05 October 2012
Case Study on CCTV on the move with Urban Africa Protection Services
Protecting the protectors: CCTV on the move
The abuse of company vehicles by employees is a problem faced by all fleet owners.
Unchecked, it can significantly undermine profits and compromise service delivery, which is why company owners are increasingly embracing mobile DVR technology, says Zane Greeff, technical director of Elvey Security Technologies.
Among these is Jaco Benadie, General Manager of Urban Africa Protection Services, which provides a range of security services that include the monitoring and protection of residences and businesses, cash-in-transit and guarding. Despite operating one of the most dynamic security companies in Limpopo province, he was also challenged by ongoing problems such as excessive petrol consumption, private use of vehicles and tardy responses to call-outs.
“Without monitoring systems, employers have no idea what’s happening with armed response vehicles while they are out in the field,” he says. “It’s common for drivers to use both company time and vehicles to do their shopping, park off under a tree rather than patrolling the streets or ferry private passengers around. Misuse of company vehicles, which happens to be the most frequent occurrence in the security industry, leads to increased fuel consumption, accidents and missing vital alarm call-outs. This is obviously detrimental to the business, bearing in mind that the owner not only has to bear the brunt of the customer’s ire but also has to institute disciplinary proceedings against the employee.”
Another of Benadie’s concerns was whether staff members were following the correct course of action when attending to alarms. “A great deal of time, money and effort goes into training employees and building a client base. It’s therefore critical to be able to monitor personnel with regard to the appropriateness of their reactions in the various situations they face and to empower them with regard to protecting themselves, hence the need to be able to view their training in action.”
Impressed by the efficacy of mobile applications overseas, Mr Benadie, a technology fundi with a host of CCTV installations behind him, decided to “bite the bullet” and have his company vehicles kitted out with mobile DVR systems. Accordingly, he turned to Bryan Krause, branch manager for Elvey Security Technologies in Polokwane, and networking specialist Rawstorne Van Jaarsveld, who owns Phakisa Technologies. Together, the trio put their heads together to come up with a bespoke solution that would not only meet all his security and management needs but would also be tamper-proof and robust enough to withstand the harsh conditions concomitant with mobile applications.
A key requirement was for the system to be able to operate on a normal car battery. Accordingly, they selected a mobile DVR that operates on a range of 8 to 60 volts, which is suitable for vehicles of all sizes and offers protection against overvoltage, under-voltage and over-current. Additional benefits of the chosen DVR include an air connector interface, which provides water- and shock proofing, and a 4 channel audio input with 4 self-defined, four-sided zones for privacy masking on each camera. It also offers a multi-information display feature and a recording application for license plate number, time, GPS, speed and station information.
The mobile dome cameras come with a host of impressive features such as 700 TVL (television line) resolution. This, he explains, is achieved through the use of Sony’s state-of-the-art EXview HAD CCD II & Effio-E Digital Signal Processors (DSP), to provide excellent colour reproduction and image detail under the continuously changing image backlight conditions experienced by mobile applications.
There is also an Automatic Gain Control (AGC) feature, which lowers the internal settings if signals received by the lens are strong, or raises them when the signals are weak. In so doing, the camera automatically adjusts the picture signal to a predetermined value in order to prevent loss of detail. Equipped with Back Light Compensation (BLC), the cameras are also able to detect differences in illumination. “Rather than showing the viewing area at a single luminance level, the camera can increase the range of the luminance in order to prevent any noticeable differences in the pictures,” explains Mr Krause, adding that the cameras can endure power fluctuations of around 10 percent.
Strategic placement of the four camera system allows for the capture of imagery from inside as well as of the driver, passenger and the front, left and right sides of the vehicle. As a result, the control room operator is able to view the surroundings as well as the alarm incident and then arrange for back-up from the police or other nearby armed response vehicles.
Among the many important functionalities of the system is its ability to automatically connect to the control room WIFI network and back-up data and footage while vehicles are parked on the company premises during shift changes, says Mr Van Jaarsveld. “This has serious cost-saving implications since the streaming and downloading of footage from the 3G network is dramatically reduced. What’s more, the company’s reports are so much easier to file and retrieve owing to the fact that the logs are digital and time-stamped.”
The DVR is able to send a GPS beacon back to the control room, which makes it possible to remotely view the location of a vehicle at any time. “This is an extremely handy function because, in the event of an emergency, I can summon the nearest vehicle to the scene and I’m in better control of what is actually happening,” says Mr Benadie. “I can also see if our reaction officers are responding to alarms timeously and if they’re using the correct course of action. What’s more, I can use GPS tracking rather than remote viewing to see if any of my patrol vehicles are out of their jurisdiction.”
He adds: “The cameras help keep my staff honest. Since the installation of the system, there has been no abuse of our vehicles, no lifting of strangers and, most importantly, there have been no accidents.
Owing to his fleet’s zero abuse rating, the company has been able to embrace a greener philosophy, says Mr Benadie further. “Quite simply, the less our vehicles drive, the less carbon is released and the less damage is done to the environment.”
In conclusion, Mr Benadie urges alarm monitoring companies to utilise mobile DVR technology. “The capabilities of the system, in terms of vehicle and driver management, are unbelievable. It has become an invaluable tool for our company, not least of all because it has corrected a whole lot of behavioural issues that were previously beyond our control. Having implemented a mobile DVR system, we’re saving time, money and letting our customers and staff know that we are serious about our protecting them and their properties.”
For more information about mobile CCTV solutions for your fleet, please contact your nearest Elvey Security Technologies branch.
Customer: Urban Security – Jaco Benadie
Consultant: Phakisa Technology – Rawstorne Van Jaarsveld
Equipment provider: Elvey Security Technologies
Written and prepared by Priyesh Jagjivan
Elvey Security Technologies
Tel – 011 4016700