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Will the security intelligence of today outsmart the threats of tomorrow?

Heists, hits, hi-jackings and other forms of organised crime are carried out by criminals who are linked to a greater chain of crime syndicates. A typical syndicate is well-resourced, highly-informed, and is a force to be reckoned with. In the future, the migration to digitisation and automation will give rise to unprecedented systems and software that could pose greater threats if placed in the hands of the wrong people. The question begs, will security intelligence be ready for the world of tomorrow?

The cinematic world portrays intelligent machines developed by man as integral to the villainous pursuit of world conquest and domination. But what was once far-fetched fantasy is rapidly becoming a reality. We currently find ourselves on the cusp of an era of digitisation, automation, and machine learning. Whether the thought of algorithms, artificial intelligence and the ‘internet of things’ haunts you (cue flashback of machine turning on its creator and embarking on a path of chaos and destruction), or sets your neurons firing with excitement, it’s only a matter of time before this new-age technology is part and parcel of our daily lives.

The criminals of the future will latch onto this new-found form of technology as a vehicle to disrupt and corrupt hi-tech security systems and personnel. If intelligence provided from within an institution were a way to compromise the first line of defence, then newly-developed technology could topple an entire system. While conventional intel may still play a part in gaining inside info, it won’t be the only form of it in the syndicates’ arsenals. Databases can provide syndicates with sensitive information about operations and locations so that they can intercept the next move. Gone are the days of reckless Stander-type heists – the syndicates of today employ tactics on the scale of hi-tech military strategy, and they mastermind well-organised skirmishes. But this, compounded by elaborate intelligent software and devices, means a greater risk of security breaches.

What capabilities are needed to combat security threats of the future?

In South Africa, an intricate web of organised crime syndicates is on a crusade to raid the coffers of national conglomerates and key points, global corporations, private institutions and people trying to make an honest living.

It is no longer just about having the technology to detect a breach – it is about having preventative measures in place to both identify a legitimate threat and to pre-empt a potential breach. This can be achieved by employing multiple intelligent defence solutions, streamlined from a command and control centre.

Technology, such as Intelligent Video Analytics or IVA, has the ability to identify threat agents or scenarios, and to apply a discretionary response, based on vital data analytics, to manage the threat. Systems that recognise objects, detect behavioural patterns, and can apply a degree of discretion based on gathered data – essentially, a system that thinks for itself – will harness the full capabilities of eradicating threats. Although advancements on this scale will improve detection tremendously, this is only one aspect of a comprehensive security suite. A sound security system requires the effective functioning of all its parts, all while being monitored by a command and control centre.

It may be impossible to predict the future, but we can still be prepared for it.

The fundamentals of security are embedded in being proactive. However, a substantial amount of security measures in today’s world contradict this notion. Technology is often developed in response to criminal practices or their modus operandi, rather than proactively.

While it may be impossible to predict the future, we can pave the way for a seamless alignment of security requirements with technology. Furthermore, the technology required to outsmart the threats of tomorrow should be preventative in nature and, more importantly, should be at the forefront of innovation and at the pinnacle of all intelligence work.

Commercial and Industrial

C3's New Firefighting Solution Ups Conveyor Belt Safety

Back-breaking manual transportation of raw materials was, until the industrial revolution, the order of mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors throughout the world.

Men and beasts bent double under the weight of their loads, lugging them from source to manufacturing plant, day in and day out. It was a large and slow labour force, fraught with human error and vulnerable to the weather, illness and accidents. So, when conveyor belt technology started edging its way into production in the early 1900s and bringing with it increased profits and effectiveness, factory, mine and plant owners were quick to implement it.

The conveyor belt is undoubtedly one of the most effective labour saving devices ever invented, says Brendon Cowley, New Business Director of C3 Shared Services, a company that specialises in the design and installation of state-of-the-art thermal technology, intelligent video analytics and fire systems. "It has streamlined inter-building transportation, moving raw materials with ease, speed and high load capacities, and saving incalculable amounts of time and money."

However, as effective as they are, conveyor belts come with risks, one of the main being fire, he points out. Aside from the obvious threat to human life, fire can slow or bring production to a halt as well as destroy facilities, hence the need for vulnerable sites to have good fire detection systems, he maintains.

"Many fires associated with conveyor belts are the result of mechanical failure. Roller idler sets, bearings and gears seize, pulley bearings collapse, friction results in the brake drives, rollers jam, belts slip - these are all fires just waiting to break out. Additionally, flammable materials such as wood, diesel fuel, mineral oil, hydraulic liquids, and solid or liquid plastics, which can be found around conveyor belt systems, are also highly combustible. Add to this list smouldering coal dust, hot surfaces, burning liquids, welding and fire beads, and one has a potentially highly flammable environment to secure, Cowley notes.


For Cowley, the answer to preventing conveyor belt fires is a holistic solution that incorporates a number of components, including the actual installation of the conveyor belt. "Regardless of how professional the installation, the company cannot guarantee that working parts will not fail at some time for whatever reason," he says. "The answer then lies in being able to detect failing mechanical parts and replace them in good time, or identify hot surfaces quickly before they have time to ignite."

C3 has accordingly designed an advanced selective heat sensor capable of early fire detection - no mean feat considering the challenges of detecting failing conditions. "Early fire detection gives workers time to escape. It also allows operational and security managers to shut down the equipment to prevent further damage, which has massive cost saving benefits as only the failing part would then have to be replaced."

The solution

The perfect solution, according to Cowley, is the pneumatic electronic heat detector, which can be installed very close to mechanical parts prone to failure and overheating. Temperature deviations can be recorded so that any rapidly rising temperature will set off alarm bells. "What's really excited operational and security managers is the fast reaction time of this device, which picks up changes in temperatures in 60 to 100 milliseconds. This gives operators vital reaction time to safeguard the rest of the equipment as well as the materials being transported on the conveyor belt at the time."

Highly accurate and super-sensitive, the unit detects both direct and indirect fire exposure, while its sensor sensitivity can be calibrated according to specific environmental conditions, he explains further. Fire events, faults and signal peaks are stored in the detector's NVM (Non-Volatile Memory) and can be downloaded at any time through a USB interface. Internal thresholds can be configured for those values and the detector can drive "pre-alarm" and "fire alarm" relays accordingly.

Lightweight, compact and user-friendly, the unit has a built-in audio-visual indication that provides a complete all-in-one detection, alarm and fire suppressant activation solution. Its pneumatic electronic heat detector analyses the rate of temperature rise as well as measures absolute temperature changes above ambient conditions. It operates on the rapid rise in element temperature over time, irrespective of the starting temperature, so, for example, temperature changes of 10 degrees per second are interpreted differently from the same change rise over three hours.

This robust solution is unaffected by grime, dirt and other materials that tend to gather in conveyor belt systems, offering extremely reliable detection in the most extreme conditions, and with a low risk of false alarms, he adds. Adding to its robustness is that the unit doesn't require any maintenance and can withstand temperatures of 1100°C for up to 5 minutes.

The pneumatic electronic heat detector can be installed practically anywhere that requires overheating and fire monitoring, regardless of space constraints. This, explains Cowley, is due to its flexible tubing, which can be fitted into very tight spaces which would preclude other monitoring equipment.

Compatible with a variety of market verticals, the detector replaces the need for multiple ordinary detectors. It can be used in a range of applications from industrial, commercial and military to public transportation, off-road vehicles, agriculture, machineries, generator rooms and tunnels. It's also ideal for single-zone protection for buildings, land vehicles and marine vessels.

For more information on the Fire and Overheating Detector, please call C3 Shared Solutions on 011 312 2040 or email marketing@c3ss.com

Case Studies

Botswana opts for intelligent video

Botswanian correctional facility uses video analytics to detect potential escapees.

Botswana’s Department of Correctional Services has installed ioimage video analytics at its First Offenders Correctional Facility in Gabarone, Botswana, to control the movement of prisoners and reduce the number of inmate incidents.

The prison, which measures 22 500 square-metres, needed a reliable and accurate perimeter protection solution that would integrate with the existing video management system. It also had to be easy to operate and capable of withstanding the region’s harsh weather conditions.

ioimage intelligent video was integrated into a 'double knock' detection system that also employs kinetic energy sensors. Since a convict would have to circumvent two security systems in order to escape, the probability of detection is high. The Botswanian government is currently planning further installations with ioimage intelligent video appliances at four other prisons.

“The project is a great success,” said Nick Grange, technical director of C3 Shared Services, the installer. “ioimage offered the ideal solution for this site. The system is extremely effective and simple to operate by staff with little or no hi-tech knowledge.”

“ioimage technology can be used to protect a wide range of installations,” said Greg Mendeleev, ioimage senior sales director, EMEA. “Not only do our solutions detect intruders engaged in theft, terrorism or vandalism, but they can also spot people attempting to illegally leave controlled areas.”

Case Studies

Thermal cameras for Gautrain

C3 Shared Services has been appointed by Bombardier to supply and install a combination of two military grade technologies, namely Opgal’s thermal cameras combined with ioimage intelligent video analytics, to monitor the tracks and tunnels of the Gautrain rail.

Due to the emphasis on a very high level of security along the Gautrain rail and in the tunnels, the main criteria was to select a combination of technologies that provide detection of human targets even in no light conditions. Opgal’s thermal cameras combined with ioimage intelligent video analytics were selected for their high probability of detection and low false alarm rate. This decision was not taken lightly and was only decided upon once rigorous and extensive testing had been conducted between different brands of thermal cameras and video analytics. The test results were then sent over to France for final scrutinising, which was based on the performance of the technologies to comply or exceed the criteria of user requirements set by Bombardier as part of their security methodology.

C3 was appointed as the preferred vendor. Nick Grange, technical director of C3 says, “Our cameras also had the leading edge over the competition because of the wide range of lens selection available which was necessary due to the nature and layout of the Gautrain track”.

To date, C3 has had enormous success with numerous installations of thermal cameras combined with high performance video analytics at various sites in South Africa including residential estates, refineries, correctional facilities and national keypoints. The C3 solution will integrate with Bombardier’s high-tech video management system enabling operators of the system to monitor unauthorised access to the rail and making it a much safer environment for both Gautrain personnel and commuters alike.

Case Studies

Standing the test of time

Four years ago, C3 Shared Services designed and implemented an intelligent perimeter security solution for the prestigious Southdowns Estate in Irene, Pretoria. The perimeter of Southdowns is 7,2 km in length and the HOA required a solution that would give instant visual verification as to the cause and location of any perimeter breaches without the need for additional lighting. C3 installed 23 military grade thermal cameras combined with intelligent video analytics to monitor the perimeter and alert control room operators to any unauthorised activity on the perimeter.

The true measure of success for any security system is how well it continues to perform over the years with a variety of scenarios. Blanca Pretorius, MD of EBS Security who provides the guarding element at Southdowns, says, “C3’s thermal solution with smart analytics has been operational at Southdown’s Residential Estate for the past four years. I regard this solution as one of the best tools in the market and during the past couple of years it has actively resulted in the prevention and detection of perimeter breaches on numerous occasions. We have found this entire solution to be user friendly, stable and very reliable and use this system as one of our key aspects in crime prevention and safeguarding our clients. It has definitely proven to be the smart choice and well worth every cent.”

Since installing the thermal cameras on the perimeter, C3 has added another thermal PTZ to monitor the golf course area. Should an intrusion be detected in this area, the PTZ thermal can follow the intruder and armed response can be speedily dispatched to the appropriate area.

Four years ago, Southdowns required a virtual perimeter that allowed for instant visual verification of any intrusions day or night with no additional lighting and it is reassuring to know four years down the line that the system is serving them well and continues to be an extremely effective tool in keeping the estate secure.

Residential Estates
Case Studies

370 advanced fire, smoke detection systems for Arnot

State-owned power utility Eskom will equip its Arnot power station, in Mpumalanga, with 370 SigniFire flame, smoke and reflective-heat detection systems by December.
Turnkey intelligent video, fire and perimeter security specialist C3 Shared Services (C3SS) is installing the camera-based detection system, which can visually determine the source of a fire or smoke.

The installation of the cameras began in December last year and C3SS business development director Brendon Cowley says this is the biggest installation undertaken by the company to date.
C3SS and Eskom’s fire engi- neering team are discussing the possibility of including the SigniFire system in the design of future power stations.

The SigniFire system is a product of US-based solutions provider Fike and was launched in South Africa about four years ago. C3SS is the sole distributor of the SigniFire system in the country.
The system visually detects the presence of fire or smoke at its source, independent of airflow in the area.
The early-warning detection system indicates fire or smoke by displaying a colour-coded line around the flame or smoke plume on a screen and sounds an alarm, depending on the configuration.
The on-screen display highlights the flame, smoke or reflective heat with either a blue or red line, signalling a warning, while pinpointing the specific location of the fire.

“Once a fire has taken place, you need to find out what caused it. “With visual-based fire detection, you can go back and use the recording from the system to find the cause of the fire, even if the camera is destroyed in the blaze,” Cowley says.
He adds that C3SS has been involved in intelligent video analytics for eight years and also uses the product for the detection of intruders, especially in harsh, outdoor environments.
The scaleable SigniFire system can also be used as a standalone recording device and smoke, fire and reflective-flame detector for new installations, or it can be integrated into an existing video management system.
The video is analysed by intelligent processing devices with specific algorithms that detect plumes of smoke or the frequencies of flames, while the SigniFire Internet Protocol network camera detects and recognises smoke and flames from great distances, says Cowley.

A 1-m-high fire can usually be detected from a distance of 100 m, depending on the camera lens, which is available in 2.8 mm and 8 mm, he explains. The smoke or flame can be detected in its earliest stages, unlike smoke or heat detec- tors that rely on the flame or smoke to reach the detector before it sets off an alarm.

“The challenge for conven- tional systems, such as smoke detectors, is that the smoke needs to interface with the device, which can be a major drawback, especially in large-volume areas, such as warehouses with high roofs. “High air flow also makes it difficult for sensors to detect smoke in some cases,” notes Cowley. 


C3 secures place in the sun

In December 2012, power and automation technology group ABB won the order to supply a turnkey PV power plant to the Soutpan Solar Park project in Polokwane, which included design, engineering, installation and commissioning.

The park would generate 31 MW and would be among the first utility scale photovoltaic power plants to be built in phase one of the government’s long-term renewable energy programme, which aimed to reduce pollution and diversify South Africa’s energy mix. C3 Shared Services, specialists in the design and implementation of intelligent video, fire and perimeter security solutions, was commissioned to design and install an intelligent video-based surveillance system to protect the power plant from theft of valuable capital equipment.

Based on a long-standing relationship with C3 Shared Services, ABB requested the company to implement a perimeter security and intrusion detection solution centred on the initial design that was done in Spain. The perimeter security solution needed to have best of breed technology within the project’s budget and timeframe. 

With the exception of the planting of the perimeter fence poles, C3 undertook the entire security programme implementation. “We were selected because of our previous extensive experience on intrusion detection systems and our ability to work according to stringent client specifications,” says Carl Reed, project manager for the project.

The project started with a comprehensive site inspection and evaluation, including a complete assessment of all risks, which was followed by a revised design process in collaboration with ABB.

The perimeter is 4.5 km in extent and situated in a rural area so the C3 team decided to deploy advanced outdoor infrared detectors and 69 ioimage static perimeter surveillance cameras using military grade video analytics for the detection of human targets.

“We have integrated the entire system to provide a double knock effect that will ensure no persons will be able to pass through the perimeter without being detected. The combination of best-of-breed technologies resulted in having an exceptionally high probability of detection and a very low false alarm rate,” says Reed.

Reed goes on to say that: “Quality project management was key to the success of this large project. Regular site meetings, combined with project meetings both on site and at C3’s head office brought together all stakeholders for a complete collaborative effort”.

Reed advises potential clients to consider a security solution that is scalable, upgradeable and sustainable. He also cautions businesses to visit similar sites to determine suitability and to employ a company that has the flexibility to design a customised solution according to specific project needs and client user requirements.

The project began in December 2013 and was successfully handed over to ABB at the end of July 2014. “The feedback from ABB is that the implementation quality and the system performance have exceeded their expectations. The C3 perimeter security solution will provide the solar power plant with the highest levels of security needed to protect the plant against external threats for the foreseeable future,” says Reed.


Maintenance is essential

It’s no secret that many surveillance installations often fall short after the initial installation and signoff is done. Cameras move, trees grow, circumstances and environments change, and there is normal wear and tear, dust on the lenses, etc to take care of. Strangely, not all customers budget for, or even want to have an SLA or maintenance plan to take care of their surveillance installation after the initial work is done.

Understanding that there is still more to be done after the installation, Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked what the optimal solution is, what should it cost and what should be part of a maintenance plan and a long-term SLA.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Is it common for your clients to take a maintenance contract or SLA when you do large installations? Do you recommend this as part of the solution you sell to them?

Cedric Greeves, sales leader: Tyco Integrated Fire & Security South Africa: We are finding more clients take a longer-term view on their investment in security and fire protection systems, and they are maximising that investment by properly maintaining their systems.

We recommend maintenance in order to extend the lifespan of the system as well as keep it working at optimal performance levels. This optimisation is achieved through a combination of planned/preventative maintenance as well as emergency repairs when things go wrong in order to ensure maximum uptime of the system.

We are also seeing a growing trend towards quality and safety standards that demand clients undertake to maintain their systems adequately.

Brendon Cowley, business development director, C3 Shared Services: Yes, we sell maintenance agreements as part of every project.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What do clients generally want in their SLAs or maintenance contracts?

Greeves: It always depends on the client. Some clients prefer a comprehensive maintenance solution that covers planned maintenance, reactive maintenance as well as parts – total peace of mind linked to strict service levels with respect to response and resolution times. This is hugely beneficial to clients who run mission-critical environments or who cannot risk security breaches as a consequence of any system downtime. Other clients prefer to cover the planned maintenance and manage the emergency repairs on exception.

Cowley: We typically include four services which are:

1. Preventative maintenance.

2. Response time.

3. Resolution time.

4. Strategic spares.

We feel this covers the most important aspects of a well-rounded maintenance plan. The company provides two types of maintenance agreements, which complement each other and ensure that its systems run optimally. The preventative maintenance agreement entails regular servicing of systems, while the maintenance plan is tailored to suit customer requirements and budget.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What do you recommend should be in a standard maintenance contract/SLA? Do you offer these contracts only to customers you have installed for, or as a standalone service?

Greeves: We do offer contracts. We service clients where we have undertaken the initial installation works and we can also undertake maintenance work where we did not initially install the systems. We obviously, however, only undertake the work if we have the capability to match the requirement.

Cowley: We offer contracts as above, to our own clients that have C3 systems installed.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Some users are of the opinion that they will handle maintenance internally and only call on service providers when there’s a warranty claim or more serious repairs are required. Does this work in an environment where skills are short and security always seems to be last on the list?

Greeves: There is space for in-house first-line maintenance and many of our clients in remote locations exercise this option simply because of the time it would take to get a technician to site, as well as the costs associated with travel. These clients tend to manage the first line of maintenance and opt for a routine inspection from us on a frequency that we agree upon.

Cowley: We provide first-line maintenance training to some of our very remote clients. This however requires them to provide human resources that can pass a stringent competency training course. Once the individuals are trained, they receive detailed first-line maintenance manuals to allow them to fix most of the common and basic problems. The major problem is that the clients don’t always have competent individuals, thus we end up providing the total service.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Users may say they can’t afford a maintenance contract/SLA because of the costs involved. How would you argue that the costs are actually worth it?

Greeves: The total cost of ownership of a system is lower when it is maintained rather than fixed when it is broken. Often the costs associated with getting a system back to optimal performance after it has been neglected for some time outweigh the costs associated with maintaining the system.

The key lies in tailoring a solution that fits the budget based on relaxing expectations for when elements of the system breakdown (ie, accidents, lighting strikes, malicious damage, etc). It then becomes a matter of understanding which elements are critical and need immediate repair, as opposed to elements of the system that can take a little longer to repair.

Cowley: To date, our clients see the value in the implementation of a maintenance agreement, and the four services mentioned above are key points in keeping a system functioning at optimum performance levels. A system can not only be measured by its output, but also by its availability. There is no point in having a formidable security system that has more downtime than up, so one can measure the impact a maintenance agreement has by looking at the amount of downtime that a system may have suffered.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: As different security functions are integrated into an easier to manage solution, are the smaller players not going to be pushed out of the market?

Greeves: Smaller players will not be pushed out of the market, unless they refuse to adapt. There is a role for all players in the market and healthy competition is good for everyone. I also think that most players in the electronic security market offer more than one service – I can’t think of too many CCTV-only installation companies.

Also, as more clients expect some form of integration in terms of the electronic security systems, there are many options in the market available to clients across a broad spectrum of overall system capabilities and budget options. Of course, the onus does rest on the client to choose the correct solution (technology, integration partner, system application to SOPs, etc).

Cowley: CCTV for large/medium size systems is definitely more complex to implement and maintain than the older CCTV systems. However, the smaller system is still very basic and the small players will have enough business for the foreseeable future. The biggest impact of loss of business to smaller players is compliancy to statutory and governmental requirements. Most procurement departments are now striving to ensure that their suppliers/vendors comply with all requirements, including health and safety, before they can be awarded the contract.


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