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RANDBURG SUN: Cameras for your safety

2nd May 2019 ,

The UFOs have landed. Numerous poles with strange grey pods have popped up on street corners all over the city, leaving many wondering exactly what their purpose is. Well, in case you haven’t heard, these new poles are for Vumacam, and it aims to revolutionise the way security operates in Joburg.

Security cameras will be attached underneath each pod and will allow private security companies to monitor them via Vumatel’s fibre network.

Right now, the operation is live and actively deploying across the city, but their plans are big for the entire country.

Gavin Hill is the director of Highpeak based in Sharonlea, one of the companies working with Vumacam and is responsible for network monitoring, system troubleshooting, and a solution to help in the processing of data.

Hill said, “This project has started in Joburg and is growing rapidly. Vumacam approached us to help with a number of services to accelerate their deployment and leverage some of our skills in the IT space. We delivered a portfolio of services to Vumacam that they outsource to private security companies. At scale, they are going to have tens of thousands of cameras on the fibre network across the country.”

Vumcam’s Ashleigh Parry said, “Our aim is to make South Africa a safer place by providing a CCTV platform that transforms how security and communities work together. We’ve created a solution that not only contributes to the efficiencies and effectiveness, we also envision it will, over time, contribute to the success of South Africa.”

The cameras allow pedestrian, vehicle, even pet and bird movement to be recorded in amazingly clear resolution.

Hill continued, “The Vumacam network generates a massive amount of data each day, for instance in the scanning of vehicle number plates, it scans between 2.5 million licence plates per day and as many as 300 per second during rush hour.”

Number plates are scanned and compared against the police circulation database, allowing the system to check if the vehicle is wanted by the police for criminal activity or has been stolen. Based on that, information is given to private security or residents associations to work in conjunction with the police to react or intercept the vehicle.

Highpeak’s technology manager Brandon Grant and company director Gavin Hill. Photo: Reuven Blignault

Parry said, “Every vehicle passing an LPR camera is checked against multiple verified databases, including SAPS listed stolen vehicles, forged plates and perpetrators on the run. Security professionals monitor feed, overlay analytics and access the LPR solution from a centralised video management system.”

Hill added, “The technology can identify whether or not a camera has been tampered with. If a criminal tampers with a camera to commit a crime, the timeframe in which an alert goes out to the security company and the criminal has to commit a crime is very tight. A security camera solution is not a replacement for traditional security. Security vehicles will still patrol as usual, this is an extra measure.”

“In this day and age privacy is a hot topic of debate and we have built our solution to ensure that concerns are respected. Our feed is only available to vetted security companies who enter into a contract with us, including agreeing to periodic audits, to ensure they abide by our strict terms and conditions, to monitor public space and track vehicles of interest. Private individuals are in fact unable to access recordings other than by following the Promotion of the Access to Information Act (PAIA) process. Further, we ensure that we adhere rigidly to the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI) and have acquired various legal opinions to ensure we are compliant.

“Although we’re primarily focused on keeping communities safer, we see the need for cities to become smarter and more efficient. We hope that we can be a part of that exciting future,” Parry added

Source: Randburg Sun