The 2011/01/04 at 12:44
Jean-Paul Verpoest is in charge of security and surveillance cameras at the distributor France Infra-Rouge which distributes products from Flir, the USA’s global leader in night-vision cameras.
Commerce International: How do night-vision cameras work?
Jean-Paul Verpoest: “These are thermal cameras which have the capacity to ‘see at night’. Images obtained are in black, for cold, and white, for heat. Very powerful algorithms embedded in the camera translate the infrared signal into images that can be used by humans. The night-vision camera also allows for the shooting of real images by standard CCD video cameras. It is very easy to make the shift from real vision to night vision.”
In what cases do companies need such cameras?
J.-P.V.: “For the night-time surveillance of work sites or sensitive zones such as warehouses, car parks, factory surroundings, but also for urban safety, notably in the metro, train stations, airports, or for the protection of employees in high-risk countries… Companies also have the possibility of setting up either traditional CCD video cameras with powerful lighting systems or thermal night-vision cameras. The unit price of the latter is higher, but they are less expensive once set up.”
Weren’t these originally military equipment materials?
J.-P.V.: “It’s still the case! In addition, some technology such as cooling sensors enable night vision of up to 18 km. The US government reserves these to strictly military usages: drones flying at 10,000 km altitude are notably used at the Mexican border to track down clandestine immigrants or drug traffickers. Certain businesses can lodge a special request appli-cation with the US government on condition that the host country is not subject to a US embargo. In 90% of cases, normal business systems are perfect for monitoring the surroundings of industrial sites.”
How much do these cameras cost?
J.-P.V.: “Between 4,000 and 20,000 euros for a camera equipped with a 100 mm zoom to see up to 2.5 km. This gets around the need to set up about ten more classic cameras over this distance… Current prices allow night-vision cameras to start to become more accessible for company video surveillance.”