By Drew Alexander

A 2017 study completed by the United States Department of Agriculture stated that there are over 2 million farms in the U.S., totaling more than 910 million acres.  With the average farm topping over 400 acres, the cost of equipment needed during planting and harvest can often range between $200,000 and $400,000 for specialty tractors, implements or combine accessories.  Whether it’s material handling products or industrial machinery, today’s farm equipment dealers and manufacturers that support the agricultural community’s needs are developing more innovative solutions than ever before.

However, if finished goods or raw materials are vandalized or stolen, the impact on production and sales could be staggering. That is why dealers and manufacturers often use after-hours outdoor security solutions to prevent criminal activity. If copper is stolen or an implement is robbed through an intentionally cut fence, a dealer loses the opportunity for revenue. When finished goods are stolen from either distribution or production facilities, manufacturers could miss critical deadlines for their dealer base. Today, both scenarios are becoming more common — but criminal activity can be mitigated using thermal sensor technology and video alarm verification.

Perimeter Security with Thermal Sensors

Having the ability to monitor individuals attempting to break into your property’s perimeter requires an intelligent solution. Thermal sensors can detect an intruder’s body heat in complete darkness or harsh environments like fog, rain, sleet and snow. The sensors can then trigger an alarm that the perimeter has been violated. Thermal Perimeter Detection safeguards both farm equipment dealers with acres of inventory, as well as equipment manufacturing and distribution sites with raw materials and final goods.

Thermal security has become significantly more cost-efficient over the past few years, allowing dealers and manufacturers to add military-grade science to their outdoor protection. Each thermal sensor can be installed on buildings, electrical poles or pointed down a fence line to trigger an alarm and capture video of an intruder. Additionally, some farm equipment dealers have used thermal sensors to scan their yard to detect movement if an intruder has already breached a physical fence.

“For most environments, if an intruder is already within the fence, they’re a threat to cause real damage,” said Charlie Erickson, EVP Product Development, 3xLOGIC.  “Farm equipment dealers and manufacturers can proactively isolate these areas to monitor inventory or assets.”

Manufacturers with distribution centers often choose to monitor areas where foot traffic shouldn’t be during an after-hours setting.

“With Thermal Perimeter Detection, each sensor triggers an alarm and captures video of the intruder as soon as they enter monitoring zones for the property” said Erickson. “An equipment distribution center has specialized agricultural product that thieves target, but you can’t hide body heat. The sensor captures the criminal’s heat signature as soon as they enter somewhere they’re not supposed to be.”

Benefits of Combining Analytics and Video Verification

Once a thermal sensor triggers an alarm and captures an intruder on video, the clip is sent to a STANLEY Security monitoring center for review by a verification employee. The sensor’s built-in analytics software help verification employees monitor and determine the difference between body heat and surrounding environment. This increases the accuracy of evidence, leading to priority police response once an alarm is verified.

“The benefit for customers is the thermal analytics can show the difference between trees, blowing trash or other inanimate objects” said Drew Alexander, Director of Product Management for STANLEY Security. “Thermal sensors can see intruders through rain, snow, fog and sleet so we can escalate a priority police dispatch during a break-in. It’s truly innovative technology that more business owners should know about.”

Thermal Perimeter Detection also includes an integrated mobile phone app which allows customers to view both live and recorded video clips. These video clips help both the video verification employees at STANLEY and the property owner to monitor the exact location of an intruder in real-time.  

Verification Decreases Business Loss

Maintaining the perimeter security of a farm equipment dealer or manufacturer is not an easy task. Thermal sensors, advanced analytics and video verification are a powerful combination that can help escalate priority police response, prevent business disruption and minimize financial risk.  STANLEY has multiple thermal sensors with different focal lengths and field-of-views, including wide & extended-range cameras that can classify intruders from 250 feet away. 

“Thermal Perimeter Detection is no longer for large-budget farming corporations,” continued Erickson.  “These agricultural environments are people’s livelihoods and how they earn their money.  It is their foundation to get through their day, and now they can have the tools necessary for 24/7 peace of mind at an affordable price.”

About the Author
Drew Alexander is Director of Product Management for STANLEY Security, a provider of commercial security and division of Stanley Black & Decker. Alexander’s professional experience in thermal video, analytics and data integration appeals to a wide range of industries throughout the security market, including equipment dealers and manufacturers who serve farmers, construction rental and utilities. To connect with Alexander, please email him directly at