Solutions beyond surveillance

July 2012 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

The new buzzword in the CCTV industry is remote video monitoring. It is not a new concept and has been around for some time, so why the increasing interest in the concept?

Well, if we were in the developed world there would be a plethora of reasons mostly starting with ‘In the IT Industry….’ which would be perfectly valid. Here in SA, the CCTV industry has to a large extent crossed over into that information technology domain. Additionally, clients now expect a more pro-active and secure approach to the use of CCTV footage with a cost benefit similar to what has been experienced with the IT outsourcing of services.

Essentially, video monitoring has increased in popularity worldwide for the same reason that outsourcing services to the cloud have become popular – bandwidth has become more available and more affordable. All the other justifications for video monitoring were always in existence, but bandwidth availability has been the catalyst to make it commercially viable.

However, here in South Africa we are not quite there yet. We do not have 2 Mbps and 3 Mbps dedicated ADSL lines available – most of us have to share 1 Mbps ADSL line with 12 other subscribers. When we do have the luxury of a service provider that can supply us with a 2 Mbps dedicated line, the cost is prohibitive and therein lies the problem – CCTV video footage consumes massive amounts of bandwidth.

Bandwidth concerns

We need to stream CCTV footage across extremely restricted telecommunications infrastructure. Most imported products that are purpose designed for the streaming of CCTV do not cater for low-bandwidth, although they would claim to be designed specifically for that purpose. Imported products that really do have the capability to utilise very low-bandwidth tend to have a price tag that makes one’s hair stand on end and when a product has both the ability and is affordable the value-added extras and future-proofing is suspect.

So, where to from here? Do we give up and hope the next big thing in CCTV does not also pass us by? Not necessarily. We luckily have the option of local products. South African products researched, developed, engineered and manufactured specifically for our local conditions.

Mass’s focus is not only on the distribution of product, but also on the quality of the products we distribute and the application of those products. So when we chose a product that meets our stringent criteria, we decided on Cathexis Systems for its range of hybrid hardware products and their software management products.

Cathexis has long had a proven track record of remote transmission in many different environments, but they have also acquired a reputation for transmitting quality images across an extremely restricted infrastructure, while providing extra features and functions that create more than just surveillance solutions but rather security management solutions.

With Cathexis it is no longer a case of merely viewing CCTV images in a remote location – no, now it is viewing true incident related images whilst managing disparate electronic security systems at the same time – all from a single Graphic User Interface.

The Cathexis GUI is an interactive, intuitive and easily understandable interface that has the simple principle of point-click-drag-drop and pre-populated commands – operators do not need exceptional cognitive skills to manage the system and manage it well.

Remote management

The integration of third-party systems such as access control, intruder detection, and fire- detection, point of sale/serial text or any serial communication devices allows the operator to manage all these devices from the single GUI. Dependent on the level of integration required the operator will have the ability to arm/disarm alarm systems, open doors or trigger a PLC from an I/O to perform a multitude of tasks.

Third-party devices will also generate events and alarms managed by an alarm gateway whose sole function is the management of alarms and events. These can be handled quite easily by the operator on the GUI and together with the embedded layered map function can then be pre-defined to open either a map of the site where the event occurred to opening a sequence of cameras in the vicinity of where the event occurred.

But what really impresses is the Health Monitoring Function of the ROM system. Anyone that has been even remotely involved with the CCTV industry will know that hard disk drives have the ability to become useless at the most inopportune time and the footage required after an event will invariably be on the HDD that is no longer operational. Cathexis monitors HDD, system temperature, hardware activity and a multitude of other mission critical components specifically so that a problem is identified long before it actually becomes a problem.

Is remote video monitoring just surveillance? No, not anymore. Video monitoring has become, by necessity, a management tool and for it to be successful in that specific function it needs to be a solution beyond surveillance. If the service provider wants to be a step ahead of his rivals then value-added features are the way to go.

For more information contact Management and Supply of Security Solutions, +27 (0)83 309 4230,,


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