Alarming the University of Pretoria

July 2013 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

The University of Pretoria has contracted Jasco Security Solutions since 2004 to maintain and expand its fully-redundant Cosmos4 Alarm Systems at its campus grounds, which include its main and sports campus, Groenkloof, Onderstepoort, Mamelodi and Prinshof campuses, as well as student residences.

Today the university’s centralised control room operates 24 hours a day and collates all security instances of its alarm panels, closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance, access control, as well as emergency communication systems in elevators.

The challenges

In the past, the university had a myriad of loose-standing alarm systems from different vendors in buildings throughout the campuses and were difficult to administer and maintain. The laboratories, lecture, committee and seminar facilities were equipped with the latest technologies, and were plagued by theft and unauthorised access. Additionally, if an alarm was triggered, the security alert was isolated to a specific building because the alarm panels did not have the functionality to link back to the central control room to notify security personnel.

Explains Kobus Le Roux, national sales and marketing executive at Jasco Security Solutions: “The division soon realised that they could not do it all themselves and as a result, embarked on an open and transparent tender process in line with the university’s procurement policy and practice. They were looking for a certified partner that could provide them with a standardised system, as well as with the expertise to integrate its existing alarm panels.

“The university had very specific needs. One such requirement was to embed the contractors on site and integrate them as part of its own maintenance infrastructure culture, to establish a trust relationship that is as responsive as possible,” he adds.

After extensive contractor reviews, the University of Pretoria awarded the tender to Jasco Security Solutions in 2004 to implement the Cosmos4 Alarm Systems.

“Each contract period at the university is only 26 months. At the end of each cycle, the open tender process starts all over again and existing contractors have to compete with other product certified and technically minded organisations.

“However, when it came to service, support and expertise, Jasco Enterprise proved its proficiency time and time again as a competent provider to maintain and develop its alarm systems,” Le Roux says.

The solution

The Cosmos4 Alarm System is 100% South African and has been in development for the last 25 years. Designed by Scafell, a company within Jasco Security Solutions, the system is used by leading financial institutions, mining operations, educational facilities, as well as at national key points throughout the country.

“The Cosmos4 Alarm System is customisable and can be tailored to the university’s specific security needs. The system is also scalable, and each panel can be expanded from 16 to 176 inputs that can be independently identified when triggered. It has the ability to select the most effective medium to communicate alarms and events to the control room, selecting between Internet networks, land line and cellular mediums,” says Le Roux.

Implementation and results

Jasco Security Solutions deployed eight permanent employees across the campuses and installed the Cosmos 4 Alarm Systems. The implementations have since grown from 40 to 193 panels.

Le Roux says the alarm system components have been installed on doors, motion detection sensors in buildings, as well as mechanical plant alarms, that all link back to the control room and administrated via five user terminals.

“Once an alarm is triggered, the centralised system flags the location and description to security personnel, indicates what level threat is presented and provides instructions how to timeously respond to the security incident. When the issue has been resolved, the instance is logged for reporting purposes.”

To enhance the safety of its staff in remote or isolated locations, the university also supplied them with panic buttons. If an alarm is activated a guard is immediately dispatched to investigate the incident. The system also incorporates automatic testing of detectors and reporting of detectors that are faulty.

“There has been a marked improvement in the university’s ability to deliver its security objectives effectively. Once the alarm systems were operational, theft of equipment halted completely,” explains Le Roux.

For more information contact Jasco Security Solutions, +27 (0)11 894 7127,,


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