Cables & cable assemblies - Expert commentary

Remote Monitoring Technology: Tackling South Africa’s Cable Theft Problem
Remote Monitoring Technology: Tackling South Africa’s Cable Theft Problem

For decades, cable theft has caused disruption to infrastructure across South Africa, and an issue that permeates the whole supply chain. Here, Ian Loudon, international sales and marketing manager at remote monitoring specialist Omniflex, explains how new cable-alarm technology is making life difficult for criminals and giving hope to businesses. In November 2020, Nasdaq reported that, “When South Africa shut large parts of its economy and transport network during its COVID-19 lockdown, organized, sometimes armed, gangs moved into its crumbling stations to steal the valuable copper from the lines. Now, more than two months after that lockdown ended, the commuter rail system, relied on by millions of commuters, is barely operational.” Private security firm Despite this most recent incident, cable theft is not a new phenomenon to sweep South Africa Despite this most recent incident, cable theft is not a new phenomenon to sweep South Africa. In 2001, SABC TV broadcast a story following two members of a private security firm working for Telkom, a major telecoms provider. In the segment, the two guards, working in Amanzimtoti on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, head out to investigate a nearby alarm that has been triggered. They reach a telecoms cabinet and discover that it has been compromised, with the copper cable cut and telephone handsets strewn across the ground. In the dark, they continue to search the area when one of the guards discovers the problem: 500 metres of copper wire has been ripped out. In their haste, the thieves have dropped their loot and fled. Widespread cable theft Had they managed to get away, they would have melted the cable to remove the plastic insulation and sold the copper to a local scrap dealer for around 900 Rand, about $50 US dollars. For the company whose infrastructure has been compromised, it may cost ten times that amount to replace and repair the critical infrastructure. The disappointing takeaway from this story is that two decades on from this incident the country still faces widespread cable theft, whether it’s copper cables from mines, pipelines, railways, telecoms or electrical utilities. In fact, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that cable theft costs the economy between R5–7 billion a year. The answer to the problem must go further than the existing measures used by companies. Detect power failure Most businesses already invest in CCTV, fences, barriers and even patrol guards, but this is not enough. Take the mining sector, for example. These sites can be vast, spanning dozens of kilometres - it’s simply not cost effective to install enough fences or employ enough guards or camera operators. As monitoring technology gets better, the company has seen site managers increasingly use cable alarms in recent years that detect when a power failure occurs. The idea is that, if one can detect a power failure, they can detect whether the cable has been cut The idea is that, if one can detect a power failure, they can detect whether the cable has been cut. The problem is though: how does one distinguish the difference between a situation where a cable has been cut intentionally and a genuine power outage? Power outages in South Africa are an ongoing problem, with the country contending with an energy deficit since late 2005, leading to around 6,000 MW of power cuts in 2019. Remote terminal units Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the company that generates around 95 per cent of South Africa’s power has already warned of further blackouts as the company works to carry out repairs to its power plants. According to a statement on the company’s website, “Eskom spends in the region of R2 billion a year replacing stolen copper cables." The result is that criminals take advantage of the gaps in power to steal cable, timing their robberies to coincide with the published load shedding schedules. The basic alarms used to detect power outage won’t recognize the theft because they register a false-positive during a power cut. By the time the power comes back on, the deed has been done and the criminals have gotten away with the cable. The good news is that recent breakthroughs in cable monitoring technology are helping tackle just this problem. New alarms on the market now combine sophisticated GSM-based monitoring systems that use battery powered remote terminal units. Legitimate supply chain Unlike the basic alarms that look for the presence or absence of power, these new systems monitor whether the cable circuit is in an open or closed state. In the event of a power outage, the unit continues to run on battery power and can detect if a cable has been cut, sending a priority SMS alert to the site manager immediately, giving them a fighting chance to prevent a robbery in progress. Beyond the opportunistic theft carried out by petty criminals, the theft of copper cables forms a wider problem Beyond the opportunistic theft carried out by petty criminals, the theft of copper cables forms a wider problem across the supply chain in South Africa. In recent years, the combination of unscrupulous scrap dealers, the alleged involvement of large scrap processing companies and lax penalties meant that much of the stolen copper ended up back in the legitimate supply chain. However, recent changes in the law have sought to take a tougher stance on copper theft. Alarm monitoring technology According to the Western Cape Government, “The Criminal Matters Amendment Act, regulates bail and imposes minimum offences for essential infrastructure-related offences." The act, which came into effect in 2018, recommends sentencing for cable theft, with the minimum sentence for first-time offenders being three years and for those who are involved in instigating or causing damage to infrastructure, the maximum sentence is thirty years. It seems to be working too. In January 2021, the South African reported that a Johannesburg man was sentenced to eight years behind bars for cable theft in Turffontein. While the longer-term outlook is a positive one for industry, the best advice for businesses seeking to alleviate the problem of cable theft in the immediate future is to invest in the latest cable-theft alarm monitoring technology to tackle the problem and make life difficult for criminals.

HD Over Coax Provides Cost-effective Video Surveillance Upgrade
HD Over Coax Provides Cost-effective Video Surveillance Upgrade

According to IHS Market, it is estimated that there are over 60 million security cameras in the United States, and other reports say these cameras capture more than four billion hours of footage per week. Over the last decade, IP camera technology has dominated the conversation as it has provided users with a broad offering of enhanced image quality and features. With a large percentage of existing security systems relying on analog, many end users looking for high definition (HD) video quality have been forced to take on a complete system overhaul. Infrastructure Overhaul For HD Video To make the switch, customers would need to change everything, from cameras to hardware to wiring– not to mention the lengthy installation process that would ensue. IP cameras also require higher Internet speeds and more cloud space. Whether constrained by budget, bandwidth or storage, many end users have been unable to adopt this new video surveillance method.Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike. By utilising the current Coaxial cables, this offering yields high definition video, while requiring minimal infrastructure changes and is an optimal surveillance choice for security customers. Plus, with new advancements and updates being made frequently to this technology, there is a solution for every security need. The enhanced alternative of HD over Coax has been warmly welcomed in the security industry, thanks to its simple solutions and ever-evolving features. Many new analog HD cameras are “plug and play,” able to connect directly to existing Coaxial cables. This eliminates the need for a complete system change, creating cost-savings for the end user and an enhanced video quality offering. Easy Solutions For HD Video As a result, integrators can cost-effectively upgrade their customer’s surveillance solution while using their legacy infrastructure, making it an attractive option for end users and an easy sell for dealers. Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems, where even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response HD over Coax cameras themselves are always expanding and evolving to meet a wide array of security needs. With the introduction of fisheye and multi-sensor cameras, users now have a multitude of coverage options, not to mention the introduction of 4K bringing resolution options to the same level as IP. Some newer technologies are even touting 4K cameras paired with 4K digital video recorders (DVRs) made specifically for analog systems. Longer cables grant transmission for up to 1600 feet, double the distance of standard analog solutions, and triple that of IP systems. This single cable is able to transmit both HD video and audio. Recently, broadcast quality audio over Coax has become available in limited models, a substantial improvement over older analog technology, which was unable to transmit audio. Stopping Video Delay Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems. Even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response. IP cameras are forced to compress and packetize their video for transmission. The outcome of this is a reduced number of images per video, which in turn causes delay. HD over Coax on the other hand, delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity. Additionally, the point-to-point transmission delivers uncompressed video free of lag. Another touted benefit is that, unlike IP networked cameras, analog systems provide a more secure video transmission. With so much sensitive information housed on a businesses’ network, adding another point of network access through an IP camera can create concerns for cyber security risks. HD over Coax delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity Preventing Network Hacking With HD over Coax, the physical connections between the camera and DVR prevent network hacking. By keeping the video surveillance system offline, security professionals are able to direct their attention to the physical threats at hand, rather than having to focus on deterring cyber security risks. One of the primary difficulties of deploying HD video solutions is the fact that many older systems utilize a wide variety of HD standards and platforms. To make matters more complicated, after HD over Coax was brought to market, manufacturers raced to create their own version of this technology. Today, the most popular proprietary standards are HD-CVI, HD-TVI and AHD. However, integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible.Integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible Diversifying Surveillance Through One DVR To combat these issues, manufacturers have introduced products with more flexibility to their portfolios. One example of this is the penta-brid DVR which grants the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple technologies deployed across one application. This means that systems with diverse camera brands and technologies, such as a mix of HD-CVI, HD-TVI, AHD, analog or IP, can be connected through one DVR. For many end users with legacy analog systems, penta-brid DVRs give them greater freedom to choose between a variety of solutions, rather than being limited to one option. With video resolution increasing, the space needed to store the footage is similarly rising. Penta-brid technology has been able to adapt to these evolving needs, giving users ample storage space to house the HD and 4K surveillance video with some of the newest models including H.265 compression.  HD Casino Surveillance Made Simple For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorized personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff While HD over Coax is beneficial to many end users and integrators, those in the casino and hospitality markets find it crucial. With a combination of high profile guests, large amounts of cash on hand, constant crowds and strict industry regulations, reliable video surveillance is a must. Deploying new IP systems comes at a stiff price. When looking to upgrade their video surveillance, casinos must also be mindful of the installation process. When moving to an IP-based system, ripping out old wires and replacing them with new is the standard practice. This practice can be both disruptive and costly, not to mention gaming regulations require casino activities be monitored at all times so a complete system shutdown would result in revenue loss. This cost can be hard to justify, especially when the current legacy analog system remains in working condition with only the lower image resolution to date it. For these scenarios, the most cost-effective option is to leverage the legacy infrastructure, replace the existing cameras with new devices, and reap the benefits that HD video has to offer without any lapse in security. For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorized personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff. HD over Coax cameras now offer the same resolution as IP cameras with a plug and play approach, that cuts down on expense without sacrificing quality. For businesses and applications that are unable to adopt IP technology, whether it be cost or time prohibitive, HD over Coax now features most of the same benefits IP has to offer without breaking the bank. By providing clear images in real time, maximizing existing infrastructure, and affording cyber security benefits, HD over Coax provides an attractive solution for many end users and integrators.

How Atlanta’s New Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sets The Standard For Protection Against Vehicle Attacks
How Atlanta’s New Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sets The Standard For Protection Against Vehicle Attacks

Atlanta’s new $1.5 billion stadium, home to the NFL Atlanta Falcons football team and MLS Atlanta United soccer club and site of the recent NCAA national college football championship, is protecting fans, personnel and athletes from terrorists and errant drivers from using vehicles as weapons. While the threat of terrorists planning to attack soft targets, such as stadiums increases, stadium security professionals, such as those at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, must look for the weak points throughout their facilities to determine where fanatics are most likely assailing. Taking their cue from hard target attacks, they and other stadium management understand that the use of vehicles, either to carry the people that will carry out the attack or act as the bomb itself, is a very real threat. New System, Safer Pedestrians Installed by Tusco, using Delta Scientific perimeter protection products, the new access system includes four DSC501 barriers, five DSC720 bollards, 39 DSC2000 barriers and 59 DSC680 fixed bollards. “We are very experienced with installing Delta equipment,” relates Brent Martina, President of Tusco. “Mercedes-Benz Stadium was very particular about their security needs and protocols and requested a customized sequence of operations for their security equipment. While the threat of terrorists planning to attack soft targets increases, stadium security professionals must look for the weak points throughout their facilities “Delta Scientific’s products and experienced engineers made them the obvious choice in meeting both the high quality and technical standards required to integrate with the stadium’s sophisticated security system. It was crucial to have a reliable team in place as we received a very compressed schedule to get everything complete by the first football game and, therefore, had no room for errors.” Because of long, straight approaches to some access points, stadiums oftentimes need to deploy high performance barriers. DSC501 barriers were used at main entrances where players and VIPs, among others, enter with their cars. Preventing Attacks Before They Happen The DSC501 is the only K54-certified retractable vehicle barricade in the world. Set in a foundation only 18 inches deep, it will survive and operate after a 5.4-million-foot pound impact. That’s equivalent to a 65,000-pound truck hitting it at 50 mph. Stopping the truck or car dead in its tracks, the DSC501 protects against a “second hit” risk from a second vehicle. The stadium preferred installing these barricades in a more industrial look, wanting them to be “seen.” Five retractable DSC720 bollards were used at the pedestrian entry areas. This is Delta’s highest crash rated bollard, stopping a 15,000-pound vehicle at 50 mph. The bollard will stop and destroy much larger vehicles than those tested at very high velocities. The DSC720 is 35 inches tall and 15 inches wide. At Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the bollards feature brushed stainless-steel sleeves. Oftentimes, the ground below the access points are filled with cables, wires, pipes and other infrastructure products. As a result, typical, below ground installed traffic bollards, barriers and barricades cannot be used because these infrastructure products are too close to the surface. The solution is to use surface-mounted and shallow foundation barricades and barriers. This isn’t the only stadium using Delta equipment to protect staff and attendees from vehicle harm - Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco is a well-known user Delivery Entrances Are Weaknesses At the same time, for some reason, delivery entrances never seem to be as secured as the main entrances to the stadium. With delivery vehicles coming and going, delivery entrances need a solution that lets delivery vehicles enter and exit but stop unauthorized vehicles from entering at all. At the loading docks, 39 of Delta’s fastest, smallest and shallowest foundation barricades were implemented. Chosen especially for high speed applications and ease of installation, the cost effective DSC2000 barrier is K12 crash-certified with no penetration, meaning it will stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 50 mph dead in its tracks. The ten-inch shallow foundation also reduces installation complexity, time, materials and corresponding costs. Lastly, 50 DSC680 shallow foundation fixed bollards with stainless steel sleeves protect pedestrian areas. They secure any unprotected locations where vehicle bombers and errant drivers have no obstacles. Versus cement barriers such as posts and pots, many organisations prefer fixed-post bollards for several reasons. Terrorists typically don't go where they see barricades, so placing them wherever possible attacks can happen reduces security risks dramatically That’s because, when hit, cement posts and pots can explode, literally spreading shrapnel throughout the crowd, potentially creating numerous injuries. Shallow foundation bollards can be installed within sidewalks or on top of concrete deck truss bridges as well as conform to the inclines and turns of a locale. They also meet the 1-meter clearance regulations mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fixed bollard, which does not go up and down, provides a significant blocking device solution that continues to challenge security directors faced with threats such as stopping a vehicle from ploughing into the stadium’s inner perimeter. They let a facility manager meet a long-standing challenge - how to easily install bollards on shallow substrates, including those that are not level or have turns. No longer do locations, such as curves on hills, the upper levels of parking structures and other unprotected locales have to rely on unsightly ‘make-do’ solutions to stop car bombers or wayward drivers. One Of The World's Most Secure “Delayed by roof issues, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium challenged us with a condensed schedule to provide one of the world’s most secure vehicle access systems,” avows Martina. “I’m proud to say that our team completed the work on time and walked away from the project with another pleased client.” This isn’t the only stadium using Delta equipment to protect staff and attendees from vehicle harm. Among many, Penn State and Purdue as well as Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco (49ers) are well-known users. Unfortunately, most procurement offices won't allow vendors to announce their purchases. This is too bad since terrorists typically won't go where they know barricades are deployed, reducing security risks dramatically. Leading universities, including six of the Associated Press (AP) top-10 rated 2018 pre-season football schools, also stayed one step ahead of terrorists and errant drivers this year on their campuses by identifying vulnerable areas and securing them within minutes with Delta MP5000 temporary, portable barriers. These mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers carry a K8 rating (M40 ASTM rating), stopping 7.5-ton vehicles traveling 40 mph. Terrorists typically don't go where they see barricades, so placing them wherever possible attacks can happen reduces security risks dramatically. Today, there is little excuse for a major stadium to suffer an attack which uses a vehicle to break through the perimeter. Whatever the weakness a terrorist thinks can be exploited, there is a type of bollard, barricade or barrier to stop him, yet let authorized people through.

Latest Dedicated Micros news

ContinentalAccess To Showcase New CA3000 Version 2.9 Software At ISC West 2014
ContinentalAccess To Showcase New CA3000 Version 2.9 Software At ISC West 2014

The new CA3000 software provides robust access control functionality and seamless integration with alarms ContinentalAccess, a division of Napco Security Technologies, Inc., has recently released new CA3000 version 2.9 software, that not only provides robust access control functionality and seamless integration with alarms, locking and a growing list of video systems, but offers a host of many new sought-after features including; the ability to run the CardAccess 3000 and associated applications as Windows services and the ability to control access to the CardAccess GUI using Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Support for the Continental’s new and robust Super-Speed 16 door Accelaterm controller is also available. Plus, more video integration partners have been added to their growing list, now including Pelco, HiTron, Milestone, Dedicated Micros, as well as Salient & Integral. New CA3000 v2.9 also includes many enhancements to the existing features, providing the front-end of Napco Fusion; it is the complete seamless interoperable solution for Gemini intrusion & fire systems, access control, video and wireless locks. The CardAccess 3000 version 2.9 software also provides additional support for sister division, Alarm Lock’s Trilogy Networx locks, now in both cylindrical and mortise models, with the utilization of a Door position contact and Request to Exit (RTE) button feature. Continental offers training classes across the country and free online webinars, as well as retrofit rebate programs and cost-saving software upgrade plans. See us at ISC West Booth #12043, Las Vegas, NV, April 2- 4.

Keyscan Appoints Mark Playdon As Southeast US Regional Sales Manager
Keyscan Appoints Mark Playdon As Southeast US Regional Sales Manager

Mark has over 20 years of experience in the both security and broadcast arenas Keyscan Access Control Systems is pleased to announce Mark Playdon has joined Keyscan as Regional Sales Manager, Southeast US covering North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. “It is a pleasure to welcome Mark to his new role with Keyscan,” said Steve Dentinger, Keyscan’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “Mark brings a wealth of security and technology experience to our organisation. I am confident he will continue to support Keyscan’s efforts and drive continued growth for the Keyscan brand throughout the Southeast region of the United States.” Mark joins Keyscan with more than 20 years’ experience working with technology based manufacturers in both the Security and Broadcast arenas. Most recently mark has worked with both JVC Profession Security Division and Dedicated Micros. Heading up their Eastern Regional Sales Divisions Mark was successful in developing sales growth through the development and management of effective sales channels. Prior to working in the Security industry Mark spent 15 years in broadcast equipment sales working for top companies including JVC, Vinten and Fast Forward Video, all manufacturer of high end broadcast equipment. Mark grew through the ranks beginning his career as a Broadcast Systems Installation engineer before moving to Design and then Sales. As Global Sales Director at Fast Forward Video Mark was instrumental in the continued and solid sales growth of the company’s product in new territories and countries though out the world. Mark also served in the British Royal Air Force studying engineering before beginning his career in the broadcast and security industries.

IPX360 Solutions New North American Market Agent For CheckMyCCTV Software Application
IPX360 Solutions New North American Market Agent For CheckMyCCTV Software Application

With this move, CheckMySystems aims to bring the software to an international audience CheckMySystems - the CCTV health and operation monitoring software specialist - has signed-up electronic security product provider IPX360 Solutions to act as its agent for 'CheckMyCCTV' in the North American market. This is a major step forward in CheckMySystems' desire to bring the software to an international audience following its successful UK launch. The CheckMyCCTV application, to be offered by IPX360 Solutions across the US and Canada, is designed to automatically identify and report specific video surveillance system faults as soon as they are detected. Typical issues that can be flagged-up by CheckMyCCTV include: camera failures, hard disk failures, recording issues, time accuracy problems, and network connection failures. Early detection helps to ensure that problems are resolved before they can impact, negatively, on system performance. Following the landmark deal announced recently, IPX360 Solutions is planning to preview CheckMyCCTV's advanced capabilities in a series of one-to-one meetings with security distributors and monitoring station representatives at the Security Canada Expo taking place in Toronto, Canada. The 'soft launch' of CheckMyCCTV is to be followed by the 'official' North American unveiling of the video surveillance health check software on IPX360 Solution's booth (219) during the SecureTech event (Ottawa - October 30, 31). Moving ahead, IPX360 Solutions sees tremendous potential in targeting CheckMyCCTV at American and Canadian security distributors and owners of large-scale and multiple sites. Central stations are another focus, where interest has already been expressed in CheckMyCCTV by providers, given its ability to enhance the efficiency of their operations and, crucially, the system status information that can be provided to customers. "We are very excited to be working with IPX360 Solutions Inc. in our efforts to bring CheckMyCCTV to new customers in North America.." Regis Glorieux, President of IPX360 Solutions, explains what attracted him to the CheckMyCCTV solution: "In my view there is a real need for a new approach to checking on video surveillance systems in the US and Canada. When working with, and for distributors, I regularly came across recorders that were simply not working and may have been out of action for weeks or even longer. I am certainly not alone in this. "Often the first time the customer realised anything was amiss was when there was an incident and they couldn't retrieve the video. With CheckMyCCTV in place these problems are picked-up automatically, and highlighted by an on-screen warning at a monitoring station or even via a smart phone 'app', so no one needs to be left in the dark. "Another factor which is very appealing, and differentiates CheckMyCCTV from less capable solutions, is the ability of the software to work with multiple video surveillance system brands. Traditionally, such solutions have tended to be very much manufacturer specific. This isn't very practical for customers who want to avoid the headache of trying to run four or five pieces of software simultaneously. Now with CheckMyCCTV they can access a single, convenient interface for all important status checking." Commented Darren Rewston, Founder and Managing Director of CheckMySystems Ltd: "We are very excited to be working with IPX360 Solutions Inc. in our efforts to bring CheckMyCCTV to new customers in North America. The experience we have had to date in the UK, working with monitoring stations, large retailers and other users, shows that CheckMyCCTV can make a positive difference to fault finding and how the maintenance of video surveillance systems is managed. We expect that customers in the US and Canada will soon appreciate these practical benefits for themselves. "At CheckMySystems we realize that there can be no room for complacency where the well being of video surveillance systems are concerned. The need to implement effective checks was underlined in a snapshot survey we conducted of 300 sites across the UK. Before CheckMyCCTV was implemented a worrying 75% of sites had one or more issues affecting the operational performance of the CCTV system, ranging from daylight saving time not being updated, to camera failures, recording problems, and hard disk issues." CheckMyCCTV is currently compatible with over 25 video surveillance system brands and OEMs, including: Samsung, Costar, HikVision, American Dynamics, Dedicated Micros, Xtralis, and Dahua, with more being added to this list all the time.