South Africa’s security industry remains unique in the world. Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group, says the SA crime profile, along with its unique socio-economic landscape, means that it is one of the oldest and bespoke private security industries in the world. The SA security industry is a mature market in what is seen as an emerging economy, and the value proposition continues to diverge from the global offering due to local requirements.
Bartmann says the SA residential security market’s primary value proposition remains professional alarm monitoring, with robust armed response methodologies that make it unique in the global market. While technology and hardware have always been important as enablers for monitoring and response, Fidelity ADT is adopting the global trends in new technology through leading-edge hardware and communication platforms, artificial intelligence and the global trend of user connectivity. “These new technologies allow Fidelity ADT customers an extra layer of security beyond the usual offering,” he says.
The high penetration of mobile phones and access to data has meant that the global trend towards self-monitoring, as an additional value add to professional monitoring in SA, has become a functional reality in SA. In the last two years, Fidelity ADT has launched five solutions that enable a Fidelity ADT customer to control and monitor their alarm system from their mobile phone. This family of Fidelity ADT connected mobile apps include SecureGuard, SecureHome and SecureConnect, and cover most alarm types with varying degrees of sophistication from basic functions such as arm/disarm, to integrated CCTV and control of devices that turn lights and appliances on and off. Bartmann says over 10 000 South Africans currently manage their alarm systems remotely from their mobile phones and the trend continues to increase monthly.
Alarm systems in SA have traditionally communicated with the professional monitoring centres via radio frequency (RF) and GSM communicators. With the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) in South Africa, this has opened up new possibilities in the security industry. IoT is now a feasible platform for security products that provide far richer data from panels in a manner in which RF was not able to, and as a far more economical solution. “The ability to ‘see’ the communications device online, GPRS located, as well as the volumes of usage data will allow analysis of behavioural trends to improve customer experience and management of their security systems.”
“With the availability of big data (high volumes of data gathered from IoT devices) we are also able to start applying intelligent algorithms to determine risk and manage the risk proactively; this is collectively known as artificial intelligence or AI. To take it one step further, we can also apply learning algorithms that learn as behaviour changes. In this sense your connected alarm or CCTV system always stays current and for the first time you have a security system that is truly ‘future proof’,” concludes Bartmann.
New security-focused smart home services
SecureHome: SecureHome puts the power of security and home automation at the customer’s fingertips through their smartphone, making them feel safer and more in control. It enables customers to view the status of their home security, quickly arm or disarm their alarm system, tap into their CCTV feed and receive alerts using their smartphone. In essence it acts as a keypad for the security system outside of the home.
SecureConnect: While the SecureConnect product has much of the same functionality as SecureHome, it also offers a number of clear technological advancements. Essentially it turns a customer’s house into a smart home, offering a range of security features as well as the ability to turn off IoT devices such as pool pumps, security lights and even the coffee machine.
With SecureConnect customers can view the status of their home security system, arm and disarm their alarm, switch and dim the lights, detect movement, control the blinds, heating, air conditioning and so much more using their smartphone. Using geolocation technology, SecureConnect can even automatically arm the alarm when a customer is 5 km away from home.
These features not only provide convenience but also further enhance home security because it creates the illusion that someone is home. It also allows the customer to safely be notified when there is a problem and they can then see for themselves what that problem is.
As with SecureHome, SecureConnect is modular and can be adapted to a customer’s needs and budget. Both products are available to purchase nationwide. All signals from SecureHome and SecureConnect are prioritised and managed by the Fidelity ADT monitoring centre.
SecureGuard: SecureGuard offers safety around the clock and you only need one device for your panel. This means one compact design and less points of potential failure. SecureGuard uses wireless technology so the passive infrared detector and door contacts communicate with the alarm panel wirelessly. All peripheral devices are battery powered and can last up to two years on a single battery.
It has a built-in lithium-ion battery so in the case of a power failure it will continue protecting your home for up to 24 hours. For ease of use, your panel can be charged from your micro USB charger or even a power bank.
Communication back to the alarm panel is with an app which gives the user the ability to arm and disarm the alarm, rename and bypass zones, receive status updates from the panel regarding arming, power, health or login status. Finally the integrated GPRS/cellular communicator provides the control room with more detail so the threat can be more easily detected and this can be communicated to the homeowner.
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