As markets mature and technology expands beyond the limitations of only a few years ago, the solutions companies are able to create have expanded beyond the ability to restrict them to a specific category.
BeSecure is a company that has taken security and communications technologies and turned them into what is best described as care and safety solutions for the aged community in South African retirement villages. Starting from a small base, BeSecure is now able to offer panic and home care solutions to individuals, as well as to care facilities such as frail care in retirement communities. It also offers seamless and even contactless access control and visitor management to retirement villages.
The company was started by three partners, Francois Geldenhuys, Andy Minnaar and Barry East, with a focus on retirement villages. Having developed its technology stack for the retirement market, from the beginning of 2020, BeSecure now offers its technology solutions to all residential and lifestyle estates. Below is a brief summary of some of the home-grown solutions available from the company.
South Africa is no stranger to panic buttons, but in elderly communities, these serve more than a security function. Elderly people might need assistance when they fall or suffer other health problems. BeSecure has designed a mesh network in the 868 MHz range that can cover any sized property and pick up a panic signal instantly. Powered by solar with battery backup, the network is always on, irrespective of what Eskom may or may not do.
Furthermore, the panic solution is constantly monitored via the cloud through a system developed by the company, which keeps track of all activations and checks that all devices are functioning. Sporting a 99,9% uptime, the cloud controller runs two SIM cards to ensure connectivity while the on-site network can scale as the client’s needs change.
As with all its solutions for the aged, the company makes sure its products are simple to use so that even people who are technology phobic can use them with ease.
Home and health
Adding Bluetooth to the mix, BeSecure has also created solutions for securing elderly people in their homes. This will soon be enhanced by motion detection systems that will build a profile of an individual’s activities over time. After a baseline has been established, when something out of the ordinary happens, on-site staff can be alerted that, for example, Mrs Smith hasn’t got out of bed today and could require a call or visit to ensure everything is in order.
Similarly, in frail care or after care facilities, people can be tracked to ensure they are where they are supposed to be, who is visiting whom, even checking that they arrive for appointments or to remind them to take their daily medication. While this may have been seen as a privacy issue in the past, the health benefits are far more beneficial. In areas where keeping people safe from the annual flu season and currently from the COVID-19 virus is critical, knowing who was in contact with whom will make healthcare faster and more effective.
Access and visitor management solutions
BeSecure has also changed the way access control and visitor management is handled. Again managed by the BeSecure cloud-based platform, the access control solutions can range from licence-plate recognition, where the residents driving their cars are granted automatic access, through to phone-based access where residents can load an app which allows them entrance via a Bluetooth connection, or even allowing residents to gain access by dialling a number when approaching the entrance and dropping the call, which will open the gate or boom as long as the individual and their cellular number is already registered. Traditional biometric, tag or PIN access can also be enabled, depending on the customer’s requirements.
When it comes to visitor management, BeSecure understands that not all visitors are the same and should not be treated the same. If management understands the risk profile of each visitor, it can adjust the access requirements accordingly, and this is what BeSecure strives to accomplish. The result is that a regular contractor or someone who visits family in an estate frequently will be able to gain automated access with little hassle, while a new visitor or contractor will have to go through a more intensive process before being granted access.
For those who do not feel comfortable with registering visitors via an app or SMS, the company also has a frictionless, phone-based visitor management solution available. The resident can obtain pre-authorisation via a phone conversation (which is automated) and the system can approve the visitor and/or wait for co-approval from an administrator.
As noted, access is controlled from the cloud, meaning the administrators will have access to complete reports of all comings and goings, as well as control over visitors. In addition, although automation is the primary focus of the BeSecure systems, the cloud-based management system is monitored 24/7 by trained people able to handle any exceptions or problems that might arise.
Ready to expand
One of the benefits of all BeSecure’s solutions is the cloud component which ensures constant monitoring and almost instant notifications of a problem, whether a hardware failure, a visitor request or a panic activation. All systems are also backed by a maintenance plan and SLA (service-level agreement) which includes software updates and hardware upgrades, repairs or replacement.
While the company can offer biometric solutions such as the latest facial recognition technologies, there are still user problems to overcome with these solutions, such as what happens when it’s raining or in bad light, what about people who are not recognised by fingerprint systems, etc? These issues cause frustration and accusations of poor installation or technology. This is why the company has done significant research into mobile solutions and secure ways to manage access without requiring a person (or their arms) to leave the vehicle.
BeSecure is focused on automating as much of the process around using its technology as possible, without diminishing the security and safety people of all ages require. Having reached the stage where its solutions are geared for any residential, lifestyle or retirement estates, BeSecure is also looking for partners in various regions of South Africa to expand
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