Residential security gets smarter to outwit canny criminals

Apr 29th, 2021

Technology is changing the face of the South African residential security industry, with increasingly sophisticated tools like thermal cameras, facial recognition systems, license plate readers and even secure storage solutions being deployed to create safer environments.

Gone are the days of a few guards and an electric fence, with a control room operator trying to keep track of numerous ‘Non-Smart’ camera feeds. Today, intelligent proactive systems and video analytics can instantly identify human/vehicle or even unusual behaviour, allowing more effective security responses and better use of limited physical resources, says Neal Harvey, a security solutions consultant at Itec SA.

“As criminals get smarter, so does technology. A great example of this is the way that artificial intelligence (AI) has turned video cameras into intelligent sensors that are not only capable of night vision, infrared, and thermal imaging, but can provide real-time insights to security teams,” says Harvey.

Neal Harvey – Security Solutions Consultant at Itec SA

Create layers of security

There’s no single security system that’s not penetrable. That’s why effective residential security is all about layers of systems, which all feed into a central control system that provides a clear overview of the entire operation.

These layers start from the outside, and work inwards: intelligent perimeter detection systems, walls, electric fences, lights, cameras, access control systems, down to physical measures on individual homes like burglar bars and infrared beams. Each layer is smart and connected by sensors, which creates a system to defend against a range of threats, while providing numerous streams of information that allow for better security decisions to be made.

Integrate technology and people

Integration takes place at a couple of levels, says Harvey. To start with, all the different aspects of security – like perimeter protection, access control and incident response – must be integrated, so that everything can be monitored and managed from one place. “Then you’ve got to make sure these systems are easy to use and are a support rather than a burden to your security people,” he says.

The key to effective security is not replacing human guards with technology: it’s using technology to enable security personnel to operate more efficiently and effectively, while reducing the likelihood of human error.

Technology’s not the ‘silver bullet’

Ultimately, though, technology alone will never solve a residential estate’s security challenges. “Good security starts with a clear plan of what needs to be protected, and how. It needs to be managed proactively. Only then do you look at technology, which has to be practical, fit the budget, and meet the real-world challenges of the estate,” says Harvey.