The security and surveillance industry is one which has been in demand since time immemorial. What has evolved of course is the tools and technologies used in surveillance.
Until recently, the surveillance industry was limited to a traditional set of technologies which prevented it from going to the next level. CCTV cameras provide static video surveillance as they are set up in one place and can cover only a limited area. Moreover, manpower intensive security systems have a poor ROI and are also prone to human error.
However, today there is massive potential for improvement in security systems by integration of drones into the video management system. Here are the top reasons why drones should be a part of your VMS (video management system). In a recent blog post, Puretech Systems elaborated on some of the major benefits of using drones in surveillance systems. Here we present a summary of the write-up.
Progress in drone technology
In the past few years, the progress in drone technology has made integration of drones into surveillance systems a real possibility. Although drones have been around for many decades now, it has only been in recent years that significant advances have been made in reducing the size and increasing the efficiency of drones.
Inadequate ROI from traditional surveillance technology
Traditional CCTV based video management systems combined with manpower intensive techniques like patrolling result in poor ROI. Static feed with limited coverage from the CCTV video means that potential for damage is still very high. This makes drones a very attractive option.
Superior video surveillance
Drones can use devices like thermal and night vision cameras to provide video surveillance which is far superior to both human vision and a CCTV camera. Drones may also have additional features like AI-based person and object tracking and aerial views.
Dispatch to alarm capability
One of the major reasons why traditional security systems don’t work as well as needed is because when an intrusion takes place, the first responders don’t have enough information so that they can come prepared. Drones solve this problem with their dispatch to alarm feature.
Modern Video Management Systems (VMS) are based on geospatial or map-based technology. A modern VMS can thus detect the geographic coordinates of an intrusion from video cameras, radars, fence or proximity sensors. They can then send the drone to this location where the alarm has been raised. This allows the drone to take superior quality videos of the intrusion in real-time. This helps first responders get a better picture of the situation from a remote location and come better prepared to the scene of the intrusion.
Flexibility in surveillance of different locations
Drones are great for monitoring in rugged locations where sensors can’t go. Moreover, if an intrusion is suspected and visual confirmation is required then drones can service that request. This means that more areas can have non-video sensor alarms such as radar, GPS, or fence systems.
Drones can also be used to supplement your VMS when there are special events such as a VIP visitor or a company event. In such special situations, different areas may require surveillance. Drones are great for additional surveillance so that you can avoid setting up a short-term surveillance system.
Video analytics and tracking
Drone cameras have video analytics which allows them to detect intrusions, classify target, count objects and raise alarms. This is possible in both hover and flight mode. Features such as advanced gimbals, intelligent camera control, and software stabilized video help in better viewing as well as improved video analysis. Moreover, drones also use PTZ follow algorithms. This allows the drone camera to keep the target at the centre of the camera’s field even when in motion.
One of the major disadvantages of having traditional security systems is the dependence on human patrolling which can be expensive and unreliable. Drones have flight plans which can be pre-programmed into them. This means that a drone can complete a predetermined patrol route at a given time every day. The algorithms that the drone technology uses allow the drone to patrol the route and manoeuvre obstacles without any damage. Operators can also fly drones through custom patrolling routes whenever needed.
This has two advantages:
- Drones can be used to survey territories which are too dangerous for humans.
- Drones can be a substitute for human patrolling where manpower is expensive or not consistently available.
Following the intruder after a security breach
Drones are now available in micro sizes as well. This is particularly useful as they can continue to follow the intruder even after the breach has occurred. They can go into the smallest crevices and keep a continuous eye on the target. Again, this provides valuable footage for the first responders who are at a remote location.
So how can you integrate a drone into your VMS
While ordering the drone itself is a simple enough task, it is important to make sure that the drone can be integrated with your VMS. This means that the drone should be capable of performing certain critical functions.
- The video from the drone should be coming live directly to the VMS
- Basic drone commands should be getting issued from the VMS
- The VMS should be capable of tracking the drone
- The dispatch to alarm function of the drone should work via the VMS
Regulatory grey area
You do need to exercise some caution when it comes to using drones for your security system. The drones technically come under the jurisdiction of aviation authorities, for example, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in the United States. This means that there may be some regulatory hurdles when it comes to waivers and operational allowances. The Indian government has also come up with similar mandates on the use of drones.
At the same time, as the use of drones becomes more and more commonplace regulations will get amended accordingly. The bottom line remains that drones are an addition to your VMS that can take your surveillance system to the next level. So, they are definitely worth investing in and integrating as soon as you can.