Control & Automation

IC Realtime Unveils Latest High-Tech Surveillance Technology… Balloons

IC Realtime's Persistent Low Altitude Surveillance System (PLAS) is a camera tethered to a balloon system to capture wide area CCTV surveillance images over large crowds and natural disasters from up to 450 feet high and transmit them wirelessly in real time.


IC Realtime developed PLAS to enable law enforcement, border patrol or special event personnel the ability to remotely oversee large areas and recognize patterns or events requiring further investigation.

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IC Realtime is not blowing hot air with its new Persistent Low Altitude Surveillance (PLAS) stabilized platform that links a high-tech nighttime camera to a stabilized balloon system for overhead image capture up to 300 feet high. 

Surveillance from a high altitude provides a true birds-eye view of wide area surveillance. This is commonly known as Over Watch surveillance. 

For many years mounting the surveillance camera to the highest point (for example atop a pole or roof) was the only way to view large crowds at special events, border security and tactical applications like crime searches, looking for missing persons, natural disasters, etc.

IC Realtime developed PLAS to enable law enforcement, border patrol or special event personnel the ability to remotely oversee large areas and recognize patterns or events requiring further investigation.  


PLAS is comprised of a flight deck including power and data tether; imaging unit (camera) and its stabilized gimbal and balloon. The flight deck is a 6- x 3- x 3-inch carbon fiber housing that contains all command, control and communications equipment (i.e. the brains for the system). These integrated components provide encrypted communications to either fixed or mobile command center(s) as well as authorized mobile users.

Communications are sent via point-to-multipoint 5.8gHZ transmission system via IP connectivity (as opposed to traditional RC). IP makes it possible for one operator to control (for example pan, tilt, zoom of the camera) multiple PLAS systems at once. This makes the PLAS system unlike other aerial platforms.

PLAS is currently delivered with an IC Realtime I-Sniper nighttime camera mounted to the gimbal. However, any of IC Realtime’s imaging units (360-degree, 720-degree, thermal imaging cameras) can be used.

The PLAS system utilizes an industrial- and tactical-grade tethered balloon system from Altametry. The balloon system is comprised of an inner bladder and outer balloon that has a circumference of 6-foot. The system can reach an altitude of 455 feet.

PLAS is part of IC Realtime’s Rapid Deployment systems, which is led by the company’s Special Operations Group (SOG) within the Government Practice and Law Enforcement Division. The SOG works closely with dealers to specify and deploy PLAS for their specific customer applications.  



  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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