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What is PIR on security cameras and how does it work?

A cctv camera is mounted on an escalator in an airport.

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Table of Contents

Understanding the meaning of PIR on security cameras is crucial for anyone looking to enhance their security system. PIR (passive infrared) is a technology used in security cameras for detecting motion. It plays a key role in making security systems more efficient and responsive.

See how Solink can complete your business security camera system.

A cctv camera is mounted on an escalator in an airport.

What is PIR on security cameras?

PIR, or passive infrared, is a technology used in security cameras for motion detection. It’s a key feature that enables cameras to sense movement in their vicinity. Unlike regular cameras that continuously record, PIR-equipped cameras are more efficient. They activate and start recording only when they detect motion, saving energy and storage space. This feature is useful where continuous monitoring isn’t necessary or wireless battery-powered security cameras are the only feasible option.

PIR technology in security cameras works by detecting changes in infrared light levels emitted by objects in their field of view. Every object emits some level of infrared light, especially warm objects like humans and animals. PIR sensors are finely tuned to detect the infrared light emitted by these warm objects, making them ideal for security purposes. When a PIR sensor in a camera detects a change in the infrared light pattern—like when someone walks into a room—it triggers the camera to start recording or send an alert.

How does PIR work?

At a more technical level, PIR sensors operate by detecting changes in infrared energy levels. These sensors have two slots made of a special material that is sensitive to infrared. When these slots are exposed to the same amount of infrared radiation, such as in an empty room, the sensor remains idle. However, when a warm body like a human or animal passes by, it first intercepts one half of the PIR sensor, causing a positive differential change between the two halves. When it leaves the field of view of the sensor, this causes a negative differential change. These changes trigger the sensor.

The sensitivity and range of PIR sensors can vary. Typically, they have a detection range of up to 20 meters and a field of view of around 90 degrees, making them suitable for a variety of settings. Importantly, PIR sensors are designed to minimize false alarms, as they require a significant change in infrared energy to activate. This makes them more reliable than traditional motion detectors, which can be triggered by minor movements like falling leaves or passing cars. 

What are other ways to detect motion on security cameras?

In addition to PIR (passive infrared) sensors, security cameras use several other methods to detect motion, each with its unique mechanism and applications.

Each of these technologies offers unique advantages and can be chosen based on the specific requirements of the surveillance area.

Video motion detection (VMD)

VMD works by analyzing the video feed to identify changes in the scene. It continuously compares consecutive frames and triggers an alert if it detects significant differences.

This method is highly adaptable and can be calibrated for sensitivity, making it useful in various environments. However, it may be more prone to false alarms due to environmental factors like changing light conditions or moving shadows.

AI-based motion detection

Advanced security systems now incorporate AI and machine learning algorithms to detect and analyze motion. These systems can differentiate between types of movements, such as distinguishing between a human and an animal.

AI-based detection reduces false alarms and provides more accurate alerts. It can also identify specific behaviors or patterns, offering sophisticated surveillance capabilities.

Thermal imaging

Thermal cameras detect heat emitted by objects and people, creating a thermal image based on temperature differences. They are effective in total darkness and adverse weather conditions.

These cameras are particularly useful in outdoor and challenging environments. They can detect motion without visible light, providing an advantage over traditional cameras in low-light conditions.

Radar motion detection

Radar technology uses radio waves to detect movement. When these waves hit an object, they bounce back, and the sensor analyzes these echoes to detect motion.

This technology is effective over larger areas and can work in a variety of weather conditions. It’s often used in high-security or industrial settings where precision and reliability are crucial.

Sound detection

Some security cameras are equipped with microphones that trigger recording when they detect sound above a certain threshold. This can be particularly useful in environments where visual detection is not sufficient.

Sound detection complements visual motion detection, offering an additional layer of security. It can be effective in scenarios where movement is minimal or obstructed, but noise is a reliable indicator of activity.

Why you need motion detection in your business security cameras

In today’s business landscape, security cameras are not just about recording footage; they are crucial tools for comprehensive business management and security. Integrating motion detection technology into your security cameras can transform how you monitor, manage, and grow your business. This technology not only enhances security but also provides valuable insights into customer behavior and operational efficiency. From loss prevention to optimizing customer experiences, the benefits of motion detection are diverse and impactful.

Motion detection technology in security cameras serves as a proactive tool for various aspects of your business. Here’s how it touches every part of your operations:

  • Enhance security and surveillance: Motion detection cameras activate when they sense movement, ensuring that all significant activities are recorded. This feature helps in monitoring unauthorized access or suspicious activities, strengthening overall security.
  • Effective loss prevention: By alerting staff in real-time about unusual movements, these cameras play a key role in preventing theft and vandalism, directly contributing to loss prevention efforts.
  • Measure customer footfalls: Motion detection data can be used to count the number of people entering your store, helping you measure foot traffic and conversion rates. This insight is invaluable for marketing and staffing decisions.
  • Improve conversion rates: By analyzing the movement of customers, you can identify high-traffic areas and times, enabling you to deploy staff or promotions effectively to improve conversion rates.
  • Generate heat maps for enhanced merchandising: You can use motion detection to create heat maps of customer movement patterns. This data is crucial for optimizing store layout and product placement to enhance merchandising strategies.
  • Better customer experience: Understanding customer movement helps in optimizing store layouts, reducing wait times, and ensuring that high-demand areas are well-staffed, all contributing to a better customer experience.
  • Reduce liability: Motion-activated cameras can record incidents like slips or falls, providing evidence that can be crucial for legal protection and reducing liability.
  • Ensure cleanliness and order: These cameras can help monitor areas that require regular cleaning or maintenance, ensuring a clean and orderly environment for customers and employees.
  • Track down shoplifters: With real-time alerts and recorded footage, identifying and tracking down shoplifters becomes more efficient, aiding in loss prevention.
  • Reduce internal theft: Motion detection cameras can deter and detect internal theft, ensuring employees are accountable and reducing losses from within the organization.
  • Improve shrinkage and wastage control: By monitoring areas prone to shrinkage and wastage, such as inventory rooms or kitchens, these systems help in maintaining better control over assets.

Incorporating motion detection in your business security cameras is not just a measure for safety; it’s a strategic decision that affects many facets of your operations. From security to customer insights, the advantages it offers make it an indispensable tool for modern businesses.

The integration of motion detection technology can significantly enhance your business operations. Solink’s advanced video motion detection capabilities are not just tools for security; they are powerful instruments for business intelligence and operational efficiency. 

By offering precise motion detection, real-time alerts, and insightful analytics, Solink enables businesses to not only secure their premises but also gain deeper insights into customer behavior, enhance loss prevention strategies, and improve overall business performance.

To see what business insights motion analytics can unlock, sign up for a demo today.