11 May 2012

Wireless technology, the invisible in motion


Billions of rands, from both government and the private sector, will be poured into South Africa’s construction industry over the next three years, as part of a concerted effort to create up to 100 000 much-needed jobs in the course of upgrading the country’s infrastructure.[1]


However, warns Zane Greeff, technical director for Elvey Security Technologies, theft from sites is likely to undermine the success of the various ventures unless adequate security measures are put in place.


“Criminal activity on building sites, particularly those that house steel, copper, cement and other re-sellable commodities, is a massive problem in South Africa,” says Mr. Greeff.


An ardent advocate of the use of wireless technology to safeguard sites and materials, he says that while the technology has been around for some time its continuous and astounding development is adding immeasurably to the convenience of life in the 21st century. 


Technology has become a major influence in the security industry, upping the ante of the intrusion alarm to the point where any site, no matter how architecturally challenging or remote, can be protected against even the most determined criminals, he notes. 


Wireless, has many advantages over its hard-wired cousins, continues Mr Greeff. “I recently visited an extremely upmarket corporate building that boasted a state-of-the-art, wireless security system. Owing to its design, a hard-wired system was not an option, not only from an aesthetic perspective but also because it would not have been able to secure certain areas that would have then been very vulnerable to criminals. For example, in a large office park environment some areas are not offered any protection due to the large distance of wiring needed between the control panel and the detector. Wireless technology is revolutionising the traditional alarm system, not least of all because there is no more laying of cables, which was the most tedious process for installers.  Now all that’s required is placement and programming, which is not only important to installers but also for property owners wanting an aesthetically pleasing end result.


Not only does wireless security technology offer high-level protection for every nook and cranny but it’s just as effective outdoors as it is inside.  What’s more, only the main control panel needs a power source – all peripheral connections operate on battery power – which means it can be installed just about anywhere on the premises. 


In addition, systems such as the Visonic PowerMaster 10, have been designed to use minimum power, which is in accordance with the worldwide move to greening.  It’s also a huge plus for power-challenged countries such as South Africa, says Mr Greeff, since, through the use of the system’s adaptive transmission power mechanism, every wireless device registered on the panel is continuously measured for communication quality.  The panel automatically sets its transmission power to the minimum desired quality between the two, which has the added advantage of extending battery life to up to eight years.  And from a health point of view, minimized transmissions translate to cleaner air on site.


Another great advantage of wireless on construction sites is that devices can be moved around to protect newly vulnerable areas as other areas are completed and become inaccessible from the outside.


In Mr Greeff’s opinion, the Visonic PowerMaster 10 is one of the leaders in the field of wireless security, partly because of its extremely large transmission range (approximately 2000m line of sight), which far exceeds the industry standard.  “This means that big sites can be completely protected without repeaters having to be purchased,” he points out.  Not only does this have cost-cutting implications for site owners but it also cuts down on installation time, leaving more time for installers to visit more sites and service more customers. In addition, it allows for maintenance to be done remotely, thereby saving the central monitoring companies money on technician callouts and travel costs.  Last but not least, it less CO2 emissions into the environment.


An often-asked question of Mr Greeff is how safe data transmission is between the Keyfob, the control panel and other connected devices.  “Very,” he replies, “as a result of the revolutionary PowerG technology at the core of the system.”


PowerG uses Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology, derived from military communication applications, to overcome intentional and unintentional interferences and jamming.  It employs AES-128 advanced encryption to protect the alarm system from sophisticated intruders, code grabbing and message substitution by hackers.  It also eliminates message collisions through the use of full two-way TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) synchronized communication technology.





Prepared by Priyesh Jagjivan

Elvey Security Technologies

Tel: (011) 401 6700


[1] President Jacob Zuma: February 2012 State of the Nation address

Elvey Marketing