and Inside Support, Jacque Hill. Glynn and Kathy Goss, along with Sales Manager Andy Westbrook, have a combined, 40 plus years of experience in the security business. Brian and Jacque enjoy working with the friendly staff at G&K and appreciate the support they have given us. We are proud to give back to them and look forward to working with them for many years to come.
PaceNet based in Sherman, Texas works with Regional Manager, John Swinford and Inside Support, Hannah Ross. John and Hannah enjoy working with Jason Hickman, General Manager of DFW Operations, and Dennis Hickman, Owner of PaceNet. Together, PaceNet and LRG have and will continue to provide complete security solutions for a variety of needs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. LRG appreciates the support Dennis and Jason have provided and is happy to give back to such a great company.
LRG wants to thank our customers for their unparalleled support. We are looking forward to providing quality security solutions and services for many years to come!