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IOT a game-changer for under-served security market

Johannesburg, 11 Aug 2020
Read time 4min 30sec
Ushal Moonsamy, Chief Solutions Officer, Sqwidnet
Ushal Moonsamy, Chief Solutions Officer, Sqwidnet

Imagine a world in which everyone in South Africa has their basic security needs covered, no matter where they live or work. Imagine having the same quick reaction to a burglary that they do in the leafy suburbs, even though you may live in a densely populated informal settlement. This is possible today. IOT solutions are driving the next generation of property security and expanding the ability to protect all types of assets, beyond just vehicles and electronic appliances. From early warning tamper alerts to proximity sensors and smart cameras, IOT solutions are disruptive technologies being used by security companies and consumers alike to keep themselves safe and their hard-earned assets secure.

“Personal, home, community and business security are an imperative in South Africa, considering its high crime rates,” says Ushal Moonsamy, SqwidNet’s Chief Solutions Officer. “However, it’s the under-served communities that are the most affected, as up until now, early warning systems and armed response have been impractical and unaffordable.

“IOT has opened up a whole new security frontier for households who cannot afford high-end security systems through the power of low-cost but effective solutions that tap into the power of community surveillance and response without investing in expensive infrastructure. Disruptive technologies are allowing all South Africans to have their basic security needs covered.”

Moonsamy says the variety of solutions available – ranging from legacy to smart solutions – and across various technology fronts such as low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), GSM and VHF have now enabled all consumers to have options. Systems are modular, making it affordable to build and deploy as and where needed, allowing for cost control and realistic returns. She also says that LPWAN sensors – giving a voice to almost anything, anywhere, that is a critical datapoint – coupled with mobile smartphones, are enabling solutions that require no installation and are extremely easy to understand and use, immediately improving the quality of life for all South Africans.

Moonsamy adds: “The advent of low-cost and community-based security solutions can provide affordable and effective protection for you and your home by empowering communities to work together in community groups. Having security is no longer restricted to higher LSMs. The lower-end LSMs can now access affordable solutions that are easy to set up and use with no technical knowledge required.”

“Traditional security systems can easily be augmented to protect assets and detect breach points,” continues Moonsamy. “Previously, this was neither simple nor cost-effective to do. Now, through the power of IOT, key assets such as gate motors, generators, trailers and breach points such as garage doors and fences can communicate via the network using battery-powered solutions that are highly resilient to jamming – protecting customers and their prized possessions. All that is needed is an application that alerts customers of breaches, a backend where the big data and analytics lay to provide the intelligence needed to act swiftly, low-cost connectivity and devices that attach to assets and breach points to sense tamper or distress.

“The first line of defence is on the perimeter boundary of an establishment. Turning fence structures into smart fences, which can alert you to tampering, greatly improves the security of the protected area. The structure can then act as a physical delay barrier, adding time to respond to the alert.

“Where there is little to no infrastructure or services on the perimeter – and physical fencing is very costly to install – one could deploy a virtual fencing solution, using geo-fencing.” This allows for breach monitoring, knowing when assets are close to or move out of a predefined area.

The alarms raised are so precise that they take the guesswork out of assessing what threat to safety has happened, and can provide critical context when alerting the community, family, armed response, police, or all of the above. “Unauthorised movement detected from the Mbatha residence!”

The benefits of IOT extend beyond the faster reaction time to the initial alarm-raising. IOT improves remote visibility and enables better decision-making. Shared information can be used by machine-learning to look for patterns that allow the community to be more proactive when protecting assets.

Further, these LPWAN systems provide the versatility to support many market sectors and applications, beyond just security. They aid in stolen vehicle recovery, asset tracking, supply chain, and utilities management.

Moonsamy says this type of ecosystem is in use in a wide array of sectors, including agriculture, game reserves, prisons, airports and commercial and industrial areas.

“Essentially, traditionally closed economies, like fast-response security, become more open and more effective through working with communities and partners. Consider the additional win as local vendors are finding ways to overcome South Africa’s crime and have the wherewithal to scale their products to new markets, opening global markets for local security companies. Feedback is that if the security solution works here, it will work anywhere in the world,” concludes Moonsamy.

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