What You Need To Know About License Plate Recognition

blue car driving on the highway

Say you’re a business owner, and your world is currently being turned upside down. Masked assailants have robbed your store and are currently speeding away, along with all of your earnings. But what if you weren’t concerned at all in this situation? What if you knew there was no way they could get away with the crime when things were all said and done? If your security system is equipped with license plate recognition software, they probably won’t get away with it, and your hard-earned cash and other goods will be back where they belong soon.

Let’s take a look at how this software works and everything it has to offer!

How License Plate Recognition Works

Like many aspects of modern security systems, cameras are the key device here. License Plate Recognition (also referred to as LPR or ALPR) systems use cameras to capture images of license plates that then undergo enhancements to improve definition and clarity. Optical Character Recognition technology is then used to identify and interpret the letters and numbers on the license plate in question. The full number is then compared with a database of known plates and the owner of the vehicle is identified. Those robbers may make it away from the scene of the crime, but once they’re identified with a license plate reader, it’s only a matter of time until they’re apprehended.

Components of an LPR System

Of course, this isn’t all done within the camera. There are multiple components that make up the whole of an LPR system:

  • Cameras: Specialized cameras are designed with features that optimize them for LPR, like infrared abilities.
  • Software: The software itself includes algorithms that allow for image processing and database matching. This is the component that handles the actual recognition process.
  • Databases: Real-time matches are possible thanks to the databases the software is connected to, which contain vehicle registration details.
  • Networking: All these systems operate seamlessly thanks to the multiple networks the license plate reader is connected to.

Benefits of License Plate Recognition

So we’ve talked about how LPR systems work, but what about the actual benefits they provide? The burglary scenario we covered earlier is an obvious one, but there are plenty of other applications for this aspect of a security system. Some of them don’t even deal with security!

Have you ever been to a toll booth that didn’t have an actual person collecting your money? It was probably operated with the help of ALPR. It can even streamline the process of parking in big lots and garages, reducing the need for human intervention.

Another application is one plenty of us are familiar with: traffic cameras. You know how it goes. You’re speeding down the road and you see that flash, and you just know you’ve been caught. Sure enough, you get a letter in the mail a few days later that includes a picture of your speeding vehicle, its license plate clearly distinguishable.

Meanwhile, businesses are adopting LPR for security purposes, but also for customer service. Using the software to track customer visits and parking availability, business owners are able to glean valuable information that helps them improve efficiency and service!

License Plate Recognition also has applications in law enforcement, It’s often used to locate stolen vehicles, identify suspects, and enforce various traffic laws. We’ve mentioned that it can help with parking management, but did you know it can be used as a form of access control? Secured facilities and gated communities can be set up so that authorized license plates can be used as keycards!

Challenges and Limitations

As with all technology, there are certain limitations. Just as a drug test can produce a false positive, so can plate recognition software. These instances are rare, but are something to consider if you’re considering utilizing this solution.

There are also privacy concerns to consider. The more frequently people feel like they’re being watched, the fewer private spaces there are. It’s a careful balancing act of privacy and safety that should be considered when implementing software like this.

As for the effectiveness of LPR software, there are certain factors that simply can’t be eliminated. Most of them boil down to weather and other nature-driven obstructions. The most obvious obstruction here is rain reducing the quality of images taken by any of these cameras, but there are other more hilarious examples—like the man who was spared from a speeding ticket by a bird with impeccable timing.

See It for Yourself

LPR tech plays a vital role in our infrastructure—often in ways we don’t realize. From law enforcement to parking management, it’s a truly versatile solution that takes security on the road. By striking a good balance between technological benefits and privacy considerations, it can be leveraged in some truly innovative ways.

Ready to take the next step in implementing this tech into your business? Next Generation Security Concepts is happy to help you get there. Get in touch with us and see your security thrive!