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Want to Protect Critical Infrastructure? It’s Time to Switch from 2D to 3D

August 24, 2022  |  EnzoSignore

Is our critical infrastructure fully protected? Are our security systems guaranteed to accurately detect intruders 24/7, day or night, and under any weather conditions? Can our guard personnel effectively distinguish between real threats and false alarms? These are some of the key questions that chief security officers and their teams are trying to answer in the face of mounting threats to their physical assets. 

The worldwide market for physical security is estimated to be worth almost $117 billion, but until now, it’s been dominated by 2D-based legacy technologies, such as CCTV and PTZ cameras, which – at best – give customers only a small view of the world they need to protect. Relying on two-dimensional images to secure a three-dimensional world isn’t a viable strategy. 

The critical nature of security

Critical infrastructure security is a difficult task. Sixteen critical infrastructure sectors have been identified by the U.S. government as being “so vital to the United States that their inability or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security [and/or] national public health or safety.” This covers a wide range of facilities, such as nuclear reactors, data centers, prisons, energy substations, water sources, steel mills and laboratories. Analysts at Gartner, Inc. predict that by 2025, 30% of critical infrastructure organizations will experience a security breach that results in “the halting of an operations- or mission-critical cyber-physical system.” While most of the prevailing conversations around critical infrastructure security have focused on cyber attacks, that doesn’t mean that physical security can take a back seat.

The main issue with protecting vital infrastructure is that there can’t be too much security. Cutting corners here isn’t acceptable. You must make sure that no intruders slip in through the cracks.

The status quo must go

A central monitoring station and video management platform are the main components of traditional security systems, which also include multiple cameras. The limitations of camera-only systems – such as visibility concerns, environmental conditions, false alarms, poor tracking and the difficulty of manually monitoring all those cameras – make these solutions ineffective and costly.

The sensors are typically 1D or 2D – and their fundamental problem is that they can’t accurately detect the presence of an intruder in the field of view. You only receive a partial picture, and these cameras and sensors can be fooled by lighting. It’s also not always apparent how far away objects are. Additionally, their limited range necessitates the use of numerous sensors and cameras. You have blind spots when your coverage isn’t complete.

In addition, every camera needs to be monitored, requiring operators to watch tens or hundreds of monitors in real time. Due to technological constraints, this puts a heavy burden on the guards and leaves numerous areas unmonitored. And 2D cameras, since they lack depth perception, make it difficult to classify objects, which can result in many false alarms.

Finally, there are severe limits to 2D video analytics.  Since cameras have a small field of view and a short range, many sensors and corresponding monitors are needed. Video analytics have very limited and complex meshing, which means an object could appear duplicated, leading to more false alarms. The high number of sensors requires a commensurate investment in networking, cabling and installations that dramatically increases the cost of these solutions. The high number of monitors –and therefore, of guards – further drives up the overall operating costs. In summary, while ubiquitous, 2D-based video analytics systems are ineffective and economically inefficient. 

The benefits of 3D

Critical infrastructure security pros need more effective and more efficient solutions that can radically increase the ability to detect intruders, dramatically reduce false alarms and significantly reduce their operating costs.

3D LiDAR technology provides a higher range and a broader field of view. To recognize, categorize and track moving objects, time-of-flight sensing technology delivers aggregated data that’s used to produce a 3D image that contains spatial location and depth information. A 3D LiDAR system’s inherent mesh network makes it easier to identify an object as a single object rather than a collection of them, as is the case with a network of cameras. Because LIDAR sensors have their own internal light sources, they can operate under any lighting conditions.

These sensors can locate and track objects with incredibly high accuracy because they create a 360-degree field of vision that is unaffected by external factors. For example, it can tell whether the “object” is a human or a car. Then you can research further to determine whether this person is an employee or a stranger.

As a result, there are far fewer false alarms. Because you can now focus on the regions that require the most attention or the incidents that need attention, it also lessens the workload for security guards. In the end, it allows you to be more proactive rather than merely reactive.

Quanergy’s technology recently enabled Securitas, a French security company, to create the security market’s first mobile surveillance solution with integrated 3D LiDAR technology. The 3D LiDAR provides extremely high accuracy and reduces false alarms by more than 95%. As Securitas’ vice president of electronic security, Laurent Zaffran, says, “The high accuracy and low rate of false alarms enables us to provide highly reliable solutions to our customers. The rate of nuisance alarms is divided by 10, making the remote monitoring by our operators more efficient.”

And contrary to popular belief, this technology is more cost effective than 2D cameras. Since you can use fewer sensors, you can proportionally save on costly cables, installation and networking. By providing a fully-meshed 3D view of the world around your critical infrastructure, the 3D LiDAR solution will reduce your security personnel cost since the guards won’t be longer required to respond to thousands and thousands of false alarms.   

Visibility = security

Security for critical infrastructure is becoming increasingly crucial. Still, far too many organizations continue to rely largely on sensors that are ineffective for our 3D world. Today’s 3D sensors are accessible, available and proving their worth. Too much is at risk within critical infrastructure security to rely on subpar technologies. It’s time to transition to 3D LiDAR to get a better view of what we’re trying to protect.  

Tags:  Security