Biometrics for upmarket estate

October 2016 Editor's Choice, Access Control & Identity Management, Residential Estate (Industry)

Situated against the backdrop of the impressive Helderberg Mountain, in Somerset West, Helderberg Village is considered the prime living destination for 1200 residents, many of whom have retired to the village from other provinces and countries. While the village is a haven for its upper LSM residents, it also attracts the attention of criminals intent on gaining access to the possessions of its occupants.

Vagn Nielsen, CEO of the Helderberg Village Master Homeowners Association NPC, explains that residents pay a premium to live in such idyllic and upmarket surroundings, and rely on the Master Homeowners Association to institute appropriate security measures. In 2014, as part of an extensive holistic security upgrade project, the access control elements of Helderberg Village were addressed.

“The original system, if it could be called that, comprised a paper log book that visitors were supposed to complete in order to gain entry into the village. The entries were ridiculous to say the least and obviously could not be verified. In a nutshell, there was no control with respect to security and access control,” Nielsen says.

Access and visitor management

After issuing a tender for the access control component of the upgrade, Helderberg Village Master Homeowners Association NPC awarded the contract to Powell Tronics, via onsite contractors Zone, to provide access control hardware and software at all three of the estate’s entrance/exit points. Since many of the residents on the estate are retired, the problems associated with increasing degradation of fingerprints with advancing age needed to be addressed. Zone and Powell Tronics worked closely with management and fine-tuned the sensitivity of the biometric fingerprint readers to ensure that the majority of residents on the estate could be enrolled on the system.

Biometric tuning

Nielsen says that in addition to controlling the movement of people into Helderberg Village, the new access control system needed to provide management information on who is on estate at any one time. The fully biometric solution, comprising Morpho Sagem fingerprint readers and Powell Tronics’ PT-Guest visitor management software running on an Impro access control backbone, together with keypads utilising personal access codes (PACs), effectively manages the access of villagers, village staff, visitors, contractors and private workers with a high degree of accuracy.

The system is configurable, a necessary requirement since the estate plays host to a large number of casual and once-off visitors to the golf course, sporting facilities, clubhouse, restaurant and conference facilities. Management are able to define time zones for the various categories of non-residents that include family of residents (24/7 access after registration approval by a resident), contractors and private workers typically between regular working hours on specific days, as well as the 300 village staff.

PoPI compliant

Fully PoPI compliant, the system provides assurance to any visitors or contractors that Helderberg Village captures and uses only the required information. Once a year, the entire database is deleted, in accordance with the PoPI Act. All personal information captured is secured and restricted and no personal information is shared or accessible.

The access control system is integrated with the extensive surveillance camera presence through a fibre optic ring linked to the onsite control room, ensuring that all entrance and exit activities are fully monitored and managed.

Nielsen points out that management interacts on a weekly basis with local community policing forums and the neighbourhood watch, with the common consensus being that the estate is considered to be a fortress. Since the inception of the new security system, the estate has experienced only two incidents, both of which were related to internal staff. This is a clear indication that external crime elements have been excluded from the equation.

“This security solution is the culmination of what we have seen on other luxury estates and as a result, it provides a solid example of best practice in access control,” he concludes.

For more information contact Powell Tronics, 0861 787 2537,,


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

A platform approach to innovation and value
September 2019, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure
Moving to the platform model of doing business holds tremendous advantages for end users and smaller developers, but also for the whole technology supply chain.

Open does not always mean easy integration
September 2019, VERACITECH, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
Customers who opt for best-of-breed solutions will have to rely on their integrators to develop customised integrated solutions for them.

The impact of AI on the surveillance industry
September 2019, G4S South Africa, Hikvision South Africa, Myertal Tactical Security, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
What the impact of AI will be on companies, the services and solutions they supply, as well as on the jobs people do.

Video analytics and AI
September 2019, Axis Communications SA, Dallmeier Electronic Southern Africa , Hikvision South Africa, Technews Publishing, Dahua Technology South Africa , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
Artificial intelligence has the potential to deliver real benefits in the world of video analytics and many companies are already delivering customer benefits.

Cloudy with a chance of AI
September 2019 , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
One local company has developed an AI solution that can be added to existing surveillance installations, offering 24-hour intelligence.

Security surveillance architecture
September 2019, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
IP video surveillance solutions typically have two distinctive surveillance architectures: centralised and distributed. Dean Coleman explains the difference.

Selecting the right surveillance storage
September 2019, Capsule Technologies, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, IT infrastructure
Storage is an integral part of a surveillance installation and the solution chosen can make or break the success of your project.

Cyber-securing your surveillance infrastructure
September 2019, Genetec, Hikvision South Africa , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Cyber Security
When it comes to cybersecurity, understanding the risks and the solutions as well as engaging in open communication helps everyone.

Speak up with audio
September 2019, Axis Communications SA , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
Video surveillance systems are traditionally used as forensic tools, but what if you can use your surveillance system to proactively deter incidents before they happen?

Why your video management system needs a drone
September 2019 , Editor's Choice, Integrated Solutions
What was once just science fiction, along with artificial intelligence and driverless cars, surveillance drones are now very real and an affordable and effective video surveillance option.