18 January 2013

Case Study: Barko Financial Services



The challenge

With more than 400 employees in its 80 plus branches, all of which hold large sums of money on site, Barko Financial Services needed a highly advanced security system to protect its people and premises.

Aware of the limitations of a one-size-fits-all system, the company approached Elvey Security Technologies to find a solution for its complex security needs, says Vic Marnewick, technical manager for Barko Financial Services.

One of South Africa’s leading micro-finance companies, Barko provides credit to millions of modest-earners throughout South Africa.  It currently operates in five provinces (Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu-Natal), with its central monitoring station located in Pretoria.

Explains Mr Marnewick: “Barko Financial Services is a large operation which is vulnerable to theft, robbery and fraud owing to the presence of large amounts of cash on the premises.  We therefore required a highly specialised, customised security solution that would ensure the protection of our employees, clients and property.”

The system had to meet a number of challenges.  Firstly, the company’s central monitoring station had to be able to deal with alarm signals originating from all over the country.  “Should our Polokwane branch experience an alarm, for instance, we had to be able to handle it in Pretoria since our branch managers are not allowed access to the alarm panel logs.  Only our security supervisors have access to them, in order to protect the integrity of the logs,” says Mr Marnewick. 

Another issue was the company’s alarm panels.  Programmed to communicate with the control centre via GPRS, signal transmission over the public network was unreliable.  He explains: “We were particularly concerned about signal failure in an emergency such as an armed robbery since our control room operators would be totally blind and accordingly unable to render timeous and appropriate assistance.”

Further to this, Barko needed to address its control room’s inability to receive live feeds from branches.  “We have to have our eyes on all our branches in order to be able to monitor situations as well as catch dishonest clients and staff,” he says.

The solution

After consulting with security systems expert Leon Le Roux, a senior member of the Elvey team, the decision was taken to install an advanced in-house surveillance, monitoring and communication system that would springboard off DSC’s new 1864 alarm panel.  Explains Mr Le Roux:  “The DSC 1864, which was installed in all the branches, provides impressive levels of security as a result of its support of wireless and IP communication as well as applications such as wireless communicators and office automation.  It also offers a 500-event buffer, programmable night zone, automatic Contact ID and partition-able auto-arm timer.”

The solution to Barko’s communication problem was arrived at through the DSC TL250, a communicator that allows for redundancy signals to be sent to the control room via an IP line. Data transmissions created by TL250 IP alarm communicators are small and require very little network bandwidth, which ensures instant, reliable and accurate delivery of signals. “The unit offers excellent functionality,” says Mr Marnewick.  “For one, it can report to two different IP addresses, which means it doesn’t go down even if the primary receiver IP address becomes inaccessible.  For another, our security staff can extract event logs over the Internet from the comfort of the control room without them having to drive or fly to the branches.”

The system’s CCTV component makes it possible for Barko Financial Services to monitor all its branches via the click of a button.  Smaller branches were fitted with 4 channel DVRs while larger branches received 8 or 16 channel DVRs, all boasting built-in web servers. “This feature makes it possible for us to access live footage from any camera on the system from the control room,” he says. 

The cameras provided by Elvey boast premium features such as high resolution 420TV Lines and 0.1Lux for low light level imaging.  They also offer an onboard array of functions such as white balance, automatic gain control and back light compensation, according to Mr Le Roux.   

In closing ...

“This is an incredible system,” says a delighted Mr Marnewick.  “Since its installation, we haven’t missed an alarm communication or signal.  What’s more, staff members no longer have to waste company money and time travelling to the branches to retrieve event logs – they now download them in our control room.”

He concludes: “We’re also impressed with the functionality of the CCTV component of the system which not only allows us to monitor our branches remotely but, as a result of its facial recognition application, makes it possible for us to highlight suspicious characters and obtain vital evidence that can be used in court.”

Prepared and submitted by Priyesh Jagjivan

Elvey Security Technologies

Tel: (011) 401 6700

Elvey Marketing