When it comes to systems integration, intrusion detectors and sensors are the ties that bind. They provide the basis for alerting breaches at the protected premises and can be used in other security activities, including triggering camera recording or in conjunction with access control, doors and closers. With robust microprocessor power and overall performance, they continue to develop into smart devices that initiate and integrate a range of processes in a host of vertical markets.


Intrusion detection is transforming dramatically, and it will continue with the move to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the growing reliance on sensors as connectivity gateways to home- and building-automation processes. With greater reliability, “catch” or triggering performance, fortified signal strength and improving aesthetics, sensors and detectors are strong niche players in residential, commercial, industrial and critical infrastructure specifications.


Intrusion detection includes many different technologies and form factors. There’s outdoor microwave, fiber optic perimeter and laser detection to protect the farthest reaches of the customer’s facility or enterprise. 


Long-range optical sensors detect approaching vehicles and automobiles at the outskirts of a building and at gates and entrances. Indoor sensors range from simple intrusion to devices incorporating video and detectors for standing water, excess humidity and temperature variations above preset or compliance-regulated levels. They can be hardwired or wireless, and some devices take a hybrid approach, using both traditional wiring and radio frequency signals.


Most market players incorporate two different or dual-sensing technologies, such as passive infrared (PIR) and microwave or PIR and ultrasonic, requiring both technologies to trigger in order for alarm initiation. Recent developments focus on antivandalism features and signal encryption to prevent cyberattacks and system compromise.


New antimasking technologies


Keith Daum, director of product marketing for Tri-Ed, an Anixter Co., Woodbury, N.Y., said multipoint antimasking with integrated spray detection is a new technology in motion sensors.


“Bounce-back, retro-reflector and through-the-lens technology are key elements in masking detection,” Daum said.


These technologies are designed to prevent someone from covering or masking the field of view and work as follows:


  • Bounce-back technology creates a “bubble” of infrared (IR) energy extending approximately 1 foot in front of the detector. This bubble radiates from the IR emitter, and, if the detector is blocked, an above-
normal energy reflects back through the lenses, sending a trouble signal to the security system and indicating someone has masked the detector.

  • Retro-reflector technology detects attempts to disrupt the detector with a sprayed-on material, such as paint. If IR energy does not pass through the prisms and back to the detector as normal, a dedicated IR sensor picks up the reduced energy level and sends a trouble signal to the security system.

  • Through-the-lens technology determines whether material, such as tape, is placed directly on the detector’s optics. If the lens is masked, a photodiode receives reduced IR energy levels and sends a trouble signal to the security control.


Other intrusion detection developments include two-way wireless technology, increasing the reliability of wireless motion detectors and providing visual acknowledgement with a bright white LED, so installers know the signal has reached the panel. The white LED can also be activated based on alarm and other system events. 


According to Amy Strickland, marketing design manager, ELK Products, Connelly Springs, N.C., detectors have stepped up with cybersecurity features that address concerns centering on system hacking and compromise.


“Our two-way wireless products use encrypted communications, frequency hopping and UL-approved jamming detection to defend against interference, jamming and hacking,” she said. “They have new features and functionality that make them easier to install and troubleshoot. For example, the two-way wireless technology is manufactured in such a way as to eliminate multiple trips up the ladder while installers walk-test the units. A few button presses at a keypad initiate the walk test mode. The bright white LED can be seen from across the room and provides visual confirmation that the detector is working.”


Installation features save time in the field as well as overall job costs.


“Sensitivity-selection switches, integrated end-of-line resistors, sliding self-locking enclosures, common mounting bases between models, lift-gate terminal strips and flexible mounting heights are all making it easier for installers,” Daum said.


Motion detectors and sensors also offer greater connectivity and are becoming gateways to the IoT.


Unobtrusive, powerful, intuitive sensor and detector innovation brings greater interoperability to integrated systems solutions. Watch as they continue to take hold in the IoT and new applications are discovered.