Are you in the market for surveillance radar technology but are not sure where to start or struggling to narrow down your list of potential providers? Selecting a radar-based surveillance solution can be a daunting task and overwhelming if you are not familiar with the technology. To help you begin the selection process to ensure you purchase the best radar solution for your needs, we have put together a list of questions prior to making a purchase:
- Can it integrate with my current security solutions?
When considering a new layer of physical security, one of the most important questions you can ask is how it will work or integrate with your current security solutions. Do you use a VMS, PSIM, or ACS (spell out)? Do you have cameras, alarms, lights? Do you need automated responses when particular threats are detected? Knowing how the full solution will work as a whole is fundamental to your decision process. Oftentimes, radar surveillance is used as the first level of defense against threats because of radar’s ability to detect potential threats at significant ranges. But if your radar system cannot integrate with your current security solution, how useful and effective is it? Understand on the front-end of the purchasing process how the system will integrate and enhance your physical security.
- Can the radar classify or differentiate among possible threats?
Different types of threats to your critical sites — people, vehicles, animals, aircraft, or drones — will most likely determine the type of response needed from your security personnel. So it is important when a radar detects a target that it can also classify that movement and differentiate the types of threats in your area. If the radar does not classify targets, then its value as a new layer of security is limited. Detecting targets is key, but real value comes when you’re able to distinguish between real targets of concern and nuisances that are not.
- Can I customize alarm zones to reduce false alarms?
One of the biggest requests we hear from customers is the need to reduce false alarms. Because radar can cover large areas at long ranges within an environment, it’s the case that radar users can see lots of alarms, including false alarms. Having the ability to create custom “alarm zones” that can be configured to alarm only on certain classifications of targets will significantly decrease the number of alarms you receive. Do you want to know when a vehicle is traveling west toward your facility? Do you want to ignore all notifications of animals around your perimeter? Do you need alerts when people are within 100 feet of your fence line? Creating customized alarm zones will improve your security workflows and decrease the amount of time your security personnel spend following up on false alarms. In addition, do not forget to ask about ignore-zones. Having the ability to ignore an entire area that you do not care about can be a game changer for your security team.
- How does the environment affect radar performance?
Many surveillance technologies are impacted by weather conditions and other environmental factors. While radar does operate on a “line-of-sight basis” and needs to be able to “see” the area under surveillance, other weather and environmental conditions do not affect S-Band radar system like other technologies. Plus, S-Band digital beamforming radar systems like GroundAware feature algorithms that reject wind and precipitation nuisances, thereby providing consistent accuracy regardless of the weather conditions.
- How much maintenance is required on the system?
Several surveillance radar products on the market use rotating antennas to provide full coverage of areas under surveillance. Of course, this rotation requires mechanical maintenance on the hardware. If the radar does not have moving parts, similar to O.W.L.’s GroundAware radars, no mechanical maintenance is required. All technologies require software updates or other types of upkeep, so be sure to understand what is required from your radar provider of choice.
We hope these questions will help you select the best surveillance radar solution for your site — one that integrates well and provides the level of security needed. Once you’ve selected the radar provider t and are ready to move forward with the testing or purchasing process, don’t forget to check out our post “7 ‘Hidden’ Costs of Radar Deployments,” to help make the right decision for not only the security of your site, but also your budget.