Sensor Fusion: The Benefits of Taking Perimeter Security to the Next Level
When it comes to protecting the perimeters of important sites, not all technologies are created equal. A layered approach, which is common, ensures that if one technology misses a security threat, another technology captures it. Taking this approach to the next level is sensor fusion. By using sophisticated machine learning techniques, it combines inputs from many different sensor types to identify security threats intelligently and reliably. Its benefits are many including the fact that it can be added to existing perimeter security infrastructure.
In this second blog in our sensor fusion series, we discuss the many benefits that this technology brings to a security portfolio. If you’re new to the concept of sensor fusion for perimeter security, we encourage you to first read our first blog.
Defeated Nuisance Alarms
One of the biggest challenges in perimeter security is nuisance or false alarms. This is an important problem to address as it can waste resources by distracting system operators and needlessly deploying security teams.
Sensor fusion defeats nuisance alarms. By synthesizing data from separate inputs, a sensor fusion system distinguishes true intrusion events from other system “noise” such as weather conditions, moving vegetation, nearby pedestrians, or curious animals.
Improved Probability of Detection
The opposite of avoiding nuisance alarms is ensuring legitimate threats don’t get overlooked. But fine-tuning system sensitivity between these two extremes is very difficult to do. A highly sensitive system is susceptible to false alarms while a minimally sensitive system may miss real security threats.
A perimeter security system with sensor fusion uses raw data from multiple sensor types to validate its conclusions. This allows operators to set each sensor to maximum sensitivity without increasing the possibility of nuisance alarms, making the system very sensitive to real threats when they do occur.
Increased Confidence in Security Systems
Operator confidence in a security system is critical to its efficient functioning. If there are too many nuisance alarms, operators come to expect them and are therefore less alert when a real security event occurs. Operators may even ignore some of these events. This can erode everyone’s confidence in the system.
Since sensor fusion differentiates between threats and non-threats in real time, operators come to trust the system. They quickly discover that when their system gives a warning, it is a real event.
Direct and Indirect Cost Savings
The ability for a sensor fusion security system to defeat nuisance alarms saves money. Most directly, it negates the expense involved in sending security personnel to investigate and resolve all reported incidents. This reduces costs whether the security team is composed of employees or contractors but can be especially true when there are higher rates for incident pay and when investigations require overtime.
Another cost reduction is from lower insurance costs. This is due to the better performance of the system and improved ability to catch problems as they occur, leading to less likelihood of issues and better security track records. This improved performance leads to lower premiums.
Finally, there are fewer costs with a sensor fusion security system due to the decrease in vandalism, property losses, and liability when intrusion attempts are thwarted.
Single Vendor Accountability for Performance
Because security systems that use sensor fusion require access to the internal low-level data of every sensor to work effectively, they typically require all sensors to come from the same security vendor. This has a non-obvious side benefit in that it has a single party accountable for the entire system’s behavior and performance. There is no passing the blame if the system has performance issues.
Simplicity of Installation
A sensor fusion system with its various sensors is designed to work as a whole and as a result, doesn’t require as much site-specific tuning as alternative systems. For example, security systems that use Boolean logic typically need to be specifically configured to combine the outputs of each camera and fence segment. These systems may need a lot of tinkering of sensitivity levels to distinguish between false alarms and important events. More on this subject in our next blog post.
Confusion with Integration
In the next post of our sensor fusion series, we’ll talk about the current confusion between Boolean logic integration and sensor fusion – how they are different and what to watch for when evaluating this new technology.