Specialised surveillance and communications

Issue 5 2022 Editor's Choice, News & Events, Integrated Solutions, Residential Estate (Industry)

Communications are the backbone of security, and a fairly new company on the security scene in South Africa is Arcanum Africa. The company sells a range of products not typically found in the local security market, most of which were developed for military or intelligence use.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to Arcanum’s Peter Stolwerk and Aaron van Schaik to find out a bit more about the company and the products it is bringing to the local market.

Stolwerk explains that his background is in military and law enforcement work in Europe and the UK, which has enabled him to gain exposure to these solutions, none of which have been available in South Africa before. The range of products is continually growing, but Stolwerk and Van Schaik highlighted a few that have already proved their worth in the local arena. The products are generally aimed at private security, commercial security and wildlife protection.

The first product is uSwitch, which Stolwerk describes as a “relay on steroids.” This little box provides users with control over almost anything on a network (whether a private network or connected to the Internet) in a couple of minutes.

uSwitch is an electromechanical relay with a built-in web server that allows you to switch things on or off, or open and close gates, and more, from a computer or mobile device. In an environment with many IP cameras, connecting cameras to the uSwitch monitors the cameras around the clock. If a camera freezes or becomes unresponsive, the system will automatically trigger a reboot without having to physically go to the camera – which is useful in covert operations, or to save time and money to send out a service vehicle at a remote location. Rebooting can also be done manually.

In remote regions, like game farms or mining sites without cellular connectivity, the uSwitch works just as well on a private network that has no Internet connectivity.

Failsafe mesh network

Another communications solution the company offers is HyphaMesh. These devices communicate with each other and form a mesh network in almost any setting. Whether tethered to a fixed position or on a person, the Hypha devices communicate with each other and are able to find another route to a bridge or switch if one device goes down. The bridge is a Hypha device that is connected to a satellite or GSM network, allowing the whole network to function as if everything were connected.

In a situation like this, every individual carrying a device (for example) will be able to use their phone or tablet as if they were in an area of connectivity. It is also possible to create a private network that does not have Internet access, allowing the Hypha devices to create and use their own network for communications. Each device is pre-programmed to search for other devices and automatically become a node in the network.

Arcanum also provides a range of surveillance cameras that can be used in a mesh network in remote areas. The battery power on one of these cameras will last about 400 days before it needs a recharge (unless it has a solar charger). The cameras can communicate via 4G connections, or to a bridge or hub (at a distance of up to 500 m as long as it has line-of-sight; less if there is dense bush or some other obstacle in the way).

To save bandwidth, the cameras take high-resolution images when the PIR detects movement and sends these to the hub, where the AI analytics will determine if the images contain a person, vehicle or other object of interest. In anti-poaching efforts, this will prevent false alarms when animals walk in front of the cameras, only raising an alert when a person or vehicle is identified.

Arcanum says these cameras take only 10 minutes to install and one can have up to eight cameras per bridge, and multiple bridges. They also include low-light functionality up to about 35 m, with up to 80 m in daylight with a clear view.

All communications are secure by default, encrypted according to the AES-128 (128-bit encryption) standard. In addition, any images stored on the devices will be similarly encrypted.

Just off the boat

Among other ‘toys’ Arcanum has released, or will be releasing shortly, are artificial intelligence solutions (including for drones), as well as a jamming detector that alerts you if someone decides to jam your wireless communications network. The anti-jamming device is very sensitive, so companies will know the moment a jamming operation begins.

Arcanum is also selling Camect, touted as the most private camera hub for your home. The Camect hub detects IP surveillance devices installed in your home and takes control of them. It includes a range of AI algorithms to differentiate between people, pets, cars, bicycles and others. It is controllable from a computer, smartphone or tablet, allowing users to set zones and times when alerts should be raised.

Camect allows you to view live and recorded video from your mobile device, and is compatible with a host of cameras, including ONVIF-conformant devices (or it can access the RTSP stream). All of this is managed from one hub.

Arcanum currently sells direct to end-users, but is open to partnerships with companies that have the required skills to support its product range effectively.


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