Vumacam21st Jul 2020
Next Level Security
Smart CCTV company Vumacam is bringing its networked security solution to residential estates in Gauteng. Its AI-powered platform strikes the balance between technology and staffed solutions, and provides a level of data-driven intelligence that makes estates – and their communities – safer.
Watching the streets
If you live – or have spent any time – in Gauteng, you’ll be familiar with Vumacam’s network of street cameras. These smart sentinels use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect threats and identify anomalies, helping private armed response companies and police to intercept or apprehend suspects, adding a highly effective layer of security for communities.
Vumacam’s License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras have developed a reputation for their accuracy and usefulness in crime prevention. During May 2020 alone, Vumacam’s LPR network helped to put an aggravated robbery suspect in custody in Bramley, assisted with a serious crime apprehension in Glenvista, and assisted the SAPS flying squad in Sandton.
Now, Vumacam’s data-led, AI-assisted surveillance technology is expanding into private residential estates across Gauteng, offering estate security teams next-generation technologies that take their security services to the next level. By plugging into Vumacam’s platform, those estates can now draw on an intelligent surveillance network, while being able to focus on their core business.
The network effect
‘We call it “The Network Effect”,’ says Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock. ‘Isolated solutions mean you don’t have a co-ordinated security network. Let’s say the same vehicle attempts to rob two different estates. If each estate has its own stand-alone security system, they won’t know that it’s the same car. That’s why we want estates to be connected; if their security systems are on a single platform, that second estate will get an early warning.’
That early warning comes from Vumacam’s network of public space cameras, supported by an AI platform that never sleeps, and has its eyes constantly on the grid. ‘We partner with a wide range of security companies,’ Croock explains. ‘Our platform will alert those hundreds of different security teams in the event of an incident. That means that Vumacam can warn you before that car even gets to your estate. So, instead of having to deal with the situation when it arrives at your gates, you’ll be on the front foot. You’ll know that a threat is coming your way, and you’ll be ready for it.’
Tech vs staff
Vumacam’s AI solution allows estates to strike the right balance between technology and security staff. The costs of implementing and maintaining integrated technologies with robust security protocols in place is often prohibitive. Sophisticated systems require teams of IT specialists, engineers, solutions architects and support staff to name a few, which is not a core business of security companies. It is also not financially viable for many estates to increase the amount of on-the-ground guards, which is becoming increasingly necessary as criminals evolve.
It may well make more sense for your estate to use a virtual guard, to supplement your on-site guard complement. After all, that virtual guard could be watching 10 different properties, which means you share the cost with nine others. ‘The virtual guard is also more efficient,’ Croock says simply… and it’s hard to argue. Whereas one human security guard might be able to watch four cameras at a time, an AI-powered virtual guard can watch 80 cameras at a time.
Croock then sketches a situation that many estates will be able to relate to. ‘Where you have a perimeter fence that you need to protect, you’ll typically send a guard out on patrol, and they’ll walk around, visiting the checkpoints. But as soon as they’vepassed a checkpoint, whoever’s watching can just slip in. If you had cameras monitoring those perimeters, the cameras are not only watching 100% of the time, greatly reducing the ability for an intruder to sneak in unseen, they also increase your guard’s personal safety. If an unusual behaviour alert or breach is identified the guard and control room are sent an alert. This provides situational awareness so the guard knows the exact location to target while the control room can give valuable feedback to the guard so he or she is prepared, while sending in backup assistance if necessary.
A smart surveillance camera network closes the gaps in a property’s security armour. ‘Your guard on patrol has to be at the right place at the right time,’ says Croock. ‘A virtual camera guard will always be at the right place at the right time; and it’s always on full alert.’
The brains behind the eyes
Vumacam’s greatest strength lies, not just in its cameras, but in its broader software ecosystem – the data-driven ‘brains’ behind the cameras’ eyes. There are many camera solutions out there, but cameras are merely hardware, and there is a big difference between an insulated camera network and one that plugs into a platform like ours. Often, it is only after an incident that it is discovered that one or more cameras aren’t even working so our notification and reporting on faulty cameras is extremely valuable information from the get go.
Because most high-end developments already have a digital camera system in place, says Croock, ‘we don’t “rip and replace”. In most cases we are able to plug into existing infrastructure, and then provide you with a data-compliant managed software platform that enables your security provider to enhance their security service to the estate. We’ll do the fibre line, the backhaul, server environment, firewalls and analytics, and then push it directly into the appointed security company’s control room.’
In other words, the Vumacam system sits as a software layer on top of the existing physical surveillance system. ‘We enable the security company to take your system, which they’ve put in, back into their control room, and then we’re layering it with intelligent software to make it feasible for the control room to be looking at the right screen at the right time,’ says Croock. This, he adds, allows the control room to get the right ratio of cameras to operator – which in turn helps to optimise costs.
As a cloud-based system, Vumacam’s environment is secure and intelligent, offering smart security, behaviour analytics, post-event analysis, and their LPR software, all of which feeds into the core offering that is Vumacam’s Milestone Video Management System (VMS) – the first GDPR-compliant VMS.
‘We’ve been doing this for the past 10 years, so we understand the space quite well,’ says Croock. ‘We know that estate security needs a single platform, where you can speak to one party who’ll manage all the complexities around connectivity, hosting, processing and so on. Very few security companies have the skillset to get the right throughput, framerate, redundancies and upgrades as this is not their core business. Our platform wraps up those complexities, and makes it easy for you to manage their costs in line with revenues.’
And with that network effect bringing a massive extra layer of data and intelligence, Vumacam’s security platform provides a level of support to estate security that is second-to-none.