Residential Estate Security Conference 2022

Issue 7 2022 Residential Estate (Industry), Conferences & Events

Celebrating the ability to get together and meet people again, Hi-Tech Security Solutions hosted its first Residential Estate Security Conference in over two years on 18 October 2022 at the Indaba Hotel and Conference Centre in Fourways, under the banner of ‘Mitigating Risks to Deliver Smart, Secure Living’.

The full-day event was sold out, with all the available delegate seats (plus a couple of extras) occupied, and all the possible sponsorships snapped up.

The sponsors for this conference are all mentioned after this article. They were:

• Allbro.

• Arteco Global.

• Elvey Group.

• IDEMIA.

• Impro Technologies.

• MiRO.

• Nemtek.

• Nice SA.

• Optex.

• Stafix Security Centres.

After a short introduction by the editor of Hi-Tech Security Solutions, followed by a welcome from Hi-Tech’s product manager, Tracy Wolter, the presentations kicked off. Below is a brief overview of the presentations; these summaries do not provide the presenters with due credit for the information provided, but merely offer a taste of what was on delivered on the day.


Weaponising ‘the tannie behind the curtain’

Gerhard Furter


Iris AI’s Gerhard Furter, the second speaker who was recognised as an IFSEC Global Security Influencer earlier this year (he was recognised as the third most prominent AI influencer in the world), spoke about a critical topic close to everyone’s heart gathering effective and useful intelligence on crime and potential crimes.

The focus is to use those people in communities and community forums (and estates) – referred to as non-linear intelligence sources – to share their findings on a common platform they already use, such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal, while allowing Amanda (Furter’s AI communications application, or ‘intelligent curator’) to join the group. The information is then collated and analysed by another AI platform that is used commercially, which vets the information received and provides alerts and insights.

The system is currently in use in the Eastern Cape, where it has the support of private security companies and SAPS, and has delivered excellent results in not only solving crime, but preventing it.

The solution is simple in practice, but very complex in how it works. Therefore, after a short presentation, a crowd gathered around Furter’s laptop to watch him demonstrate the power of ‘the tannie on the stoep’. The presentation was an eye-opener and showed the real power of this solution. Best of all, it is being made available as a community service at no cost.


Risk management on a budget

Lesley-Anne Kleyn


Lesley-Anne Kleyn, MD of Kleyn Change Management, was on stage to advise estates on how they can manage their risks effectively, even in tough economic times when budgets are being stretched. The key point she started with is that there is no security solution which is cheap, fast and good; at best you get to choose two of those.

Kleyn then went on to highlight some of the best-practice principles of risk management for estates, starting with responsibility: Who is the boss when it comes to security? The answer is the HOA must be able to make informed decisions based on reliable information provided by an independent source. The cheapest solution, or the chairman’s cousin’s brother-in-law, will not deliver reliable security to your residents.

An independent audit is an examination of the current status of the manpower, technology and processes, and will show the estate exactly what is (really) currently in place. This should be followed by a risk determination to form the real-world risk baseline. Only then can an effective security strategy be developed, and this must be a detailed, written, five-to-ten year plan the estate will stick to, even as members come and go.

Kleyn also mentioned a few of the concepts to be considered in the estate’s decision-making process. Two items she mentioned, among many others, included knowing the difference between consumer-grade and professional-grade products, as well as opting for field-hardened products that can withstand the various weather patterns the estate faces.

At the end of the day, Kleyn says there are three pillars to managing risks: people, processes and technology. Within these, there are generally seven critical areas to address (with almost endless sub-categories):

1. The outer perimeter.

2. The inner perimeter.

3. Network infrastructure.

4. Access and egress.

5. Buildings and alarming.

6. Command and control.

7. Maintenance.

Kleyn then went into a bit more detail on one of the most critical (or even the most critical) areas to address – the outer perimeter – where she gave an example of how to implement the four Ds (deter, detect, delay, defend). She also noted that it is important to understand that each critical area has its own layers made up of further processes, solutions and people.

Ending her presentation, Kleyn briefly mentioned the security solution value chain and how it is important that each component of this value chain is included in the full risk management process to ensure success.


Adding value beyond security

MJ Oosthuizen


In today’s connected world where technology makes things simpler and faster, MJ Oosthuizen, director: ESS (Electronic Security Solutions) at G4S South Africa (and the first of two speakers at the event to be recognised as an IFSEC Global Security Influencer in 2023) was on hand to show how estates and residents can make the most of their security technology, processes and people – as well as additional technology now available to all – to add value to their security posture and their lives on the estate.

Oosthuizen gave a quick overview of the evolution of estate security (and beyond), from having a fence and a guard to the integrated solutions available today. He made the point that having a guard checking in at various points on his patrol route was not an ‘integrated solution’ – even if the check-in was done automatically via Bluetooth and if the individual had a high-tech panic button on their body-worn camera.

Leading into many of the presentations to come later in the day, he noted that while the roaming officer equipped with technology is a critical part of the integrated security solution, an effective solution requires more. For example, it requires intelligence which is collected from ‘the usual suspects’, but also from the community whose members communicate and interact with each other on a daily basis. All this needs to be collected and collated (with due respect to the relevant privacy regulations) in a centralised location and made available, at the right time, to whoever needs it.

Furthermore, this integrated solution (or complete security solution, as he put it), is made up of access control, guarding (with officers trained to almost be a concierge rather than just a security guard), surveillance with analytics and AI, fibre infrastructure, intrusion and alarm solutions, as well as the elusive but fast-growing smart home market.

All these can be part of an estate’s risk or security solution at a lower cost than before when using a services model, which costs the estate a set monthly amount which can be divided up among residents for a small addition to their monthly levy. Perhaps the most important service that can also be included is the availability of electricity – whether Eskom is able to provide it or not.

Oosthuizen then briefly highlighted the components that make up a smart home, all based on a secure connection and mostly managed by the resident’s smartphone, but some of which can also be incorporated into the estate’s command and control capabilities to provide improved individual and estate services.


The future of touchless biometrics in access control and visitor management

Nicolas Garcia


Nicolas Garcia, IDEMIA’s vice president of sales (Biometric Terminals) for the Middle East & Africa region, was at the event to take delegates through the evolution of access control in estates. He started with the old visitor book – which is definitely not PoPIA compliant and is the cause of a host of problems if it is required in an investigation – and then moved through to the biometric options available today.

Biometrics are what IDEMIA does, so his support of these technologies is expected. However, Garcia noted that it’s not about the product used or simply keeping up with the times. Key to access and visitor management for estates and any other organisation is identity. Almost any transaction we do today relies on our identities, and biometrics is the fastest and simplest way to prove you are who you claim to be – assuming the equipment you choose is properly designed.

Your biometrics define your uniqueness, they’re permanent and they’re universal: your fingerprint or face is the same in any language. However, it is also important to ensure that one uses products that keep the information secure, have a high-quality build to ensure maximum recognition as well as preventing spoofing by using a mask or fake finger, and supports liveness detection. With all these in place, estates can be sure who is on the premises and can assist in any investigations with certainty.

Naturally, your identity – authenticated and verified via biometrics – can be used for much more than access control. We are seeing its use broaden into in-store payments, access to services, online payments, etc. An example would be in the healthcare industry, where a fingerprint could provide access to medical aid and your medical history in an instant – assuming medical records are digitised.

An important part of the advance in biometrics is AI. Garcia said AI-enhanced readers allow for greater speed, higher accuracy and better management of large databases. Providing a specific example from a local estate that implemented fingerprint recognition, he offered the following statistics:

• Using contact fingerprint technology at first, 8,5% of the people registered could not be recognised.

• Later on, moving to contactless fingerprint technology lowered that to 1%.

• When adding AI to the contactless system, the number reduced to 0,17%.

So, while the readers we see in use today may not change much in appearance, the addition of AI and deep learning is having a major impact on biometric use globally.


Situational awareness beyond the perimeter

Rudi Potgieter


Most people know VumaCam as the company with thousands of cameras stationed around Johannesburg’s streets. Rudi Potgieter, head of video analytics at VumaCam, explained that as part of the company’s SafeCity initiative to ‘close the gaps’ in security in all areas of the city (and other cities where the company is expanding its presence), VumaCam is part of the Eyes and Ears Initiative (E2). E2 is a joint crime-fighting initiative between the South African Police Service (SAPS), Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and the private security industry (PSI) where the PSI formally cooperates with SAPS by relaying information directly to the Provincial Operational Command Centre (POCC) and, in some instances, receiving relevant information directly from it.

However, VumaCam is also making its video feeds available to residents’ associations and HOAs to assist communities and estates in keeping their residents safe. The roads around an estate can be monitored through VumaCam’s infrastructure within the estate’s control room, as well as the route to the nearest shopping mall, for example. This service will expand the estate’s situational awareness beyond its perimeter, offering residents a safeguard when on the road.

VumaCam’s range of services is too broad to discuss here, however Potgieter notes that the service does not intrude on the estate’s premises and that all video footage, whether related to estates or generally captured by VumaCam, is subject to the relevant regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) and is not open to all and sundry, as some have implied in the past. Even SAPS has legal processes it needs to adhere to in order to obtain access to footage.

In terms of its crime-fighting potential, Potgieter says VumaCam reads over 12 million licence plates per day across its network, which results in about 24 security callouts per day and between 6 and 8 arrests per day on average. Estates can now leverage that mountain of information to secure residents in and around their estates. (Footage inside estates is not captured by VumaCam.)


Panel: The latest in perimeter solutions for estates

Tim Yen, Hikvision; Jason De Freitas, Nemtek; Shaun Williamson, Stafix Security Centres.

Just before the lunch break, a panel discussion was held about perimeter security. It turned out to be an interesting discussion, primarily because of the three companies represented on the panel. Nemtek is all about perimeter fencing and is a leading company when it comes to electric fences, energisers and additional functionalities that make your electric fence more secure and can tell you when and where someone is messing with the wiring (even if it has not been broken or cut). Stafix is also an electric fence company with similar products, but it has expanded its scope of operations to include surveillance (visual and thermal), analytics and other systems in support of the physical fence. Then, while Hikvision has nothing to do with electric fences, it has a range of surveillance solutions for perimeters, including visual and thermal cameras, radar systems and so forth.

The result was a series of answers and discussions that covered almost every solution we have in the perimeter security field, plus a little more.

One of the questions from the audience about electric fences was the issue of compliance and who is responsible if a fence receives a certificate of compliance, but it is later discovered the installation was not done to standard. The short answer is: the issuer of the certificate. But the customer also needs to do their homework to ensure they are making use of reputable service providers who know their business and have a reputation to protect (and who will be there a year or two later to resolve any queries). As Lesley-Anne Kleyn noted in her presentation: fast, cheap and good is not possible.

Another interesting fact coming from all on the panel is that no company today thinks it has all the answers. All the companies represented by the panel members have the ability to integrate with other third-party products, with the overall goal of providing the best, most reliable solution to the customer. Being part of a solution is a key factor for businesses in the security world.


The benefits of fire services for estate precincts

Andrew Worthington


A sad fact of South Africa’s declining infrastructure and services is that it’s not only Eskom that is failing. Citizens are already feeling the lack in almost every other area, including security and medical services. The same is unfortunately true when it comes to fire services, and those unfortunate enough to have a fire break out in their home or business are increasingly likely to find themselves standing helplessly by.

Andrew Worthington, GM of Fidelity Fire Solutions, had the job of highlighting this sad state of affairs. He says the problem has multiple causes, from fire trucks that are sitting idle because they have not or cannot be maintained, or because even if a municipal fire service arrives, the water pressure is unable to reach levels where they can do much good.

Fidelity has come up with a fire service concept similar to the armed response and private medical services we have become used to. It has equipped a number of vehicles with fire suppression solutions and is also planning to train and equip armed response officers with firefighting equipment (packs that one person can handle, not a full fire service) to empower them to assist in fire emergencies.

The process will operate in a similar manner to the current armed response subscription services, whereby a number of fire units will be stationed in areas, ready to respond to fires (the armed response officers will be the first responders trying to contain the fire and get people out before the tactical firefighting ‘rapid intervention vehicle’ arrives). Worthington says the aim is to station these vehicles in patches to allow a 10- to 12-minute response time.

He says the units are not meant to replace municipal services but to step in where they are unable, or even to assist them in dealing with fires. The ultimate goal is to save lives and limit damage to property. These services will be available to Fidelity clients at a small addition to their armed response fee.


Which 10% of your residents are expendable?

Andre Mundell


CEO of Alwinco, Andre Mundell’s rather controversial presentation was titled ‘Which 10% of your residents are expandable?’ His talk referred to the common practice of using a risk matrix to determine which of the risks an estate faces are more important. The topic was driven by Mundell’s experience as an independent risk assessor, a job he is increasingly being asked to do by attorneys whose clients’ families have been victims of serious crime in a supposedly secure estate. (These clients were, or are looking to take civil action against the estate’s HOA for not delivering on the ‘secure living’ promise of the estate.)

Mundell’s premise is that no risk is ‘acceptable’. However, when using the risk matrix there are always a number of risks that are described as ‘low risk’ and do not need to be addressed as urgently as those deemed ‘high risk’ – hence the title of the presentation. Which residents are you willing to sacrifice to a crime in the name of postponing dealing with the low-risk issues?

He touched on many issues around identifying and dealing with risks, one of which is documentation. As estate cannot leave its security processes up to the service provider, they need to be documented and stored (even archived for a few years) in case of litigation, so that the estate manager or security manager can prove they made a reasonable effort to keep residents safe. He notes five steps in making smart security decisions based on the risks an estate faces:

1. The identification of security risks.

2. Risk-specific solutions.

3. Processes and procedures (documented).

4. Management.

5. Maintenance (an often-forgotten aspect of security).

Another point he feels strongly about is that risk assessments or audits should never be done by the security service provider. Are they going to tell the truth or protect themselves? As Mundell put it, “you cannot be a player and the referee.” He also, once again, advised estate management to ensure that whatever security and risk solutions they have in place are carefully documented and provided to the appropriate people (security officers, service providers and other relevant people), in order to ensure that systems, processes and decisions can stand up to scrutiny in court if the occasion arises, and that there is a consistent focus over the years as estate staff and suppliers change.

Mundell ended by noting that “The glue that keeps estate security in place is a mixture of control, communication, processes and maintenance.”


IoT and remote monitoring for smart, secure living

Rodney Taylor


Rodney Taylor, founder of Activate and CEO of Guardian Eye (which recently acquired Activate), was on hand with a view on how monitoring technology has been integrated with analytics and further enhanced by IoT.

Guardian Eye has been around for some time, offering remote surveillance monitoring as a service from its control room at a monthly cost. The company has expanded to include a range of AI analytics to make monitoring more effective. It offers virtual guard patrols to avoid criminals getting to know your manned guarding schedules, and even has a non-lethal paintball gun attached to a camera for ‘enhanced deterrence’.

The analytics and services are customisable to the user’s requirements and verified alerts can also be sent to the Guardian Eye app. Taylor says the smart feed can increase management efficiency by 48% by providing “total risk visibility and fast, proactive response.” Moving into the IoT world, the Rainbow Chat app provides a direct link to the control centre in addition to information on faults and any system maintenance information.

Of particular interest to estates, the Guardian Eye PoPIA-compliant visitor management service is also available to manage and control visitor access to a property via the app or online portal. It supports multiple communications channels and estate management can draw in-depth reports as required. A full access control service, including biometric access, is also available from the company.

Not forgetting Eskom, as much as we would like to, Taylor says the company also offers a solution with analytics and insights to enable users to better understand where and how electricity is being consumed. It does so by combining real-time energy monitoring sensors with automation and IoT protocols. In the same IoT vein, its Sixth Sense IoT sensors are available to monitor for a range of issues in residences or offices, such as temperature, water leaks, door status (i.e. door sensors) and tamper or vibration sensors.

Finally, the big news was Guardian Eye’s new IoT-based health service using the cloud. Summarising the information provided by Taylor, Guardian Eye Health makes use of a range of IoT devices to perform various health checks on an individual (even at home, for retirement estates, for example), although the tests need to be performed by a doctor or nurse.

The results are analysed by AI in the Guardian Eye cloud and a doctor working remotely will make a decision and issue a script, or refer the individual for further medical attention. The doctor may also initiate a video call with the patient if he/she is unsure of the diagnosis – all included in the service cost. Medical records are recorded in the portal and accessible by the patient or their authorised doctor.

Moreover, any prescriptions the doctor writes are sent electronically to the nearest pharmacist and delivered to the patient. The company has a solution for the thousands of deliveries that happen every day in estates, where deliveries are made securely to a central location and recipients pick them up as soon as they arrive. This can apply to scripts or any other deliveries, although obviously not the delivery of your new fridge.


Integrated video management platform for Kyalami Estates:

Dene Alkema


Video management platforms are a core component of an estate’s security posture, especially today when video management is integrated with almost every other security system in place in an estate. Dene Alkema, MD of Cathexis Africa, was on stage after the tea break with a case study on how Kyalami Estate, one of the oldest estates in the Johannesburg area, implemented CathexisVision to not only manage its 250+ cameras, but also many other functions in the estate, from access control to power and lighting management.

The goals of this first stage of the project were to improve the overall security of the estate, improve the tools used to manage the estate, centralise and integrate the monitoring of cameras and other systems, secure the perimeter with AI-enhanced video analytics, promote safe driving on the estate (with video evidence of infractions), manage lighting in the many parks and open areas (and in doing so also reduce electricity consumption), and to optimise the estate’s guarding resources.

The estate has many parks and open areas where residents can walk and relax. These areas needed video surveillance as a security measure, but also as a means to save electricity costs and prevent light pollution for bordering residences. Analytics are used with the installed cameras to switch off lights at night when nobody is around, while ensuring they are on when there are people in these areas.

Analytics were also employed to monitor and alert of access control issues, and manage vehicle speed and driver behaviour at intersections. The goal was to have hard evidence when residents flaunted the estate’s road rules, which are necessary to ensure pedestrians – especially children – could move around the estate safely. The perimeter was secured with visual and thermal cameras, with Cathexis analytics able to identify a person on or near the perimeter accurately over long distances.

Of course, monitoring the estate from the control room was also a goal of the upgrade to CathexisVision, where guards and general estate business could be monitored efficiently by providing reliable situational awareness, triggering real alarms that would result in action taken in a timely manner.


The paradigm shift in renewable energy

Abraham van der Merwe


The presentation from Vivica’s chief strategist, Abraham van der Merwe, was (in this writer’s opinion and those of some people he spoke to afterwards), the most exciting presentation of the day, until Van Der Merwe showed the last slide. Prior to that, people had pens in hand, ready to sign up; after seeing the last slide they probably had the urge to use their pens for violent intentions.

Van Der Merwe introduced Stage Zero, a service which guarantees your electricity bill and also guarantees you won’t lose power from Eskom’s Stage 1 to Stage 4 rolling blackouts.

He started the presentation by showing the abysmal state of Eskom’s power capacity over the years, and predictions of what will happen in the future. To summarise, there is no good news. Even if all the promised independent power generation projects happen, it will take at least 18 months for them to have an impact.

The information presented showed that coal power generation has basically remained at the same price for years, and is still the primary generation mechanism for Eskom. On the other hand, solar generation has declined dramatically in price, but as noted, it will be a long time before it makes a significant difference. Even then, it will not resolve the issues Eskom faces.

Stage Zero offers, or will soon offer, a solution. The simpler solution is a range of batteries that will keep households running – or, for those with less to spend, certain aspects of their houses or small businesses – so that they can continue during Eskom’s blackouts. The ‘big’ solution is solar power, along with the internal batteries and other infrastructure to keep the power on. This is the solution with the guarantees mentioned above.

The difference between Stage Zero and other options (apart from the savings guarantee) is that it is provided as a service, which means you pay a monthly fee and there are no five-year contracts. Stage Zero takes responsibility for ensuring everything is working. The solution can be ordered easily and quickly, and all the hassles are taken care of by the company.

The disappointment in the last slide is that the service is now in limited beta release and not open to the public, but Van Der Merwe promises the commercial launch will happen soon (a rumour says ‘soon’ means this year, but nothing has been confirmed).


Integrating drones into your security plan

Alan Enever


The presentation from Vivica’s chief strategist, Abraham van der Merwe, was (in this writer’s opinion and those of some people he spoke to afterwards), the most exciting presentation of the day, until Van Der Merwe showed the last slide. Prior to that, people had pens in hand, ready to sign up; after seeing the last slide they probably had the urge to use their pens for violent intentions.

Van Der Merwe introduced Stage Zero, a service which guarantees your electricity bill and also guarantees you won’t lose power from Eskom’s Stage 1 to Stage 4 rolling blackouts.

He started the presentation by showing the abysmal state of Eskom’s power capacity over the years, and predictions of what will happen in the future. To summarise, there is no good news. Even if all the promised independent power generation projects happen, it will take at least 18 months for them to have an impact.

The information presented showed that coal power generation has basically remained at the same price for years, and is still the primary generation mechanism for Eskom. On the other hand, solar generation has declined dramatically in price, but as noted, it will be a long time before it makes a significant difference. Even then, it will not resolve the issues Eskom faces.

Stage Zero offers, or will soon offer, a solution. The simpler solution is a range of batteries that will keep households running – or, for those with less to spend, certain aspects of their houses or small businesses – so that they can continue during Eskom’s blackouts. The ‘big’ solution is solar power, along with the internal batteries and other infrastructure to keep the power on. This is the solution with the guarantees mentioned above.

The difference between Stage Zero and other options (apart from the savings guarantee) is that it is provided as a service, which means you pay a monthly fee and there are no five-year contracts. Stage Zero takes responsibility for ensuring everything is working. The solution can be ordered easily and quickly, and all the hassles are taken care of by the company.

The disappointment in the last slide is that the service is now in limited beta release and not open to the public, but Van Der Merwe promises the commercial launch will happen soon (a rumour says ‘soon’ means this year, but nothing has been confirmed).


Information overload

The delegates at the Residential Estate Security Conference were provided with an enormous amount of information during the course of the day. The summaries above do not do justice to the presentations delivered, and Hi-Tech Security Solutions would like to thank all the speakers for the time and effort that went into their presentations. All attendees have been provided with the presentations in PDF format, together with the contact details for the companies presenting.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions would also like to thank the sponsors for their support, without which an event like this would not be possible.

Finally, a thank you to the delegates. We hope the day was informative and enjoyable. If there are any questions, criticisms, insights into what you would like to see at future conferences, etc., please feel free to email me at [email protected] (the same naturally applies to the sponsors and presenters). And a personal thank you to Dominique Bowen and the Hi-Tech Security Solutions team for pulling my scrappy ideas into a professional event.


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