Vision systems are traditionally used either as a record of a crime that can be used to aid prosecution or to alert on-site security guards, or off-site police, to a break-in or act of vandalism. Whilst this helps to catch the perpetrator, it doesn't change the fact that an incident has already occurred.
The time between incidents and intervention by security guards can also be large; indeed the UK's West Midlands' Police Force, one of the largest in the UK, recently announced its response time for priority calls is between 30 and 60 minutes.
However, advances in image quality, computer processing capabilities, internet connection speeds and video analysis algorithms are beginning to enable remote systems that can detect a likely event and intervene to prevent a break-in from occurring in the first place.
One of the first such systems to be developed comes from The Pebble Group, a Dutch security vision systems manufacturer. The Breda based company has created the Crime Buster system, a proactive security system for use outside a building or compound that combines the Sony FCB-EX985E/P, a high-resolution, wide-angle camera for use in low light conditions, with integrated infrared illumination and integrated audio for remote intervention.
Incidents are detected automatically using Pebble Group's proprietary algorithms running on images outputted from a statically mounted camera. Upon detecting a likely intrusion the system alerts an operator in a remotely located control room who is trained to intervene and de-escalate the situation. Video and audio is streamed over an IP network.
"We use a static camera for the initial detection as this eliminates the possibility of a criminal hiding in a moving camera's blind spot, and we use a motorized version of the Crime Buster, connected through IP to the static cameras, as remote guarding system. The total system follows our DVRI process of detection, verification, remote intervention," said Pascal Broers, business development manager at Pebble.
"This means that we need both an exceptional image quality and exceptional field of view. The system's camera delivers both and allows the Crime Buster to function as an extension of a control room operator, letting him to act as if he were an on-site security guard and scare off the perpetrator by remote intervention."
The FCB-EX985E/P uses an interlaced scan ¼-type Super HAD CCD II sensor to deliver high resolution images to a digital output. The camera module includes a 28x zoom lens and incorporates Sony's StableZoom(TM) technology. It operates in low light conditions, (to 0.25lx) and the image quality at these levels can be further enhanced via the combined 2D/3D superior Enhanced Noise Reduction capability - with 5 levels. Full details are available at http://www.image-sensing-solutions.eu/fcb_ex985e_ep.html
After a year in development the system is now undergoing beta testing with Pebble's clients and is expected to launch to the market in 2013.