The interview was first published in Security Journal UK‘s September 2023 issue.
Simon Faulkner, Head of UK Sales at Reconeyez explains the core principles of perimeter protection and the technologies that define it.
From basic physical barriers to comprehensive, technology-driven systems that provide multi-layered security, real time monitoring and proactive threat detection, perimeter protection has evolved significantly over the years to keep up with changing security challenges and technological advancements.
“Perimeter protection is the ability to use digital technology to secure the physical or the virtual boundaries that are typically on large outdoor pieces of land. It complements, or increasingly replaces, the need for guarding and through that, is generating a lot of efficiencies in the monitoring and management of most sites” says Simon Faulkner, UK Head of Sales at Reconeyez.
“There’s two or three different ways to look at perimeter protection,” says Faulkner. “You can go right around the edge of the perimeter with devices set up along the perimeter line. Or, you can create an internal perimeter boundary, with the devices looking outwards. For solutions like that you could typically use Towers or PIDs with our devices mounted on them. The third way, which is something that a lot of people miss, is the opportunity to identify specific areas of vulnerability and protect those. So rather than protect the whole thing, protect the specific areas that are vulnerable.”
There are common vulnerabilities or attack vectors that perimeter security aims to mitigate. Faulkner explains: “On things like construction sites, it’s the machinery, cabling, fuel, goods, materials, tools, etc.” He adds that in the case of unsupervised or empty properties, the focus is more on preventing squatting, fly tipping and vandalism.
The main entrance and exit to any site is clearly an area of vulnerability that needs monitoring. “With many locations, construction sites, solar farms etc, you have areas where a centrally mounted system can’t see down into the corners because of the contours of the land or the location and complexity of the layout. Being able to reach into blind spots with individual devices is therefore very important.”
“The other thing that people need to be aware of, are the access points outside of that perimeter. If you’re guarding a solar farm, there may be small tracks and gates where intruders can get close to the perimeter un-noticed. All those things are important to consider.
“The Reconeyez product range has been developed through military based experience, so the first thing is, the products are very rugged, they are designed for an outdoor environment where there is no reliable access to mains power and cabled communications. So those are the three key vectors for us in terms of where Reconeyez products and solutions come into their own.
“If you marry those capabilities with our remote cloud management system, you can see why we have been able to grow our UK installer partner base in construction, void property, critical infrastructure, over rail, solar farms, increasingly private and public estates, utilities and now places like golf clubs and vineyards.” In the case of the latter, there could remote buildings holding specialist machinery that require monitoring where there is no power or communications to reach out to that point into their land.
Faulkner continues: “Having
no cables to lay for power or communications means you can have a lot more flexibility; wireless installed devices can be placed where they need to go, rather than where cables and power define they have to go. With a well set up detector, it’s possible to get circa one year’s battery life which means returns to site can be managed effectively through the year and remotely monitored through our web browser or app.”
The Reconeyez solution has a 35-metre detection range and delivers crisp HD image quality alarms with AI filtering. “This reduces the number of alarms and only sends AI-verified alarms through to the monitoring personnel. Typically, the first alarms will come through to the alarm receiving centre within about 10 seconds of something happening on site.
“You can also change the parameters of devices through the user interface. For example, you can create ‘areas of interest’ on a device whilst sitting back in your office miles away from site. As part of the cloud service users get access to functional updates on a regular basis. We will launch our Time Lapse solution during Q3 and for very reasonable fee, users will be able to use their existing devices as it is compatible with them all. That’s something that we’ve had very strong feedback on, especially from those who work on construction sites. They are looking forward to receiving it”.
One of the key things about working on the cloud is its inherent scalability. “The beauty for an installation partner who works with Reconeyez is that they can also scale very easily; they can add sites, either through the web browser or through the app with literally a few clicks of the button, and view everything from one central point.”
Installers often must communicate complex perimeter security concepts and strategies to non-technical stakeholders within organisations. “I think it’s very important for us to be able to talk to our installation partners and equip them with the ability to talk to their clients about our products in the right way,” says Faulkner. He adds that there are certain dynamics that speak for themselves, for example, the amount of coverage you can get by doing a comparison with other devices. There are other considerations that are not highly technical – “I think anybody can understand that speed of response is critical, as is rapid delivery of images,” he says.
Talking about a cloud system’s flexibility and ease of use, is key: “A lot of people are familiar with using apps on their smartphones, so it’s important to tell them they can manage and monitor the devices on their sites either through our website and app.
“What this does, is help people to understand some of the key benefits of using the Reconeyez solution – when they marry that to the long lifecycle of the products and the remote management capability through the cloud, I think they come to their own conclusion.”
Commenting on where we are now with perimeter protection technology – and where we might be in the future, Faulkner says: “I think one of the keys things is utilising the cloud to provide an on-going provision of service as opposed to the historically more typical hardware/software purchase, is now more broadly accepted by security installers and integrators.”
“However there is an opportunity to enhance the suite of AI and cloud- based applications in security centric scenarios, for example health and safety. Utilising our devices, it could become possible to count people and vehicles, or identify if a construction site worker is wearing the correct safety attire. I can see those enhancements coming.”
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