Digging deep to secure South Africa’s mining industry

mining industrySouth Africa is a country rich in minerals and precious metals, with a vital mining industry aimed at taking gold, diamonds, platinum and other products such as copper, iron and coal out of the earth.

Mines are major employers, with thousands of individuals involved in a single operation, often working around the clock to extract the valuable content.

In considering the security and safety practices for the South African mining industry there are a myriad of factors to take into account. External threats such as organized crime or terrorism are ever present, but so too are internal security concerns, focused on the opportunistic theft of both mined product and equipment. On the safety side, mine operators need to be prepared in the event of a rockslide or mine collapse or some other natural or manmade disaster.

Working together, the mining industry and security providers are taking a holistic approach, examining each part of the operation and devising a security and safety plan that will encompass the various scenarios.

Often it starts at the perimeter of the mining operation, setting up fences and incorporating intrusion systems, video and video analytics so security personnel can monitor from a single point the activity at the furthest reaches of the facility.

Additionally, they can then deploy those same video systems on internal operations such as viewing product as it moves along conveyors for both security and process management purposes. Through analytics, someone monitoring the system will be alerted if there is a change from the norm, such as a piece of ore falling off or being removed from the moving belt. The video systems can also be used to monitor productivity and alert viewers to areas where processes can be improved.

Video and asset tracking are also being used to keep track of equipment. In mines dealing in lower-value ores, for instance, the theft of machinery and vehicles may be a bigger threat than theft of the product itself.

Time and attendance systems built into access control platforms can monitor the hundreds or thousands of people entering and exiting the mine. In the event of a disaster, that same system can be tapped to provide an accurate count of workers who may be trapped or missing.

Unique to the high-value mining industry, security is also incorporating random searches and even low-dose X-rays integrated with video and access control systems to periodically check for individuals who may try to smuggle valuable minerals and metals out as they exit. Some workers go so far as to swallow the ore, which is where the X-rays come in.

Another challenge for security is the very nature of the location of the mines. Some areas are threatened by rain and lightning; others are imperiled by dry, cold and dust; and yet other sites have the test of extreme high humidity. As a result, system components such as cameras and sensors need to be built to withstand these extremes of temperature and climate and the overall systems need back up capabilities and redundancy to weather power outages from storms.

Listening to and reacting to the specific needs of an industry, such as South Africa’s mining sector, is resulting in unified enterprise solutions that cover its many needs, from managing and protecting people to tracking equipment and to ensuring the security of valuable assets.


What other mining security concerns do you consider? Please leave me a comment below.


Source: Tyco Blog

DVRs, NVRs, and Hybrids: Oh My! Video Management Systems

In a world dominated by discussions of bitrates, Big Data, and bandwidth, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of options, features, and functionalities of the systems when deciding which platform — NVR, hybrid, or software only — is right for your application.

Video Management SystemsToday’s Video Management Systems (VMS) offer a wide range of capabilities and exceptional video quality. Whether your organization has already made the transition to all IP cameras or is still deciding how and when to begin the migration to IP, a variety of offerings exist to meet nearly every need in the market, whether simple or sophisticated, general purpose or vertical market application.

For end users looking for a fundamental and intuitive approach to video recording and management, the good news is that many VMS solutions are increasingly adopting feature sets that, just a few years ago, would have been found only in more sophisticated platforms. For example, features like analytics and auto discovery of cameras, along with related mobile apps for remote connectivity, are becoming common features in these systems that are most often used by the small to medium sized business (SMB) segment.

For users with integration needs, IP-based systems that offer unification into other security systems can dramatically increase the effectiveness of an overall security system. The ability to unify systems like surveillance and access control during the early development of a system allows all of the sensors in a security system to deeply tie together and increase the power of the entire system.

The SMB market is also where hybrid recorders are very popular, as they allow customers to use existing analog cameras while also adding new IP camera technology to their surveillance system as needed and at their own pace.

If your application still requires the use of analog cameras, a backwards compatible system is a must, enabling you to retain your existing analog investment while migrating to a newer IP based surveillance system. This can take the form of a single client application that can access older DVR and newer NVR and Hybrid recorders.

It is not just about the technology but about the integration of the technology and how all the parts integrate to operate as a system. Vendors that can provide all the components – from cameras to recorders to management systems and storage – will typically have a tighter integration and higher performance as a system, than adopting a multi-vendor approach for each component.


To learn more about the factors for VMS consideration, register to watch my recorded webinar, “Choosing the Right Video Management System (VMS) – Vital to Your Security.

Recorded Webinar - Choosing the right VMS

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What factors are most important to you when deciding which security platform to choose? Please leave me a comment below.


Stadium Security | balance visitor safety with visitor enjoyment

Protecting sporting events where large groups of people gather has been at the forefront of the security industry of late, especially with the recent completion of Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Thousands of miles and continents apart, both events attract thousands of spectators from around the world to cheer on their favorite teams or support their home country. Despite their differences, with the Super Bowl celebrating the big game of one of America’s favorite sports and the Winter Olympics celebrating multi-national competition, they both have many commonalities from a security standpoint.

Stadium SecurityStadium and event security are two of the most challenging security scenarios because they both require calculated combinations of manpower and technology to continuously monitor large groups of people. And even with a series of security checkpoints along the way to scan tickets and to manually check bags and backpacks to guard against banned items, these events still require a continuously watchful eye to quickly identify problems and ensure crowds do not get out of control.

That’s where surveillance technology comes into play. In the last five years, upgrading surveillance in stadiums has been one of the most sought after projects because it provides the ability to remotely monitor an event from a single command center and to proactively respond to an issue before it unfolds.

As part of Panama’s preparations to host the 39th Baseball World Cup in 2011, country officials outfitted four baseball stadiums in four different cities with new IP-based surveillance technology, which enabled security personnel to quickly identify problems and maintain control of potential security incidents. With the American Dynamics VideoEdge Network Video Recorder (NVR) and the victor Unified Client as the video management solution, these stadiums were able to monitor live surveillance footage for faster response as well be able to quickly search through recorded video after an incident occurred.

Fenway Park, home to the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball’s oldest stadium, provides yet another example where major upgrades to the surveillance systems at this stadium served as the foundation for a recent, large-scale security improvement project. With 35,000 fans coming in and out of the stadium on game day, it was time for the stadium to install an IP-based surveillance system to improve security’s view throughout the entire facility and to protect spectators. Integrating American Dynamics video solutions with Kantech access control, Fenway Park was able to update their security system and poise themselves for future innovation. Watch this great video covering Fenway’s latest security upgrade.

Sporting events are not the only large-scale surveillance challenges; take for instance the Hollywood Bowl in California, with an audience over 18,000 and so much talent on display, it represents a daunting security challenge. Every corner of the stage, parking lots, and neighboring freeways are carefully monitored to ensure that people and traffic are moving freely. The stage manager relies heavily upon the live video to ensure the show starts on time, allows him to call for more ushers to move people along, or delay the opening act if necessary.

Next time you attend an event, whether it’s a baseball game, football game, or a music concert, you can most certainly expect that surveillance is playing an important role to keep both the facility and spectators safe.


What concerns you the most with large-scale security installations? Please leave your concern in the comment section below.