The story behind an SA-made home automation solution
June 2018, This Week's Editor's Pick, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection, Security Services & Risk Management
It is a familiar story to many South Africans: boy meets girl, boy and girl marry, buy a house in a leafy Johannesburg suburb, get broken into, spend a fortune on home security, then get woken up by a false alarm every second night. When Tigue Little found himself in this position, he had an idea for turning frustration into opportunity, and three years later he and business partner Trevor Lewis formed the company Sentian.
Trevor Lewis & Tigue Little.
“The persistent false alarms led to many sleepless nights and prolonged conflict with my security installer – in my mind the over-sensitivity of the system was a fault,” Little explains. “In the end I decided there must be a better, high-tech solution that wouldn’t have me stumbling out of bed at 2 am with a baseball bat and into possible danger.”
Lewis and Little started Sentian five years ago, and two years later the first version of the Sentian i3 was built. The full solution is a ‘brain’ for home security, and comprises hardware, embedded software, a cloud service and user app. It plugs into the power and home network, and can connect to existing alarm systems and off-the-shelf CCTV cameras.
That last point is crucial in terms of differentiating Sentian from other solutions, says Little: “Alternatives coming from overseas are more focused on securing the interior of the property, and require that the homeowner rip out and replace their existing security equipment. Central to our system is giving the user the ability to use their existing infrastructure, and interface seamlessly with the Sentian i3.”
The way the system combats false alarms is by means of visual verification: when an alarm is triggered, a 12 second video clip (6 seconds before and 6 seconds after the trigger) showing the relevant area is sent to the app on the user’s smart device. When the device is connected directly to the home network, the clip is pushed directly to the device, but cloud capability means the user will receive it from anywhere in the world where they have Internet connectivity.
Once notified of an alarm, the user can view the video to ascertain whether it is genuine, and if so can elevate it to their security company via the app’s panic button feature. The app allows for live-streaming from any camera connected to the home’s network, as well as the ability to search through archive footage by event.
Over and above the security and alarming aspect, Sentian’s system boasts home automation capability such as gate control and more. “This gives the homeowner another layer of functionality,” explains Little, “so once the security officers arrive, you can open the gate for them, switch on outside lights to help illuminate the area, observe their movements, etc. After an event, the app can be used to bypass a triggered sensor and reactivate the alarm, from the safety of your own bedroom or indeed from anywhere else in the world.”
Sentian’s integration with CCTV cameras is achieved by accessing the RTSP stream and supports ONVIF capable cameras from all the major brands, as well as HD analogue cameras. On the home automation side, the Sentian i3 hardware has baked-in support for the same RF technology ubiquitously used for gate and garage door controls, in addition to support for Z-Wave devices; support for Yale smart locks is currently in the works.
To extend its market penetration, Sentian has entered into a distribution agreement with TPA Distributors and a technology partnership with Radio Data Communications (RDC). “Our solution is currently supported by installers in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and we are inviting alarm and CCTV installers to partner with us to roll it out across the rest of the country. Installers will find that our solution offers them financial benefits and up-selling opportunities, requires minimal installation time and training, and integrates with products they already know and love,” Little concludes.
For more information contact Sentian, +27 (0)21 492 0777, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.sentian.co.za
- From the editor’s desk: Ending with something new
November 2018, Technews Publishing, News
Welcome to the final issue of Hi-Tech Security Solutions for 2018. This has definitely been an interesting year, to put it politely, and many in the security industry have felt the strain of a poor economy ...
- NEC XON talks Industry 4.0 and disruption
November 2018, Technews Publishing, This Week's Editor's Pick, Cyber Security, Integrated Solutions, Conferences & Events, Training & Education
NEC XON held its seventh annual summit at Sun City in October this year in which it focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4) and how it would disrupt the status quo.
- Optimal selection of CCTV operators
November 2018, Leaderware, This Week's Editor's Pick, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Security Services & Risk Management
Technology is often seen as the primary factor in the success of CCTV surveillance control rooms, yet Dr Craig Donald has seen new control rooms with the most up-to-date technology fail.
- Our dependence on cyber-connectivity
November 2018, Technews Publishing, This Week's Editor's Pick, Cyber Security, Government and Parastatal (Industry)
The health, safety, security, economic well-being of citizens, effective functioning of government and perhaps even the survival of the industrialised world relies heavily upon interconnected critical systems.
- Border security: Technology or barriers?
November 2018, Technews Publishing, This Week's Editor's Pick, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection, Government and Parastatal (Industry)
While it is important to provide a visible as well as a covert patrolling presence on borders as well as points of entry from other countries, this needs to be supplemented with technology.
- The building blocks of safe and smart cities
November 2018, Technews Publishing, This Week's Editor's Pick, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure, Government and Parastatal (Industry)
Hi-Tech Security Solutions asks NEC XON and Vox for insights into what some of the foundations of a safe and smart city are.
- How close has video analytics grown to AI?
November 2018, Technews Publishing, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Cyber Security, Integrated Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Solutions asks how far artificial intelligence has changed the video analytics market and how it will make an impact in future.
- The latest X-ray scanning solutions
November 2018, Technews Publishing, Asset Management, EAS, RFID, Security Services & Risk Management
Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked three suppliers of X-ray scanning equipment for some insights into the latest products and their safety.
- Managing business continuity and disaster recovery
November 2018, Technews Publishing, IT infrastructure, Security Services & Risk Management
Organisations are increasingly reliant on their IT systems and data, but they are faced with risks in the form of anything from accidental data loss, to deliberate acts of sabotage.
- Kaspersky builds skills with SABRIC
November 2018, Kaspersky Lab, This Week's Editor's Pick, News
Kaspersky Lab concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) to enhance cyber skills within the banking sector.
- Smart cities spend less
November 2018, Axis Communications SA, Government and Parastatal (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Security Services & Risk Management
A proactive management model allows cities to work smarter and save money while offering better services and results to their citizens.
- Choose your surveillance technology partners wisely
November 2018, Graphic Image Technologies, This Week's Editor's Pick, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
Businesses and consumers alike are spoiled for choice in the surveillance market, but as with everything else in life, you get what you pay for.