The Benefits of SMART IR

What is Smart IR?

Our eyes are designed to detect visible lightwaves across the electromagnetic spectrum, although we can only detect a small portion. Infrared waves fall in between what is visible to us and microwaves which are completely invisible. Infrared waves can be measured as the heat an object emits, and every object emits some level of energy, even if it is small.

An imager inside a camera allows you to capture the heat image projected by an object, and this feature is called SMART IR, or Smart infrared. Cameras with this ability are able to convert the infrared energy into electrical signals, which is then converted to an image.

Understanding IR

In order to understand the benefits of Smart IR, it’s helpful to recap how infrared security cameras work. In most night-time scenarios, very little ambient light is available. Depending on the setting, ambient light can come from sources such as street lamps, building lights, the stars, and the moon.

In order to see at night, IR security cameras use infrared LED arrays to augment the available ambient lighting. The LED arrays convert photons from the ambient light into a light that is visible by the camera imager, making the subject visible but with a light source that produces no visible light.

Benefits of Smart IR

Standard infrared security cameras are well suited for applications where the field of view and focal length are fixed and known. However, customers can make the mistake of purchasing an IR camera that does not fit their application because they do not know the size of their coverage area. For example, installing a camera with an IR range of 150’ when the area under surveillance is 50 ft from the camera.

This often leads to either over- or under-illuminated video footage. “Hot spots” (over-IR-exposed scenes) and dark spots (under-IR-exposed scenes) generally occur because users misjudge the strength of the IR array needed for their application.

SMART IR Diagram

Smart IR addresses these common challenges with standard IR cameras by taking the guess work out of setting up IR surveillance cameras. They automatically adjust the infrared light required in a scene as the subject moves closer to or further away from the camera, resulting in a clear image that is not washed out or too dark.

Applications that would greatly benefit from Smart IR include high traffic areas where subjects move towards and away from the camera such as:

  • Store fronts
  • Gated access points
  • Home entry and exit points

Most infrared cameras have preset factory settings forcing users to use a predetermined IR range and field of view.

BLACK bullet cameras with Smart IR enable users to define, position, size and set their target IR area through an on-screen display and on-board joystick control — saving valuable time and labor costs.