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Can external detection supplement CCTV?

by Andy Clutton

It is fair to say that external detection systems haven’t always had a fair reputation in the market. With wildlife affecting the performance of the early systems on the market in terms of unwanted triggering it is no surprise that in recent times some have opted for external CCTV rather than detectors. However those days are gone and systems on the market today reliably offer early warning detection and alerts for external security purposes and can supplement and improve upon installations that rely solely on CCTV for protection.

We caught up with Mike Burgess, EMEA Sales Manager at Takex Europe, to find out more about the use of external detection and how combining it with CCTV is an option that installers should be considering.

When it comes to security, CCTV is often the first port of call. Do you have any concerns about that?

Fifteen years ago, I was told that my job would be redundant within five years because video analytics were going to take over the world! I was told that my product, which is very much what I would consider the bread and butter of the security industry, would be obsolete yet only last week, I had a meeting with a company that specialises in rapid deployment CCTV coming to me looking for triggers. Even though they are at the top of their game, they realise and recognise the need for my type of product to actually fill in the gaps where their products are being used.

What we have seen in the market is a huge influx of home CCTV and if you walk down the average road you see that about 20% of houses have got cameras. CCTV is an everyday sight now – if you went back ten years and had cameras on your house, people would question why it was needed, but we know that even having a cheap camera on your house is a deterrent. I’ve always said that my detection solution does not solve a problem; what it does is it stops it being your problem.

External perimeter detection used to get a bit of a bad rep because people saw it was triggered by foxes and moving bushes. So how have you overcome all of those issues?

It has been purely by education. I’ve written a guide, which explains how a passive infrared detector works. In the guide I’ve equated it to a menu in that you could go and spend less than a bag of chips on a PIR all the way up to a bottle of wine costing 1500 euros on a single device. There has to be a reason for that but also there is huge difference between internal and external detection. Internally you can spend the cost of your bag of chips on a PIR and it will work because you’re in a controlled environment and maybe if you step up to the cost of a Big Mac you can buy one that is pet immune if required. As soon as you go outside, even your Big Mac level detector is going to have a problem, so now you need to go up to Pizza Express levels!

So product choice is key?

Absolutely and a case in point involves my biggest market of South Africa where if somebody breaks into your house and you are in at the time, there is a more than evens chance that you’re going to die. So when we put protection outside, people need to know it works because if it keeps going off, either they’re going to keep thinking that somebody is coming on to the property, or the armed response team is going to get fed up coming out and will withdraw the service. So we have a solution that I introduced in 2005 and now have over 3 million products fitted and trusted.

One of the biggest issues they have is with wildlife. They have these huge birds called Hadedas that come round in packs looking for the food left outside for guard dogs. These huge birds will set off most PIRs, but they won’t set ours off if it’s set up correctly. That is why I say it is all about education and understanding that you cannot just take a basic indoor product, put it outside and expect it to work. Companies like ours who can design products specifically for certain environments come in to our own in such situations and we can be sure the technology will do exactly what it needs to.

Read the full interview in the March edition of PSI magazine or listen to it in the PSI Security News podcast here


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