Surveillance Systems: Visible Vs. Thermal Security Cameras

Oct 18, 2022 9:00:54 AM / by Michael Witt

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Surveillance systems are installed to capture images that can help maximize intrusion detection, monitor the environment of the facility, and deter criminal activity. Two of the most common solutions that are implemented in security measures today are visible and thermal security cameras. Both thermal and visible cameras provide an efficient level of surveillance to meet basic security requirements and procedures. Deciding which one is best for you will depend on a variety of factors such as typical weather conditions, the need for extra lighting, or how much you’re willing to spend.

Visible Security Cameras

A traditional surveillance camera is commonly purchased for both civilian and military use. This camera helps collect evidence, recognize objects, recognize faces, and identify threats. A visible security camera should work well for most use cases as it is standard for video surveillance. The widespread use of this product is also why it is much cheaper to purchase compared to thermal cameras. Low cost is one of the best and most recognizable advantages of visible cameras. Another advantage is that the technology of a visible camera is more mature and simpler to integrate.

Objects, targets, and threats can be swiftly identified during the daytime but are not as easy to capture at night. Fog can also be an issue for proper visibility as extra lighting may be required leading to increased security expenses. Visible cameras are more conspicuous as well meaning that someone could acknowledge the camera’s position easier and avoid angles of view.

Thermal Security Cameras

A thermal camera can produce images from heat instead of light. This camera catches infrared energy and employs the data to create images via digital or analog video outputs. Every object has thermal energy and even the slightest differences in heat signatures between materials or people can be sensed by a thermal camera. This is why objects can be visible on this camera in a completely dark atmosphere or through heavy smoke or fog.

One big advantage of a thermal camera is that it can be just as useful at night as it is during the day. This camera can also maintain visibility through all weather conditions. Other advantages of thermal cameras include low maintenance, discreet installation, and a long viewing range. The most recognizable disadvantage of thermal cameras is that they are initially more expensive. Also, the images created from thermal energy won’t have enough detail to identify a person. The camera can only detect that person’s presence. Thermal cameras are also unable to capture images through water or glass.

Which Is Better?

The better solution for you depends entirely on your security requirements as well as how and when a security camera will need to be applied. A visible camera is best if you need to identify people, especially inside vehicles where a person can only be seen through glass windows. You may need a visible camera if your security needs are more standard and you are staying within a small budget. A thermal camera is the best choice if you need to detect objects from hundreds of meters away through both days and nights with high accuracy and a minimal chance of false alarms. Environmental factors such as severe weather conditions will also more likely require thermal cameras.

Contact Kontek Industries

Security breaches, environmental hazards, asset failure, and financial loss are some of the challenges that plague critical infrastructure organizations. It is vital for them to quickly detect threats, resolve issues, and manage processes across use cases from perimeter protection and entry control to building diagnostics and condition monitoring. Kontek has partnered with FLIR Systems to provide customers with top-of-the-line surveillance systems.

These security surveillance solutions bring together multiple technologies to help industrial, commercial, and government agencies achieve a heightened level of intrusion detection, workforce safety, and uptime for critical equipment. Through FLIR we help provide thermal security cameras, visible security cameras, and video management systems.

Contact the office at Kontek Industries today to discuss your security surveillance needs.

Topics: Counter Terrorism, Target Hardening

Michael Witt

Published by Michael Witt

Michael Witt is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Kontek Industries. Michael is responsible for coordinating and executing sales strategies and marketing campaigns for the company. Prior to joining Kontek Industries, Michael was the Vice President of Sales of a U.S.-based physical security and surveillance company, where he managed a sales team supporting global security companies, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Energy, law enforcement agencies, and various defense groups across the world. Michael Witt served in the United States Marine Corps from 2006 – 2010 and conducted combat operations in Afghanistan on multiple deployments. Michael has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Gardner Webb University.