When an estate decides to make use of technology to improve the lives of its residents as well as to boost its security systems, there is more to consider than simply which products one should install. The one certainty when dealing with technology, whether it be for your security, IT or communications needs is that it will, at some stage, fail. Even the best and most expensive solutions require maintenance and will eventually need repairs.
It is when something goes wrong that estates often find out whether they have made a good decision regarding their service providers. How fast are your systems fixed? If something needs to be replaced, how long will you have to wait until it is done? In other words, how long will there be a hole in your estate’s security?
Many service providers sign estates to long-term SLAs (service-level agreements) in order to assure them of quick turnaround times when things go wrong, as well as (hopefully) regular maintenance to prevent things from going wrong. Sadly, many estates find that the contract is not worth much more than the cost of the paper it is printed on as there are always ‘outs’ that excuse the service provider when they fail to deliver.
AMAX Electronics makes it a point to avoid these problems. The company has been in business since 1996 and makes use of its own infrastructure and public communications technologies to ensure the security in the estates it supports is always fully functional. The company has wireless coverage over the most of Gauteng, which it uses to monitor and manage the estates to which it is contracted.
AMAX CEO, Freeg Stoltz says the company does not provide guarding or response services, nor does it offer remote security monitoring of estates. It is a technology service provider, although its installations can be used by third parties to provide these security services.
The company’s core capabilities include voice, data, video surveillance, access control, zoned electric fencing, and command and control centre design. It also offers IT and communications support for estates, such as fibre to the home, which are also continually monitored. It also offers voice, data and video, as well as IP and analogue phones with free on-net calls and email hosting.
Centrally integrated and monitored
What sets AMAX apart is that it integrates a range of security solutions, many of them developed locally by AMAX for local conditions, and manages them in real time from its control centre, using its home-grown monitoring software named EMS (Estate Management System). The electronic components, whether electric fence energisers, surveillance cameras, access control points and more, are all displayed in graphical format. Any image in red means there is a problem, a blue image means the problem has been noted and technicians are on it, while a green means the systems are functioning as required.
This means that as soon as an electronic component develops a problem, an alert is displayed on one of the control centre’s screens, allowing AMAX to dispatch a tech-nician before the estate even knows there is a problem. This setup allows AMAX to keep downtime due to technical issue to a minimum. As part of its SLA, AMAX also carries out regular maintenance, which helps to keep these failures to a minimum.
In an industry where the term ‘integration’ is used far more often than it should be, it should be noted that all AMAX installed systems are integrated into EMS and managed in real time. Any information from EMS can be used to print reports for the estate, or it can be shared with the relevant guarding company to assist it in delivering a more efficient service to the estate.
While AMAX can install and monitor all the components mentioned below, all the components operate independently, meaning a failure in one will not affect the performance or monitoring of the others. Some of the solutions AMAX offers include:
Visitor access control: This system includes voice-over-IP (VoIP) phones to contact residents when visitors arrive, fingerprint biometric stations and a driver’s licence bar code reader. The phones provide a list of numbers per stand, without divulging the residents’ names or other details. Each call is billed to the residence concerned at a low rate as it is transmitted over the estate’s network. AMAX also offers live fingerprint identity checks to verify the identity of the person entering the estate.
Fingerprint access control: Linked to the visitor solution, AMAX recommends using fingerprint biometrics for resident and employee access as it is more reliable and secure than PIN codes or access cards. The company’s system offers anti-passback functionality, live login of all transactions and extensive management reporting. Fingerprints can be set to expire on certain dates, or after a period of non-use. The system can also be integrated with surveillance cameras to capture an image of everyone as they sign in.
AMAX offers a full time and attendance (T&A) solution to estates as well, allowing the estate to keep accurate records of who comes to work when, even for people working for residents. Regular reports can be emailed to the responsible parties, highlighting all entrances and exits of the respective staff.
Booms and turnstiles: AMAX also installs and maintains boom gates and turnstiles, using whatever products best meet the estate’s requirements.
Surveillance cameras: AMAX offers client two different camera platforms to choose from, Digi IT and Mirasys. Each has a range of cameras for different scenarios and offer wireless transmission in order to be able to carry video over long distances without requiring additional cable installations.
For new estates, or those with a building project on the go, AMAX also offers a Time Capture facility. This allows the estate or even the homeowner to access a video feed of the building activity as well as high definition snapshots, which can be combined to show the progress of the building over a long period of time.
Electric fencing: AMAX technicians are trained and certified to install and maintain electric fences, including providing customers with a Certificate of Compliance – as current legislation requires. The company mainly makes use of Stinger fencing and components. The monitoring software is designed to alert the control centre of any breaches, highlighting the location of the breach to within metres of the actual event. It can also send alerts via SMS or email to specified personnel, and pop up a camera view of that section of the fence.
Another feature available to estates is the ability to SMS residents near the faulty zone in an electric fence, warning them that the fence is damaged or has been breached and that help is on the way.
Additional offerings: In addition to its secur-ity solutions, AMAX also offers other services estates require. This includes electricity, water, gas and data metering. These readings are monitored in real time and recorded on a centralised server, which sends out accurate accounts every month. The data services are offered over fibre connectivity to the estate’s residences and not only include Internet connectivity, but can also include VoIP and DSTV.
All incorporated in the SLA
The AMAX SLA is the central point of the service offered by the company. It is a contract that covers all the components installed and managed by AMAX. This includes on-site repairs, including labour, travel and spare parts, at a set monthly cost. The estate is guaranteed a 4-hour response time, at any time of the day, and there are penalty clauses in case AMAX does not perform. The SLA is supported by the AMAX control centre, which is the heart of the operation.
Stoltz explains that AMAX prefers to handle the full installation and maintenance task as it ensures its technical people are properly trained and their work is up to standard. This allows AMAX to offer the SLA it does, knowing that poor workmanship from a third party no longer on the scene will not result in endless problems and callouts.
A list of residential estate references can be found at http://www.amaxelectronics.co.za/index.php/references-2
For more information contact AMAX, 086 123 AMAX(2629), www.amaxelectronics.co.za
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