Dallmeier secures 120 court buildings in South Africa
More than 120 court buildings across SA will each be equipped with a comprehensive security system. Reliability, easy maintenance and, most importantly, longevity were important to the responsible authorities. Thus, it was decided to use products from German IP expert Dallmeier, which installed the system together with local partner firm Engineered Systems Solutions (ESS) and service provider Sondolo IT.
The South African Department of Justice (DOJ) has initiated a large-scale National Security Infrastructure Programme, which is meant to increase security at more than 120 courthouses. This is necessary as court buildings are frequently scenes of violent acts. Prisoners who attempt to escape, spectators who take the law into their own hands, or criminals who seek to avenge a judge for a verdict.
Additionally, it is necessary that important court documents stored in the court buildings are secured against theft. Also, the areas around cash registers where, for instance, fines or penalty charges are paid are often scenes of theft or robbery. Such incidents can be prevented using a video system or at least clearly reconstructed.
In the course of a tender, one specification stood out: reliable and high-quality products. With the solution it offered Sondolo IT won out over the competition. “We have offered Dallmeier products, because we have always had good experiences with the systems," says Managing Director Trevor Smangaliso Mathenjwa. “In the past, we had to deal with the problem that many end-customers chose cheaper products. However, due to the lower quality there were frequently problems. The devices had to be repeatedly repaired and eventually needed to be replaced altogether. So, looking back, the allegedly cheaper products turned out to be much more expensive. The Department of Justice has realised that it can save both time and money by making sure quality products are used from the beginning. Our offer prevailed because the attribute 'made in Germany' is highly appreciated here in South Africa, and the name Dallmeier stands for high-end products."
Optimal solutions for indoor, outdoor surveillance
Several Dallmeier cameras now monitor entrances and exits, corridors, cash register areas, courtrooms and access ways to the judges' offices. Additionally, the waiting areas for the defendants, rooms where important documents are stored as well as the outside areas of the court buildings are reliably monitored. Compact box cameras as well as controllable PTZ cameras and vandal-resistant dome cameras are used.
The images are recorded on DMS 240 “In Memory of Leonardo” devices, H.264 recorders that are able to record up to 24 cameras in real-time. The evaluation is carried out with a customised management system. Retief van der Merwe, National Operations Coordinator for Sondolo IT, explains: "The integration of the Dallmeier devices into the management system was easily possible using ActiveX. That means the video systems can now be controlled via the same system as is used for the access control, alarm systems, metal detectors or X-ray devices.”
For securing the outside areas, especially fences, the DVS 1600 is used. This is an intelligent video analysis system based on SEDOR technology. SEDOR is - as the name 'Self-Learning Event Detector' implies - a self-learning system that automatically recognises and detects different situations. Therefore, the user does not have to make any elaborate settings.
Security systems in 10 locations already successfully implemented
Across 10 courthouses, that concept has already been implemented successfully, including the magistrates' courts of Pretoria, Pretoria North, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Kempton Park, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Polokwane, Nzikazi and Nelspruit.
Surveillance according to four-eye principle
The evaluation of live and recorded images is based on three-step surveillance. Every court building has its own control room. On the next higher level those local control rooms are administered in an overriding security control room, one for every province. Eventually, data from all 127 courthouses will converge at one national control centre. This sophisticated security concept guarantees an objective evaluation of the data.
The Dallmeier recording devices offer the possibility to set up different password protected access levels. This accommodates the complex control tasks of the Department of Justice and it is ensured that every security operator is given the access authorisations they need.
Transmission despite low bandwidth with PRemote
There was, however, another challenge that had to be solved: if all control rooms are to be monitored from one national security control centre, a very high bandwidth would be required to transmit the images. Using PRemote, a transmission method developed by Dallmeier, a smooth and judder-free display is possible even at a low bandwidth.
While it produces the same image quality, it requires less bandwidth than the known 'Dual Streaming' method. That is because Dallmeier optimised the specific codec for low bandwidths. And PRemote offers another benefit. Whereas Dual Streaming only allows for the quality of live images to be adjusted, PRemote can also transmit recorded images without taking up too much bandwidth. Thus, it is not only possible to display live images, but also to evaluate them over long distances.
"Dallmeier is not just a supplier for us. We also have a very good partnership," says Trevor Smangaliso Mathenjwa. "Many manufacturers sell their products and then shuffle out of responsibility. It is different with Dallmeier whose experts were on site during the commissioning and made sure that everything was going smoothly and to the satisfaction of the customer."
And he adds: "We were always kept up to date on the latest developments and trained regularly, which was particularly important to us. So there is a continuous know-how transfer that especially benefits the customer. Owing to the trainings we are, for example, able to train security personnel on site. We also always have spare parts in stock and can fit them ourselves. Naturally that significantly reduces our reaction time."
Analogue, hybrid or IP
The courts have so far decided to use analogue cameras. "It is, however, no problem to install network cameras in the future," Retief van der Merwe explains. “The Dallmeier system can also be operated as a hybrid system. So the DOJ has the option to switch to IP technology at any time. Apart from the high quality of the products, this was another important reason for the decision, which once again emphasises the longevity and investment security of our concept."