A‘big brother’ se­cu­rity so­lu­tion

Business Day - Home Front - - HOME FRONT -

OWN­ERS of properties in res­i­den­tial es­tates of­ten have a false sense of se­cu­rity due to the es­tate al­ready hav­ing guards, elec­tric fences and the like.

How­ever, res­i­den­tial es­tates are be­ing tar­geted in­creas­ingly by crim­i­nals and of­ten hav­ing a se­cu­rity com­pany man­ag­ing the res­i­den­tial es­tate is not enough.

Alarm sys­tems and armed re­sponse can only pro­vide a cer­tain amount of pro­tec­tion to de­ter in­trud­ers.

For ex­am­ple, if an alarm is trig­gered se­cu­rity com­pa­nies of­ten only con­duct perime­ter checks as they are un­able to gain ac­cess to properties.

Fur­ther­more, by the time the guards ar­rive it is of­ten too late and high-value goods have al­ready been stolen. This has high­lighted the need for re­mote mon­i­tor­ing of CCTV footage via mo­bile de­vices.

A CCTV so­lu­tion with re­mote mon­i­tor­ing on smart­phones, tablets or PCs should be a part of any holis­tic se­cu­rity so­lu­tion. Us­ing this com­bi­na­tion of tools, along with in­tel­li­gent in­te­gra­tion with alarms and other se­cu­rity de­vices, al­lows own­ers of prop­erty in a res­i­den­tial es­tate to view their prop­erty re­motely. This of­fers greater peace of mind, tighter se­cu­rity, and added re­turn on in­vest­ment.

In to­day’s world, with crime on the in­crease, CCTV so­lu­tions have gained pop­u­lar­ity in the res­i­den­tial se­cu­rity mar­ket. Th­ese cam­eras cap­ture footage of what is hap­pen­ing at the prop­erty, which can give a bet­ter in­di­ca­tion of events when an in­tru­sion oc­curs. How­ever, CCTV alone is only use­ful af­ter the fact, and is a re­ac­tive so­lu­tion at best.

The most ef­fec­tive way to se­cure the prop­erty is to in­stall an in­tel­li­gent CCTV so­lu­tion that en­ables re­mote mon­i­tor­ing via mo­bile de­vices, al­low­ing res­i­dents and home-own­ers to “check in” pe­ri­od­i­cally or if an alarm event is ac­ti­vated.

With the cor­rect place­ment of cam­eras, home-own­ers can gain a full view of ev­ery an­gle of the house and prop­erty, in­side and out. When alarms do go off, the rea­son can be ver­i­fied quickly and in­struc­tions re­layed to se­cu­rity com­pa­nies to en­sure that the cor­rect ac­tion is taken.

How­ever, while CCTV so­lu­tions and even re­mote mon­i­tor­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties are read­ily avail­able, the chal­lenge is that not all so­lu­tions are cre­ated equal and the old adage “you get what you pay for” has never been more apt.

In or­der to gain a solid re­turn on in­vest­ment from in­te­grat­ing CCTV and re­mote mon­i­tor­ing into res­i­den­tial se­cu­rity, sev­eral fac­tors should be con­sid­ered.

The first, and pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant, con­sid­er­a­tion is the amount of band­width re­quired to view re­mote footage. Of­ten, CCTV cam­eras will re­quire up­wards of 256 kilo­bits/sec­ond of band­width to stream the video, and in re­al­ity the band­width re­quire­ments are too high for qual­ity footage to be streamed from re­mote ar­eas.

Much of SA does not have 3G cov­er­age, which is one of the tech­nolo­gies that de­liv­ers the re­quired speed for this trans­mis­sion, and even in ar­eas where there is cov­er­age, us­ing this much band­width is ex­pen­sive and may pro­duce an in­ter­mit­tent feed at best.

Home own­ers should look for so­lu­tions that use as lit­tle band­width as pos­si­ble to trans­mit qual­ity im­ages, such as those that of­fer 8 kilo­bits/sec­ond or 1 kilo­byte/sec­ond stream­ing.

How­ever, it is im­por­tant to note that many sup­pli­ers of th­ese mo­bile so­lu­tions con­fuse the cus­tomer by in­ter­chang­ing kilo­bits with kilo­bytes, cre­at­ing the im­pres­sion that the so­lu­tion uses less band­width than it does in re­al­ity.

Choos­ing a re­mote so­lu­tion that fea­tures stream­ing of 8 kilo­bits or 1 kilo­byte/sec­ond will en­sure that no mat­ter where the user is they will be able to mon­i­tor cam­eras on any cell­phone or tablet, even in ar­eas where only GPRS or EDGE ca­pa­bil­ity is avail­able.

The so­lu­tion should also of­fer the fa­cil­ity to record footage at a higher qual­ity than is trans­mit­ted, so that the full qual­ity video can be ac­cessed at a later stage if nec­es­sary.

You must re­mem­ber al­ways to ask for a “live” demon­stra­tion, as well as ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the band­width us­age be­fore choos­ing any so­lu­tion.

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is the abil­ity of the CCTV and mon­i­tor­ing so­lu­tion to in­te­grate into ex­ist­ing se­cu­rity fea­tures and so­lu­tions. To gain max­i­mum re­turn on in­vest­ment, ide­ally CCTV and re­mote ac­cess should be able to in­te­grate with alarms, gates, garage doors and so on, with the abil­ity to send alerts via e-mail and SMS. This in turn al­lows the so­lu­tion to send no­ti­fi­ca­tions to the user when alarms are trig­gered so they can log in and view what is hap­pen­ing.

The so­lu­tion should also in­te­grate elec­tric gates and garage doors, for ex­am­ple, so that re­mote open­ing of th­ese de­vices is pos­si­ble. In this way, should an alarm go off the home owner can log in, view what is hap­pen­ing and even open the gate to al­low se­cu­rity per­son­nel to gain ac­cess. Us­ing th­ese in­te­gra­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties, alarms can even be armed and dis­armed re­motely, so that the home owner can al­low gar­den ser­vices, house-sit­ters and so on to gain ac­cess and the prop­erty can be se­cured when they leave.

Re­mote mon­i­tor­ing and in­te­grated CCTV can ben­e­fit the res­i­den­tial mar­ket not only when res­i­dents are away on hol­i­day but at any other time of the year as well. They en­able users to take full con­trol over the home while they are at work or else­where.

For ex­am­ple, should a vis­i­tor such as a tech­ni­cian, elec­tri­cian or even de­liv­ery per­son call at the gate, the user can ver­ify their iden­tity us­ing the cam­eras be­fore de­cid­ing whether or not to al­low them ac­cess.

Cam­eras can also be used to mon­i­tor peo­ple within the home, en­sur­ing that do­mes­tic work­ers are do­ing their jobs, chil­dren are do­ing their home­work and that pets are not climb­ing on the fur­ni­ture, to name but a few ex­am­ples.

Se­cu­rity is an im­por­tant part of liv­ing in SA to­day and ob­tain­ing a com­pre­hen­sive, holis­tic se­cu­rity so­lu­tion should be a key pri­or­ity for res­i­dents who live in es­tates.

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