In the words of Richard Branson, ‘launching a business is essentially an adventure in problem solving …’, and in the case of AMAX Electronics, they’re having one heck of an adventure as solving problems is what they do best. Their 15 years of experience in solving the security problems of secured communities has seen them grow to market leaders in this technology space.
When an estate decides that technology is the best option for solving their security needs, they will find that the options available are endless – from a variety of products to an endless number of suppliers, each happy to ply their trade. Each can do the job, some better than others, but the real difference comes in when there are issues, and anyone familiar with technology, communications and IT knows that even the fail-safe can fail. The difference is how quickly the issues are dealt with, and when it comes to security, how quickly the ‘hole’ in your ‘fence’ is repaired.
AMAX Electronics makes use of its own infrastructure and public communications technologies, and has its own development team to create bespoke security solutions by integrating perimeter surveillance, access control and zoned electric fencing, all of which are monitored by a command and control centre. This, back in 2012, led AMAX Electronics, as the provider of security solutions, to start a partnership with an estate community. Initially they focused on the installation of camera systems throughout the estate, and a service-level agreement (SLA), which meant that AMAX would provide regular maintenance to the system and offer a quick turnaround should things go wrong.
This led to AMAX taking over the estate’s access control system, using the existing fingerprint readers and propriety software complemented by some add-on software developed by AMAX approximately two years later. The success of this process led AMAX to start developing a full in-house stand-alone system to suit the exact needs of the community.
After estate management noted breaches in security, they invited AMAX to propose a ‘professional solution’ to mitigate any threats and centrally manage all their security-related functions – both existing and new – in an effective and efficient manner, ‘in-time and real-time’. In other words, the solution needed to be at a ‘readiness state’ continuously with the ability to take 100% control of any threatening incidents, while eliminating the ‘human error’ factor as far as possible.
A technology ‘mouthful’ for most of us, but to the development team at AMAX, it was just asking for what they do best – providing estate technology systems.
So, what was the solution?
A risk analysis was done of the entire perimeter of the estate, illustrating high-risk (adjacent to roads or open fields) and low-risk (adjacent to closed-off areas or neighbouring estates) areas. It was then proposed that thermal cameras with ‘virtual tripwires’ (a demarcated area programmed into the system that will trigger only when an object with heat crosses the tripwire, and is detected by the thermal imaging cameras) would be installed along the perimeter in the high-risk areas, creating a ‘thermal curtain’. This ‘thermal curtain’, together with the sophisticated software used in the control system, enables the estate to deter, detect and determine the threat level to their perimeter, and then to react appropriately in a timeous fashion.
So, why thermal perimeter detection?
The thermal cameras recommended in this case cover a distance of 300m, thus only every second existing camera on the perimeter needed to be replaced, leaving the current network and power infrastructure in place, reducing the number of cameras required, and enabling the existing cameras to be relocated to other low-risk areas within the estate. The removal of the floodlights along the perimeter meant a decrease in power consumption, enabling the system to be powered by a back-up generator during load-shedding or power outages, meaning the perimeter would always be protected.
The use of thermal tripwires drastically reduces false alarms, as it only triggers when an object with heat crosses its path. The biggest benefit of the thermal detection cameras is that an operator in the control centre can physically see the potential incursion on the live camera feed, and can then determine the threat level by seeing the number of perpetrators and whether they are armed.
The importance of an efficient risk control centre
It is the AMAX risk control centre (RCC) software that brings it all together, illustrating and displaying only exceptions to the norm on a map of the estate, enabling the operator in the control room to assess the situation, identify a threat, breach or fault and react accordingly. The systems – from access control, perimeter cameras, guard tracking and more – share with the RCC only software, information and functionality that are relevant to the security of the estate .
In the case of AMAX estate clients, a new RCC will be installed, but will not affect the current control room, as systems will be duplicated until such a time that the new RCC is ready for use and the old system switched off and dismantled. To ensure that camera monitoring and duties operate in a functional and efficient manner, there will always be two operators on duty, one being proactive, the other reactive.