Thermography: The Next Chapter In Surveillance


Infrared (IR) cameras offer a unique advantage of turning the invisible to visible. They efficiently negate our inability to see what is outside our visual range by capturing a wider spectrum of light known as infrared. These cameras efficiently capture heat signatures of the objects and convert them into colours which can be easily perceived by the human eye. Every creature or object emits heat which is readable by these cameras in the form of heat signatures. The image produced by these heat signatures is known as a thermogram. Thermograms are then further assessed with the help of thermal imaging cameras and compatible software. This unique advantage of IR cameras makes them the perfect complement to any video, audio and physical presence security network.

IR cameras are becoming increasingly popular in the security sector owing to their many applications. They provide assessable and advanced solutions for thermal imaging which makes them ideal for mass-screening individuals at airports to scan for epidemic outbreaks such as Swine Flu, Zika Virus, Ebola Virus, etc. Prevention and control of epidemic outbreaks is becoming exacting for many countries as the recent Ebola epidemic showcased how easily infectious diseases can cross borders. However, more and more measures are being put in place to overcome this challenge and IR cameras are becoming an important tool in this regard.

Other applications of IP cameras include industrial and commercial application, military and defence surveillance and medical imaging. Military and defence constitute a large part of IR application with the industry tipped to make over one-third of the total IR camera market size by 2024. This is because of the unique properties of IR Cameras, like ruggedness, reliability, and extreme temperature withstanding-ability, which IP-based cameras do not offer.

These properties have also impressed the law enforcement sector in the US as the recent years have witnessed a sharp rise in the use of thermal imaging cameras to identify criminals and fugitives. These unique properties enable the law enforcement to capture images in bad light, tough weather conditions, or assist them in their overall surveillance systems.

The global IR camera market is speculated to grow at a CAGR of 9% from 2016 to 2024. On the basis of regions, North America and Asia Pacific make for the most share of the market for IR cameras. North America is predicted to be one of the leading regions by the year 2024. Higher adoption of video surveillance cabling is yet another regional driver. Asia Pacific is expected to generate over USD 1.7 billion in 2024. This can be ascribed to high consumption in defence applications across India, South Korea, and Japan.

Another reason for the high demands of these cameras is a number of personal uses associated with them. Thermal imaging cameras are used in home safety and security, for identifying inconsistencies in the cooling system, gas leaks, chinks in the electrical system, and many other household operations.

Thermal cameras are an economical solution to broad area, limited visibility and low/no light situations which require personnel, employees, students and individuals to move through an area, making them a great surveillance prospect in the years to come.