Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Reader Comments – Vendor Questions – Temporary Video Surveillance

I started this blog back in 2007, primarily to look at issues related to chemical facility security. Over the years I have had any number of security vendors approach me about their latest and greatest contribution to chemical facility security. Generally speaking, I do not endorse products, I just do not have the resources to properly evaluate some new security tech. I also do not do advertising on this site (I have allowed Google to maintain a small ad on the site which they sell) as I do not want to have to deal with the issues of imagined influence.

But every once-in-a-while a vendor approaches with a piece of security technology that bears discussing from a conceptual point of view. I received one such approach (via LinkedIn, of course) today from a company that is selling portable video surveillance systems. Now video surveillance systems are not new, I even have one looking at my front yard (long story that).

The innovation here is that one of their products consists of a telescoping mast on a small trailer. Multiple PTZ cameras along with directionally controlled lights sit atop the mast and a solar system provides local power to a battery system in the base of the trailer. The whole thing communicates with the Cloud via a cell phone connection and the customer accesses the system via a VPN connection. Motion detection systems allow the system to focus lights and cameras on movement around the installation and automated alerting messages keep the customer apprised of problems on site. You can even get a loudspeaker to give orders to intruders.

Video surveillance systems are a standard part of any facility security program. For the most part chemical facilities are going to mainly rely on hard-wired systems, they are generally more reliable. And more and more of these systems are being equipped with cell phone communication systems, so is this really a viable security tool for fixed facilities?

I can think of any number of temporary situations where a system like this might be a valuable part of a security program. Do you have construction going on near a sensitive area of the facility? One or two of these could be a valuable tool for keeping an eye on contractors that are not cleared for unaccompanied access. Do you have a tree down across a perimeter fence? One of these could provide supplemental coverage while the tree is removed, and the fence repaired. Do you have a major weather disaster? These could give you security coverage during recovery.

If I were designing these systems, I would provide for the addition of chemical detectors that tied into the communication system. This would allow for monitoring at chemical incidents where it would be helpful to be able to detect and monitor chemical releases while observing the incident scene. One last thing, for use in and around chemical facilities, these are going to have to be designed for operations in Class 1 Div 1 areas where flammable atmospheres may exist.

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