Management platforms have found a home in many residential estates and are used for a variety of security functions. Unfortunately, due to costs, old technology or bad product decisions, some estates have multiple management platforms for different security functions, and some older technologies are not able to integrate into current, open-standards platforms.
In a world where there are almost innumerable vendors offering different management platforms, with integration and expansion promises differing in all of them, as well as different costs, what should estates do to ensure they invest in a management platform that not only meets their needs today, but can do so well into the future, potentially also integrating non-security functions into the interface to assist with operational management as well as security?
Gary Swart from Rhyco Risk Projects says that Rhyco has handled installations at several estates in the past using different VMS platforms. The decision as to which platform to use is usually based upon the client’s requirement and the available budget. In some cases, estates need to impose a special levy to pay for its new security systems, including the platform, which makes the budget issue even more sensitive.
The first step, says Swart, is to decide whether the estate wants a fully managed control room or just a viewing station. Most would like a control room, but the costs to set up and continue running onsite control rooms are significant.
“When the estate has done its planning and decides it has the means to accommodate a proper control room, Rhyco recommends they consider a product such as CathexisVision, Arteco, etc. In our experience, CathexisVision has proved itself to be an extremely reliable platform as well as user (operator) friendly.
“The onboard analytics from Cathexis is easy to setup and reliable with the absolute minimum nuisance alarms (if set up correctly). Typical analytics used at an estate will be line crossing, illegal parking, dynamic background to filter possible nuisance alarms as lots of estates are next to rivers or dams, ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) etc.”
He adds that most well-known camera brands have been integrated into CathexisVision, while the company can also integrate most of the access control systems or electric fence brands one finds on estates.
Benefits of a central platform
The benefit of integrating security systems into a single platform is improved efficiency, making it easier for the controllers doing the monitoring. Every incident is recorded and can be referred to with the associated video footage (and other information collected) for reference or further action.
This can also extend to alarms in residents’ houses. Swart says CathexisVision supports a host of alarm panels that can facilitate panic events in homes being sent into an alarm stack in the control room. The platform’s interface can have standard operating procedures displayed with the panic event, informing the operator what the appropriate response is to each event situation. The operator, in turn, is able to input response details into the log for audit purposes.
“The system will simultaneously display cameras installed in streets close to the house in question, assisting the operator to coordinate with support vehicles on the ground with what is happening in the area, improving situational awareness as well as efficiency in the response times,” he adds.
Swart notes that the platform can also integrate with other systems, for example parking management systems, access control platforms that facilitate other aspects like contractor and visitor management, and booking of venues etc. Additionally, point of sale can be integrated, keeping track of the shop or restaurant in a golf estate.
Rhyco recommends CathexisVision, according to Swart, because it provides “a cost-effective, dynamic platform catering for all the functions mentioned above. Cathexis is a South African company with several international branches, thus aftersales service as well as on-site assistance is easy and effective.”