Active Deterrence Cameras: Motion-Activated Strobe, Siren, and Vocal Warnings. Say Goodbye to False Alarms!
What Is Active Deterrence?
Do you like to install your security cameras in obvious locations to maximize their visibility? Do you often try to make your security cameras as obvious as possible? Have you ever wished your security cameras could warn intruders that they're being watched? Well then you're in luck, because we have some new cameras at Nelly's Security that we're calling our Active Deterrence Line. With visual and auditory warnings built right into these cameras, you'll never have to worry about your surveillance going unnoticed by intruders again.
Before we jump into these cameras and their awesome features, let's start with the question you might be asking yourself right now: what even is active deterrence?
When you put up a security camera, it's probably because you want to make sure that the areas under your surveillance are crime-free. Because of this, any security camera install is considered an act of deterrence. However, most of the time the security cameras stand by, keeping a close yet silent eye on your property. It will surely capture any criminal activity on video. It may even alert you through a recorder or mobile notification. However, these cameras won't do anything on their own to prevent the crime from happening. They are passive.
Oppositely, active deterrence is any additional measure taken by a surveillance system to ward off potential intruders and to, well, actively deter crime. Our Active Deterrence line at Nelly's Security will not sit idly by while an intruder appears on the scene. These cameras have the ability to warn potential criminals through a motion-actived strobe light, siren, and voice. It may sound simple at first, but for features like this to be useful, it takes some pretty advanced motion-detection technology. So without further ado, let's jump right into today's camera review.
Meet our H-Series Active Deterrence Security Cameras
We have two cameras in our Active Deterrence line: the NSC-DETERRENCE-BT1 and the NSC-DETERRENCE-DM2. These are essentially the same camera with only a few differences. The most obvious difference is the form factor. The BT1 is a larger bullet camera while the DM2 is a smaller and more compact turret camera. The only other difference is the infrared range. The bullet has a long-distance IR range of up to 240 feet, while the turret camera has a more standard IR range of 100'. Other than that, these two cameras have the exact same specs.
Crisp 4MP video at 30fps. 2.8mm fixed lens with a wide horizontal FOV of 104°. IP66 weatherproof rating. A slot for an onboard SD card with up to 128 GB of storage. Remote access and plug and play with H-Series recorders. So far these are sounding like pretty standard security cameras. Well there are three unique features that really make these stand out as active deterrence security cameras.
Active Deterrence Features
When looking for an active deterrence security camera, there are a couple of things to look for. First, and most obviously, the camera needs a way to alert intruders of its presence. Second, and less obviously, the camera needs to be able to recognize human agency and distinguish relevant motion from the irrelevant. Our H-Series Deterrence Cameras knock both of these requirements out of the park. Let's take a closer look at how these cameras actively deter.
When you take a look at the camera, the first thing you will notice is the strobe light right under the lens. When it detects motion, it will flash repeatedly, alerting anyone nearby of its presence. In the camera's web interface, you can adjust the strobe light's duration and frequency. Depending on how you have it set up, the strobe light will flash for anywhere between one second and one minute. Check out the videos below to see the difference between "high frequency" and "low frequency."
Less noticeable at first glance is the onboard speakers, located on the bottom of the camera. If the strobe light doesn't catch the attention of the intruder, then the audible warnings sure will. You can choose between several different sounds, including a siren, a voice, or a combination of the two. For a sample of the different kinds of warnings this camera can produce, watch the short video below.
Intelligent Motion Detection
This camera's motion-activated strobe light and audible warnings are fantastic. But on their own, they're really not that useful. This camera's intelligent motion detection features really hold everything together and make this camera stand out as one of the best active deterrence security cameras available. You see, cameras that use standard pixel-based motion detection are not super reliable, as the motion detection alarm is triggered anytime the pixels move around on the screen. These cameras will consider pretty much anything "motion," whether it's a burglar breaking into your home or a piece of dust floating by the camera's lens. For a normal surveillance solution, this isn't much of a big deal. It may fill up your hard drive with a ton of recordings, but it will still reliably capture all movement.
However, when it comes to active deterrence, these standard pixel-based motion detection cameras just won't hold up. Think about it. If you set your camera up to sound a siren and flash a light every time it senses movement, false alarms are a little bit more of a nuisance than if the camera was just recording video. For this reason, these active deterrence cameras bring a whole new motion-detection technology into our H-Series line of cameras. This is going to be the bulk of our discussion throughout the rest of this review.
Active Deterrence Motion Detection
The intelligent motion detection on these active deterrence security cameras is pixel-based motion detection on steroids. It is still based on pixel motion, so unlike Passive Infrared motion detection (PIR), it can detect motion for as far as the camera can see. The difference between these cameras and a standard motion detection camera is its smart filters. Using a very high tech and complicated algorithm, these active deterrence cameras can actually tell the difference between human motion and other kinds of motion.
How does Active Deterrence Smart Motion Detection Work?
So let's say a bird hops across the parking lot, right down the middle of your deterrence camera's field of view. The camera will register the change in pixels and know that motion is happening. But before it does anything, it's going to analyze whatever it is that's causing the change in pixels. It will take the shape of whatever is moving, in this case, the bird. It will compare that shape to the thousands of shapes in its database. It will then classify the moving shape into one of three categories: human, vehicle, or other. Our little bird here will fall into the third category, and the camera will completely ignore the motion.
If, however, the camera decides that the moving object is either a human or a vehicle, it will register the motion as important. You can actually see this process directly from the live view on the camera's web interface. You can see in the images and video below that the green box around the human and the vehicle turn red once the camera registers the motion as important.
But wait, there's more! This amazing technology puts control in your hands. Would you like your camera to only target human motion and ignore vehicles? You can do that. The camera will still register vehicle motion as important, so the lines will still turn red. But the camera will not sound the alarm or start a recording. Want to target vehicles and not humans? Or both humans and vehicles? Whatever it is you have in mind for these cameras, you can easily accomplish in just a few clicks.
How Accurate is Active Deterrence Smart Motion Detection?
Here's the big question that I know you're probably asking right now. This technology sounds great and all, but does it work? How accurate is it? Will it really cut out all false alarms? Well, like all technology, it has its limitations. It's not going to give you accurate results 100% of the time. For instance, sometimes the active deterrence security camera installed in our back parking lot thought this yellow pole here was a human and registered some irrelevant motion as important. Sometimes it thought these people walking in front of cars were actually cars themselves. So I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you're never going to have a false alarm again. But here's what I can tell you with confidence. These active deterrence security cameras will reduce the amount of false alarms you experience from standard motion detection cameras by at least 90%.
If you don't believe me, check out the two images below. The first image is a playback timeline from a standard motion detection throughout the night. You can see how, even though continuous recording was turned off, the camera essentially recorded the entire night, with very few exceptions. Obviously there wasn't real motion happening all night long. There were lights flickering, bugs buzzing, dust particles floating. And the camera registered all of this as motion important enough to start a recording. If you hooked this camera to an alarm it would never stop going off. The second image is a playback timeline covering the same time from one of these active deterrence security cameras. It registered exactly zero instances of important motion.
So what if someone did drive or walk onto our property that night? Would we have known if we were only relying on the camera with standard motion detection? Probably not. We would've had to scrub through a lot of footage to find the guy. But on the active deterrence camera, that one red line would instantly stick out and we could see right away what that person was up to.
How Do You Set Up Smart Motion Detection?
Since these cameras don't have standard motion detection, you won't find the typical screen where you can drag the red grid around to tell the camera where you want it to detect motion. If you want to make use of the intelligent motion detection, you'll have to set up some smart events. These cameras have several smart events, including Scene Change, Line Crossing, Intrusion Detection, Region Entrance Detection, and Region Exit Detection. Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, each event has its strengths and its weaknesses. In order to set your camera up for maximum deterrence and motion accuracy, you'll really want to spend a lot of time here getting to know these smart events and adjusting their settings.
In the next section, I'll walk you through each smart event and show you an example. By the end of this post, you should be informed enough to know exactly how these active deterrence security cameras can completely revolutionize your current security system.
Active Deterrence Camera Uses and Examples
So far, we've talked about the theory behind these cameras, their deterrence features, and their smart motion events. Now we're going to get practical. If you're wondering how you would use one of these cameras, here are a few ideas to get your creative juices pumping.
- Looking for a way to prevent copper theft from your air conditioner unit? Scare off copper thieves with your deterrence siren and strobe.
- Do you manage a no parking zone? Throw one of these cameras up there and watch the illegal parkers flee the scene.
- What about boat docks or other restricted areas? These cameras are a great way to keep people out.
But even if you're not interested in the deterrence features of these cameras, the smart motion detection still makes them insanely useful. If you disable the sounds and strobe, you can still benefit from these cameras.
- Want to set up a standalone camera with an SD card? Cameras can't hold as much space as a recorder. With their smart events, these cameras will save you tons of storage by only recording important motion.
- Looking for a way to receive push notifications to your cell phone based on activity on your property? Install one of these cameras and you'll only receive important push notifications. Install a standard motion detection camera and it'll blow up your phone day and night with false alarms.
- Do you want to see long distances in the dark? Okay, this doesn't have to do with smart motion detection. But our Active Deterrence bullet also has a super long IR range of 240 feet, perfect for any nighttime scenario.
Want to see more ways to use this camera? Here's a brief overview on how to set up these smart events for a number of different situations.
Getting Started: Plug and Play, ONVIF, and Standalone
So, you've purchased your active deterrence security camera. You've taken it out of the box, installed it wherever makes the most sense to you, and you're ready to get started. You have a few different options here.
First and foremost, you can use these with one of our H-Series network recorders. This setup option gives you the best overall experience with these active deterrence cameras. Setup is super easy, since once you plug the camera into the PoE switch in the back of the NVR, you get instant video. Your camera is powered, connected to the network, activated, and added to your NVR all in one fell swoop. This also gives you full access to all of the active deterrence and smart motion detection features. With the other two setup option, you'll get limited functionality. If this is the route you choose to take, we highly recommend you upgrade to the most recent firmware, which you can find in the "downloads" tab on your NVR's product page.
Second, these cameras are ONVIF compatible, meaning you can use these with most other recorders, as long as they're ONVIF compliant. This process is a bit more involved, since you can't simply plug and play. You'll be able to configure all the active deterrence and smart event settings directly from the camera's web interface, but you'll lose access to some of the features when it comes to filtering through your recordings based on smart event and human/vehicle target.
Finally, you can set this up as a standalone camera with a MicroSD card. As I mentioned earlier, these models are prime candidates for standalone cameras. However, if you choose not to connect this camera to a recorder, you'll have to manage everything through the camera's web interface. This won't affect your ability to adjust the camera's settings and it won't affect your camera's performance. The only thing you'll miss out on is the ability to filter through your recordings based on event and target.
For the following examples, I'm using our H-Series 8 channel NVR updated to the most recent firmware, which at the time of writing this post is 4.21.005. If you're used to the classic interface of these recorders, the screenshots may look quite a bit different to you. Rest assured that everything you know and love about our recorder interfaces is all still there, it just looks a little prettier.
Basic Event: Adjusting the Active Deterrence Features
If you want to get the most out of your active deterrence security camera, this is the first thing you'll want to do after you install and activate your camera. Both the strobe light and the audible warnings are completely configurable, as you saw in the videos above. With the strobe light, you can determine how long it flashes (between one second and one minute) and at what frequency (high, medium, or low). With the audible warnings, you can control the sound (a siren, a voice, or a combination of both), the number of repetitions (between one and fifty), and the volume.
At this time, you cannot touch these settings from an NVR. So to adjust these features to your liking, you'll need to bypass your NVR and log directly into your camera's interface. Click Configuration → Event → Basic Event. From there you can click either the "Flashing Alarm Light Output" or the "Audible Alarm Output" tabs.
Smart Event: Adjusting the Intelligent Motion Detection Features
To set up smart motion events, you can use the H-Series NVR HDMI or web interface, the active deterrence camera's web interface, or iVMS-4200 (only with an H-Series NVR). Keep in mind that while you can set these events up, in order to link the events to the visual and auditory alarm outputs, you'll eventually need to jump back to the camera's web interface.
From the NVR HDMI interface (updated to the latest firmware), click Menu → System → Event → Smart Event. From the NVR or camera's web interface, click Configuration → Event → Smart Event. From here you have a number of different options available to you, which we'll go over here individually. You'll recognize these smart events, as they're not new to our security cameras. However, there are a few additional principals to keep in mind when it comes to the unique human and vehicle recognition of these cameras. Here are a few principles to follow regardless of the type of event you're setting up.
This is really the bread and butter of these smart events. To change the target of your event, click the checkboxes next to "Human" or "Vehicle." You can select either humans or vehicles, or humans and vehicles. This is the key to cutting out false alarms. Since this camera doesn't use standard motion detection, if you don't select at least one target, the smart event will never trigger.
You may have to test out your smart event a few times in order to dial in your sensitivity to exactly where it needs to be. The higher the sensitivity, the less someone needs to cross the indicators for the smart event to trigger; the lower the sensitivity, the more someone needs to cross the indicators. For instance, if the sensitivity is set to 10, 90% of the person or vehicle needs to move within the event's parameters for the event to trigger. If the sensitivity is set to 90, then only 10% of the person or vehicle needs be moving within those parameters. If you find that your smart event isn't working the way you want it to, you may need to play with this setting a little bit more.
These active deterrence cameras want to be absolutely sure that it's picking up on the kinds of motion that it should be picking up on. So there are some additional features here to set up minimum and maximum sizes. After you test out your smart event a few times, you may notice that it's not recognizing people or vehicles that are either very close to the camera or very far from the camera. To fix this, you may need to adjust the maximum and minimum size boxes. By dragging the max box across the entire screen, it should be able to register any human or vehicle movement no matter how largely the object appears in the field of view. Adjusting the minimum size box can also help you filter out people who are far away, appearing very tiny in the camera's field of view.
Active Deterrence Features
As already mentioned, in order to tie the smart event to the flashing strobe and the vocal warnings, you'll need to bypass your NVR and log directly into your camera's web interface. From there, navigate to the smart event you'd like to tie to the alarms. From the "Linkage Method" tab, you'll be able to select one or both of the output alarms.
With all that said, let's jump into some examples of these smart events.
Line Crossing Detection
When you set up a line crossing, the smart event is triggered any time a person or vehicle crosses the line. You can adjust the direction of the line to be both ways or just one way. In the example below, I set up a line crossing targeted only toward vehicles in order to track cars entering the parking lot. I set up two line crossing events, one for each entrance to our parking lot. I also adjusted the direction of the line so that the alarm and recording only happen when a care drives into the parking lot.
Intrusion detection detects motion happening within a predefined field. You can adjust the time threshold to allow between one and ten seconds to pass before the camera triggers the event. In this example, I used a vehicle-targeted intrusion event to keep people from parking on our loading zone. I didn't want the alarm to go off if someone was merely passing through or turning around, so I adjusted the time threshold to ten seconds. I also changed the vocal warning to better describe the situation I was setting this camera up for: "Warning, this is a no parking zone."
Region Entrance Detection
Like intrusion detection, region entrance registers motion based on a predefined region. The difference is, it doesn't register motion happening within the box; it only registers motion entering the box. In the following clip, watch as I set up a region entrance event in hope to keep vandals away from our building. This event is human-targeted and linked to a voice that warns the intruder: "Warning! This is a restricted area. Please keep away."
Region Exit DetectionOpposite of region entrance, this event will only trigger when a person or vehicle exits the predefined region. I set up the following vehicle-targeted event so that I could track anytime those cars leave that parking area.
After the Event: Playback and Filtering
Once you have your events set up to their optimal settings, you're good to go and let your camera do its thing. After it collects a few recordings, at some point you're going to want to review those recordings. You can review the video files just like you would any other camera from whatever interface you choose. However, if you want to take advantage of the smart filter to search through and organize your clips, you'll need access to the HDMI interface of an H-Series NVR.
There are two ways to filter your footage. You can choose to filter your files based on smart event or based on human and vehicle target.
Filtering Your Footage Based on Smart Event
To filter your footage based on event, navigate to the playback menu from your NVR's HDMI interface and click "Custom Search" in the bottom left-hand corner. From the Custom Search menu, you can select a variety of filters for viewing your recordings, including the "Event Type" filter. With this tool, you can distinguish your line crossings from your intrusions, and your region entrances from your region exits. This is a helpful way to reduce your pool of recordings in order to find exactly what you're looking for. Once you've created a custom search, you can see all your files appear directly in that menu. But you can also return to the main playback menu and select "Custom" above the playback timeline to see a visual layout of your custom search. All the events on your timeline that match the criteria from the custom search will turn red, while all the other recordings will turn blue.
Filtering Your Footage Based on Target
You can also filter your footage based on whether or not the recording was triggered by a human or a vehicle. To access this feature, you'll need to go into your File Management tab, located in your NVR's menu. Once there, you can choose to view human or vehicle files. Add additional filters if you like, such as time and event type, then click search. While viewing your files, you can choose to view the video's thumbnail or a cropped picture highlighting the exact target that triggered the recording.
Whether or not you're interested in active deterrence, these security cameras are definitely worth looking into. They have some incredible features that really make these cameras stand out from the pack. Their smart motion detection is top-of-the line artificial intelligence that can greatly increase your camera's performance and efficiency. It can also make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to reviewing footage and searching for a particular event. And if you are interested in active deterrence, then the onboard strobe light and audible alarm brings you everything you need all built into one camera.
These are not the kind of camera that you can throw up on a wall or a ceiling and expect it to do everything right out of the box. It's going to take some careful configuration, and in many cases it will take some trial and error. But once you get everything set up for optimal performance, these things will work wonders.
There's still one thing we haven't talked about, and it just may be the best feature of all. At this point, maybe you're afraid to click on the product pages and view these cameras, because you don't want to see the price. A camera of this caliber with this technology is surely going to be way more than I can afford, you might think. Well, not so fast. It's our goal at Nelly's Security to take the best of the best security technology and help you bring it into your homes and businesses. As such, these active deterrence cameras with their state-of-the-art artificial intelligence is available to you today at a very competitive price. To see the current pricing and to order yours today, click below to view these amazing products and try them out for yourself.
Now it's your turn. If you purchased one of these active deterrence security cameras today, what would you do with it? Would you put it up somewhere as deterrence? Would you use it as a standalone camera? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!