Secure your assets over December

Johannesburg, 03 Dec 2020
Read time 3min 40sec
Barry Venter, CEO, Nashua.
Barry Venter, CEO, Nashua.

Stats published in November by the SAPS and Stats SA show a massive increase in crime during the July to September period compared to the previous quarter. While admittedly the country was in a hard lockdown over that period, the signs are that crime – particularly robbery – is on the increase and businesses and residential estates need to take cognisance of that and secure their premises for the holiday season.

Barry Venter, CEO of Nashua, says there are three key measures that should be implemented to protect offices and residential premises over the December shutdown.

“Firstly, make sure that your premises are secured properly. Then, you need to ensure that you’ve installed a proper surveillance system that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to assess threats and trigger appropriate alarms. Finally, you need to connect all of that to an offsite monitoring control room.”

Surveillance technology has advanced significantly over the past couple of years, incorporating advancements such as AI to improve detection capabilities and reduce false alarms owing to animals, birds and bad weather. “Deep learning algorithms mean today’s surveillance cameras have highly accurate detection capabilities and only humans or vehicles intruding into the designated zone will trigger an alarm.”

On detection of intrusion, the system sets off an alarm to warn off the intruder, then immediately captures a snapshot of the scene and sends it to the offsite control room or the relevant contact person, so they can assess the situation and take the appropriate action. All of this happens in real-time, so a response can be immediate and based on live events.

For later review, the footage can be sorted by subject matter, such as human or vehicle, making it easier and quicker to retrieve an event from an extensive archive of material.

Venter explains: “Having camera surveillance of your property means that events can be viewed live, as they unfold. Previously, footage had to be reviewed after the fact to see what had occurred. Today, with the advances made in technology such as artificial intelligence built into the cameras, we’re able to see incidents as they take place, and react accordingly.”

Should an alarm sound at a site, the live footage can pop up on the screens on off-site monitors or via a user’s cellphone app. “The AI that we’re seeing in these IP cameras has really advanced in the past few years. Another major advancement – over and above thermal technology – is colour technology. The majority of crime happens at night. Darkness provides cover for theft, trespassing and other crimes. When using a conventional camera with infrared lighting for night monitoring, people, vehicles or other important details can be blurry and difficult to identify in black and white.”

We’ve all seen those blurry black and white images on our neighbourhood WhatsApp groups of people suspected of committing crimes in the area. The likelihood of someone being identified from those images is scanty at best.

However, with today’s advances in camera technology that enable high resolution night vision, the view at night is as good as daylight without any additional lighting being required. The lens technology generates a picture that looks like it was recorded in daylight. The result is excellent colour rendering, even in low light conditions, more detailed information and improved ability to assess what's really occurring in real-time. This could prove useful for forensic review at a later stage to identify suspects or vehicles.

Venter says: “All of these technological innovations in surveillance equipment mean that businesses and residential complexes can keep their people and their possessions safer. Not only can we reduce the incidence of false alarms, which waste time and resources, it’s now possible to ensure clear footage even in dimly lit areas. The ability to monitor premises remotely means there’s no need to have a security guard on site, and resources are only dispatched when an alarm is triggered.”

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