By Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies
Of the many aspects of cash handling, cash-in-transit has typically been the most difficult to secure. Transportation of luxury goods and cash have always been targets for crime syndicates, and while the frequency of cash-in-transit heists may have reduced in recent years, it remains a challenge for cash handling and logistics organisations. The difficulty around cash-in-transit lies with the very nature of the task – the money is on the move. This makes surveillance problematic, and any action taken typically occurs after the fact, by which time it is too late to prevent the theft or catch the perpetrators. Remote live monitoring technologies designed specifically for the transportation sector provide the ideal solution, enabling constant, live, proactive surveillance to help ensure the safety not only of cash-in-transit, but also the people tasked with handling this often dangerous job.
While live monitoring and surveillance is by no means a new technology, advances in the field have made this especially suited to the transportation and logistics sector. Previously, solutions for goods and vehicles on the move relied heavily on large amounts of bandwidth to transmit footage, requiring at least 32 kilobits per second (kb/s) or more in order to stream.
This is of limited use, as the 3G signal required to achieve this is often sporadic and is generally only available in metropolitan hubs. As a result, when vehicles leave areas of 3G coverage, live feeds are disrupted, effectively exposing the vehicles to vulnerabilities as a result. In addition, the cost of constantly transmitting data can become onerous. New technology, however, has enabled high-quality live video streaming using any available mobile data connection, from 3G to GPRS, which is available practically everywhere in South Africa. These solutions are able to stream at as little as 8kbit/s, using a quarter of the bandwidth to ensure streaming even in areas without 3G coverage and reducing data costs significantly in the process.
Specialised live monitoring solutions, using a mobile Digital Video Recorder (DVR) with the addition of USB modems, create a constant video connection using available mobile connectivity. This enables cash handling organisations to keep a close eye on all of their vehicles at all times. As such, the appropriate authorities can quickly be alerted in the event of a dangerous situation. With GPS technology, control rooms can pinpoint vehicle location and speed too. This, combined with live video feeds, enables controllers to identify dangerous situations and create a more proactive approach to protecting cash assets and people.
In addition, several features of these solutions make them particularly suited to this sector. The DVR is encased in an anti-shock, vibration-resistant chassis to ensure reliability on the road, and built-in Wi-Fi enables the wireless backup of locally stored video to a storage server. Up to four cameras can be connected to the unit for more effective surveillance and sensors on vehicle doors can also be connected to the unit. Alarms can be triggered automatically upon events such as deviations from planned routes, abnormal speeds and stopping, and unauthorised opening of cargo doors, effectively acting as a panic button for drivers.
A complete mobile monitoring and surveillance solution can help to prevent cash-in-transit thefts and limit the vulnerability of vehicles on the move. Not only does surveillance act as a deterrent and as evidence after the fact, swift action can be taken should vehicles be hijacked en route, since the exact location and nature of the crime can be immediately identified. With crime syndicates continuing to target cash-in-transit and luxury goods transport vehicles, such a solution offers added security and peace of mind through 24×7 live monitoring, and enables a more proactive approach to securing these vehicles and their drivers.