Crime levels and wealth disparity in South Africa have given rise to the establishment of numerous residential estates across the country. These estates are sought after by middle- and upper-class South Africans and, as such, become the target of criminal enterprises. The protection of these spaces requires an integrated, multi-faceted approach combining technological and human interfaces.
A residential estate consists of various stakeholders and the requirements of these stakeholders can be contradictory and often at conflict with each other. For instance, the residents demand security and protection from criminals and potential threats while requiring unhindered access for themselves and visitors. The role of the system integrator and security provider is to balance these requirements and the integration of various systems achieves this. In order to understand why, one must look at the main components of a secure, smart estate solution.
Components of a secure estate
First and foremost, the estate must provide a secure living environment for those within it. This is achieved through perimeter protection, including electric fencing, high-resolution cameras, thermal cameras and video analytics. These technologies bombard the control room with information concerning the perimeter of the estate.
The second crucial aspect is access control for residents. This needs to be reliable and efficient. Several technologies are ideal in this scenario including wave, licence plate and facial readers. These technologies can further secure an estate and link drivers and vehicles. Once again, the control room must monitor thousands of access requests, generate exception reports, and investigate incidents using both the access control system and video management platform. This puts further strain on the control room and the operators therein.
Finally, security needs to manage the access of visitors to the estate. This is challenging, as one must ensure the integrity of the estate’s security remains intact while maintaining an acceptable user experience for the visitor. This requires the introduction of a third interface, being an estate-based visitor management system. These systems are designed to improve the user experience for both the guest and the resident, but may not place the challenges faced by security at the forefront. Thus, an integrated approach is required.
Integrating technology and people
The key to an integrated solution is not the removal of the human factor. Instead, it should be the improvement of human interactions with the system to provide useful outcomes and an efficient use of people. This will also result in a return on investment for the customer, as control room and security personnel requirements can be reduced.
The control room environment has moved beyond a video wall consisting of hundreds of cameras. Video analytics and unusual behaviour detection can be used to filter events while ‘best-of-breed’ devices can be placed on the edge to process these analytics. The integration of access control events into the video management system, or vice versa, further simplifies the control room operator’s job. The association of video to access events improves security’s reaction to incidents and improves the turnaround time on investigations and reports. The integration of visitor management data further assists in this regard.
In summary, the integration of various systems in the smart estate environment improves the efficiency of the control room operators. This means the security personnel can focus on their core responsibilities. The result is that all the stakeholders within the ecosystem are happier. Residents can enjoy the safety and security of estate living, pre-approved visitors gain access through a simple, user-friendly interface, the control room (if efficient and proactive) and the estate is able to save on costs and see a return on investment for the electronic security equipment deployed.
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