The new lager

Access & Identity Management Handbook 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

Under the previous government, the story of the Voortrekkers was mercilessly driven into the brains of impressionable youngsters.

Of the things we were taught was the concept of the lager, in which groups of travelling ox wagons would form a circle as a means of protection in the face of danger.

Today's South Africa no longer has ox wagons roaming the plains, but we face different threats and have had to create new defences against them. In the South African high-crime society, residential security is of primary importance to everybody and we have seen thousands of families moving into walled residential estates in an effort to secure themselves and live a relatively open and fear-free lifestyle.

Of course, criminals are not stupid and even with high walls and guards at the gate they still manage to get into what we consider the most secure complexes. The resolution many estates are now adopting is to opt for the same solutions business has used over the years and make more use of technology.

Brian Sharkey, of Security Management Consultants, says more estates are abandoning having a guard at the gate requiring visitors to sign in or issuing access cards to residents, and opting for more secure access. Biometrics is one area under the spotlight since it is much harder to lose your finger or for staff to give their finger to someone under duress. And for those hardcore readers, technology is available that can ensure a fingerprint taken by a reader is still attached to a person - only in South Africa.

Sharkey says there is some hesitance to use biometrics among residents because of perceived hygiene issues, but the added security seems to be winning people over.

Big brother is watching

The second technology being used to protect estates is CCTV or IPTV. Large estates have the inherent weakness of long perimeter walls that can not be patrolled on a 24x7 basis, leaving openings for criminals to gain entry (assuming they are not able to get past the gate guards). Hiring enough guards to cover the entire perimeter would be too expensive and estate managers are therefore turning to video monitoring.

Keeping an eye on the perimeter and being able to focus in on alarms activated by breaches in the electric fence, for example, makes surveillance much easier and enables fewer guards to protect a larger area. For those residents concerned about privacy, it is easy to set up these cameras with the ability to monitor vulnerable public areas and to ignore private gardens etc.

Sharkey adds that video technology can even be extended as far as facial recognition as an added security function of access control, as well as to provide evidence of who did what at what time by viewing archived images.

In the larger (more well-off) estates, these solutions are being integrated into internal emergency response teams. Whether it is a fire, medical or criminal emergency, some estates have response units on standby on a 24x7 basis. These teams react to internal alarms and can be at any emergency in minutes to render assistance until the police or an ambulance arrives. These services do no replace traditional security and medical assistance, but are able to reach people faster and control the situation until help arrives.

Many traditional security companies have realised that estates are becoming profitable markets in themselves and have initiated programmes to train staff to work with and in estates.

Many would argue that security measures such as the ones described above are only for the rich living in multimillion rand houses on huge estates. Sharky disagrees, noting that many of the newer estates being built are designed to accommodate everyone. In some cases there are large (expensive) houses flanked by less costly townhouses - some estates may even have flats for sale. He says housing estates are becoming more like suburbs with a variety of housing types for different people.

A free and relaxed lifestyle within an estate is something most people desire, but one must realise it comes at a price - and that is not only the rand value. Most estate residents want unbreakable security without any inconvenience to themselves, but have to realise this is impossible. Effective security can be non-invasive in the monitoring phase, but it can not be invisible. Housing estates of the future will rely on technology to handle much of their security needs, almost invisibly, with well-trained service personnel close at hand to deal with any emergencies that arise. Big brother is not always the enemy.

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Facial access control for ministry
Issue 1 2020, ZKTeco , Access Control & Identity Management
The Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia has adopted ZKTeco’s facial recognition technology and fingerprint biometrics to manage access control into its building.

New Door Pilot app from dormakaba
Issue 1 2020, dormakaba South Africa , Access Control & Identity Management
With new dormakaba Door Pilot, automated doors can also now be operated on the basis of remote control technologies. The system, comprising the Door Pilot app for smartphones and a Wi-Fi interface for ...

Identity lifestyle
Issue 1 2020, Suprema , Access Control & Identity Management
Once the technology of the future, biometrics has quietly snuck into our daily lives through smartphones and access controls into our places of work.

Securing BP’s new head office
Issue 1 2020, ISF SFP , Access Control & Identity Management
ISF SFP was awarded the contract to secure the first development phase for Oxford Parks, the new head office for BP South Africa.

Combining aesthetics and access control
Issue 1 2020, Turnstar Systems , Access Control & Identity Management
Prestigious law firm Bowman Gilfillan recently upgraded its physical security with the addition of four Turnstar Speedgate Express access control lanes.

Video doorbells from Ring
Issue 1 2020 , Access Control & Identity Management
Ring has a number of video doorbells available in South Africa that run off batteries or power and enable users to answer their doors from anywhere.

Centurion to unveil new product
Issue 1 2020, Centurion Systems , Access Control & Identity Management
Centurion Systems will be hosting its third Access Automation Expo this year, with dates confirmed for Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Looking ahead with mobile access technologies
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020, Technews Publishing, HID Global, dormakaba South Africa, Salto Systems Africa, Suprema, Gallagher , Access Control & Identity Management, Integrated Solutions
Given the broad use of smartphones around the world and the numerous technologies packed into these devices, it was only a matter of time before the access control industry developed technology that would ...

Mobile access is more secure than card systems
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020 , Access Control & Identity Management
The ability to use mobile phones as access credentials is one of the biggest trends in a market that historically has been slow in adopting new technology.

This is the future. This is what we do.
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020, ZKTeco , Access Control & Identity Management
ZKTeco has created a unique range of visible light facial recognition products combined with a flexible Android platform.