How smart does your security need to be?

Issue 2/3 2023 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Ever-increasing rates of violent crime in South Africa, coupled with the explosion of new smart security technologies leave many people and businesses questioning how to upgrade their systems. Intelligent visual monitoring software, video analytics with artificial intelligence (AI), thermal cameras, biometric scanning and the Internet of Things (IoT) are transforming the level to which we can protect life, limb and property. But how much of this new technology do we really need to build a truly smart security system to keep people, property and possessions safe?

Violent crime

South Africa is, unfortunately, one of the most violent countries in the world. There were over 200 000 home robberies in 2021/22, many of which ended in assault or even murder. In its latest crime statistics, the South African police said almost 40 000 violent robberies took place in the third quarter of 2022 alone, including hijacking and home and bank robberies. Given the high incidence of violent crime, alarm visual verification and being able to monitor security systems and react in real-time has become increasingly important.

Installing the most advanced security technology, particularly remote monitoring, is now much easier thanks to cloud-based software. Artificial Intelligence enables proactive monitoring and video analysis to detect intrusion and filter out nuisance alarms. Sophisticated algorithms can recognise whether the warm body moving along the perimeter of your house, office or warehouse is a cat or an actual intruder.

But what type of smart security is actually needed? And what happens to any legacy systems you may already have installed?

Finding the right solution

South Africa’s towns, cities and compounds are filled with surveillance cameras and security equipment. There are very sophisticated solutions to meet the needs of almost any situation, from a retail store or bank to a remote farmer protecting their livestock, or a warehouse filled to the rafters with expensive stock. Each is a different situation with different needs, different budgets and different legacy systems that need to be considered.

Sometimes PIR-activated cameras are needed. Dark car parks and rural roads may need infrared technology to detect unwanted intruders at night and distinguish between friend or foe. On a well-lit high street, a camera with built-in motion detection technology may negate the need for a PIR. However, do they give you eyes on the site, with access to before and after the event video clips, in under four seconds? Only by bridging a series of intelligent technologies together can the security system become truly smart.

An alarming realisation

When choosing to upgrade security, the old technology can seem redundant, but replacing all that hardware with an expensive state-of-the-art security system can also be hard to justify. That is where OPTEX’s CHeKT can help, by effective ‘joining up’, different systems to turn legacy hardware into smart IoT devices. Users or monitoring services can see exactly what is going on in real-time and deter intruders with lights or warn would-be intruders off site through audio systems. It can deter all would be thieves, while waiting for your security response team.

Cloud cover

Cloud-based software solutions can also provide upgrades to existing security hardware quickly and cost-effectively. OPTEX’s CHeKT uses very secure protocol software and ONVIF standards to integrate several third-party alarms, cameras, video and sensor technologies. It is both backward and forwards compatible, creating an IoT solution that does not need infrastructure upgrades. It can connect different home and business systems to centralised control rooms and monitoring services provided by private security companies.

The level of security that is potentially available today is incredible. But not every business, farmer or homestead needs a hugely expensive new security system. Matching available technology to need is key, and harnessing legacy investment where it can re-utilised is a desired result.

For more information, contact Optex,,

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