By Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies
Security companies and armed response personnel are an integral part of life in South Africa. However, their day-to-day jobs are often fraught not only with certain dangers, but also liability challenges as well. When the ‘heat is on’ and security personnel are called upon to handle an incident, the ability to monitor the situation and assess the liability of parties involved after the fact is crucial. Given the nature of their jobs, however, any surveillance equipment needs to be inconspicuous as well as portable, so as not to interfere with their ability to perform their duties.
A tactical CCTV jacket is the ideal solution to this challenge – a lightweight vest that delivers live video streaming capability in an easily wearable format.
One of the biggest difficulties faced by security companies is around determining exactly what really happened at the scene of an incident. Typically, when security incidents occur, management teams need to rely on eyewitness accounts as well as the guard’s version of events. This can lead to a ‘he said, she said’ scenario, which makes taking the decisive action, legal or otherwise, a challenging task. A tactical CCTV jacket provides a comprehensive view of events as they happen, thanks to its ability to transmit live video and audio from the scene straight to the control room.
The need for wearable CCTV in the security space is not new, however, technology and cost constraints have hampered this development. Solutions were often bulky and uncomfortable, without the benefit of live streaming. A tactical CCTV jacket solves these problems. It is lightweight, comfortable and discreet, blending in with security personnel uniforms, as well as easy to use and rugged enough to withstand every day wear and tear. It resembles the regular safety vests worn by security personnel, yet it cunningly conceals not only a camera and microphone but a GSM transmitter as well. The concealed equipment streams the live video and audio as well as GPS information from security personnel in the field to the control room. This helps security companies to not only better protect their staff, but also ensure that an accurate picture of events can be developed should this evidence be necessary later on, including the precise locations of security personnel. CCTV in the field thus, is not only useful as a post-event analysis tool, but also as a real-time proactive solution for better incident management and control.
In order to deliver on these benefits, wearable surveillance solutions need to incorporate a number of different elements. These include intelligent video gateway technology, which enables real-time, low bandwidth live streaming capability. This is essential to ensure that video feeds can be transmitted from anywhere with cellular reception, and not only areas that have 3G coverage. Cameras need to deliver clear pictures both during the day and at night, and microphones must provide clear sound in often difficult conditions. A GPS antenna is vital for positional tracking, and a GSM antenna is necessary to ensure reception is sufficient for live streaming. In addition, battery packs need to be rechargeable for cost effectiveness, and light enough to carry, but with enough power to last at least 10 hours, or the length of an average security shift. Remote viewing on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets as well as computers, provides another layer of functionality.
For armed response units and security personnel in the field, a tactical CCTV jacket provides continuous recording and live streaming of events, with two-way speech capabilities for ‘always-on’ communications. The vests provide full remote surveillance capability, the ability to trigger alarms with a panic button in the event of an incident for rapid and appropriate response, and full tracking capability for accurate location identification.
Together, these features enable security control rooms to have eyes and ears on the ground at all times for fast response and an accurate picture of events. This improves the safety of personnel themselves, as well as reducing the liability risk in the event of an incident. Security companies are now empowered to better control situations, and also to present an accurate picture of events, with video and audio evidence, if action is required to be taken.