The Ultimate Thanksgiving Surveillance device…the Turkey?

It’s Turkey Day again.  While most of our thoughts are probably on family gatherings, cranberries, stuffing, football and Aunt Alice’s famous pumpkin pie, your mind could wander off to consider the unique surveillance capabilities of the Thanksgiving tPureTech Systems Video Analytics Turkeyurkey and what might be learned from their advanced video surveillance capabilities.

A Turkey has Excellent Vision.  It can detect even the slightest movement at over 100 yards away.  To be successful, a hunter must use camouflage that very closely matches his surroundings, or a turkey will be able to easily spot him.  One hundred yards may not seem like a great distance in today’s security world, but for a turkey, it is just enough to help protect it from hunters and predators.  The same should apply to your security camera.  You should ensure your video camera can provide you detection capabilities at a distance that makes sense, but don’t overdo it either.  A megapixel camera is a valuable sensor, but the extra cost and bandwidth may be more than you need to provide an adequate level of protection.

A Turkey’s Eyesight is Three Times Better than a Human’s:  It has excellent visual acuity.  For the hunter, this means the turkey sees you before you see them.  As such, the hunter needs to adjust his tactics accordingly.  When protecting critical facilities, this same adjustment often needs to be made.  Security technology, such as video analytics, and other detection sensors can “see” many times farther and often more accurately than the human eye.  As security professionals, we need to understand this and potentially adjust our protection strategies to take advantage of this ability to “see” farther.   (Take our Security Vision quiz to test how well you can “see”).

The Turkey’s Field of Vision is almost 360-Degrees:  Turkeys are often referred to as having both “periscopic and panoramic vision.”  Because of the placement of a eye on each side of their head, they have a very large stationary field of view that is almost 360 degrees.  By moving its head only slightly, it can observe its full horizon.  Having eyes on the opposite side of its head also means it can independently track two unique objects coming from different directions.  Criminals are pretty crafty these days; a common strategy is to send in a diversion, while the real event takes place elsewhere.  The ability for the turkey to independently track multiple objects should make us ponder how our video surveillance system would perform if multiple targets of interest were present.  Do you have enough PTZs to cover the event?  If your security person is following one target, do you have the means to continue to follow that target when a second target appears? (Check out this white paper if you’re interest in learning more about camera auto follow).

A Turkey sees in Color:  This is awesome for a turkey.  Only seeing in black and white would seem to become very monotonous at some point.  There are so many details you would miss, especially around Thanksgiving time when all the trees are sporting their fall colors.   These color details are also important when reacting to and researching a security event.  Knowing the color of a shirt, whether the person was blonde or brunette or having specific color information about the vehicle involved can be extremely important.  Thermal cameras are excellent night time sensors, but they will not provide you this color information.  This is the same with proximity sensors or fence alarms.  These are excellent detection devices, but they don’t provide you this added color detail for reacting to certain situations.  Realizing this and considering it in your security design is an important step in achieving a comprehensive approach to your video security.

Turkeys have Poor Vision at Night…and They Know It:  Although the turkey has excellent visual surveillance capabilities during the day, it has very poor night vision.  However, the turkey is smart enough to realize its shortcomings in the evening hours and compensates by sleeping in trees, away from potential harm.  Like the turkey, the worst case scenario for most video surveillance scenarios occurs at night.   Sleeping in a tree probably isn’t an option for most of us, but considering other forms of technology, such as thermal cameras or IR illuminators, as a way to augment day time surveillance sensors is something that should be considered.

The turkey has survived for thousands of years with the help of its superior vision.  We wouldn’t recommend you run off and procure a bunch of turkeys as a means of augmenting your facility’s  video surveillance capabilities, but the turkey’s unique vision capability can certainly help us ponder how to better protect our facilities and critical assets using video surveillance.

Happy Thanksgiving from PureTech Systems!

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