Preventing theft wirelessly

Issue 5 2022 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Securing workshops, processing plants and stockpiles of deforested logs was a major problem for a large tree milling company in the Eastern Cape. Ingo Mutinelli, head of sales for southern Africa at Ajax Systems explains that the tree plantation covers an extensive area, making the monitoring of all the elements difficult from both physical coverage and communications range perspectives.

Technology consulting company AJHTECH approached Elvey to find a workable solution in the last quarter of 2021. “As a distributor of our technology in South Africa, the Elvey team were very familiar with the advantages that the Ajax wireless security products provide on large-scale sites with communication range issues. The resulting solution was discussed and collaboratively implemented by the three companies and has been met with great enthusiasm by the client,” says Mutinelli.

“The existing system included several outdoor security beams and an alarm system, but criminals were able to bypass this to a large extent and by the time the security response team arrived, the perpetrators had fled. Verification was very important to the company, so that the perpetrators could be accurately identified and prosecuted. We undertook a site inspection in November 2021, followed by a proof of concept, and installation took place early in 2022,” says Mutinelli.

The scope of work called for the supply and installation of 100 MotionCam Outdoor cameras, four HUB2 Plus units and the Desktop Pro 3.0. “The solution clearly worked as just three days after installation, the milling company caught several perpetrators. Visual identification was a critical factor in the selection of the Ajax wireless cameras and the results speak for themselves. Not only has theft in the workshops been addressed, but the illegal removal of cut trees was nipped in the bud, if you will,” Mutinelli quips.

The MotionCam Outdoor has a waterproof lens made of glass and metal. The wide-angle lens covers the entire protected area, giving a complete picture of what is happening. In bright light, an infrared filter is automatically applied to ensure distortion-free colour reproduction, and two bright IR LEDs help to see the intruder even in total darkness.

To take one photo, MotionCam Outdoor takes two consecutive shots at long and short exposures. The processor instantly combines the shots, equalising the balance between light and dark areas of the image, and then compresses it for the fastest transmission.

MotionCam Outdoor cannot be secretly disabled even if the system is disarmed. The detector is equipped with masking sensors reacting to hindering and covering or painting the lens. It will take the hub less than a minute to detect the loss of communication with the detector and inform a central monitoring station and users about the problem. The fact that a MotionCam Outdoor was dismantled will become known in an instant.

Since the site was spread over such a large area, the installation of wired products was not a viable option. “This is where the wireless technology offered by Ajax comes into its own in terms of affordability, convenience, and communication range. Strategic positioning of the cameras was achieved by tapping into the features built into the Ajax HUB2 Plus that allow the user to configure the best possible position for a device based on feedback from panel. There is no guesswork needed as you can see what range you are getting at a particular point, determine what noise there is and then position the product optimally,” says Mutinelli.


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