After days of riots and unrest, South Africa is beginning to return to normal, although we are not sure what this looks like yet. The turmoil that started on the 9 th of July came with little warning and escalated quickly with devastating consequences. Numerous businesses and livelihoods were destroyed, but most distressing has been the loss of lives, with reports estimating that over 330 people have died due to the unrest.
What we have seen is that we can rely on the resilience and strength of the South African people as communities have rallied together to clean up and assist wherever they could. It has taken a team effort to manage and bring order to the situation.
The pressure that law enforcement and the private security industry found themselves under was immense. Many businesses they serve had little to no warning that danger was imminent, leaving onsite security teams, staff, and customers vulnerable. The scale of unrest geographically put pressure on local resources, which highlighted the importance of accurate deployment. Response times are mission-critical, and technology is essential to accurately escalate, respond and deploy backup to the right place at the right time through real-time intelligence.
The positive feedback from Vumacam partners as to how the platform assisted them has been encouraging, not only because cameras provided situational awareness to their teams on the ground, but video intelligence helped to deploy backup teams strategically when needed. As the unrest escalated, so did the volume of alarms, and unfortunately, false alarms too. However, on sites with cameras feeding live video into a secure cloud environment, utilised visual verification to quickly dismiss false alarms that would otherwise distract from real emergencies.
As investigators have begun to unpack the last few weeks’ events, a lot of valuable footage was lost where onsite recording servers were damaged or destroyed. Sometimes footage wasn’t available because cameras were not in working order. That is why we constantly track and monitor camera uptime – alerting on cameras that are down. There is no question that events like this stress test all our failsafe systems.
While it may take a while before we realise the complete financial, logistical, and societal impact on our country, it has shown us that there are both gaps and solutions we can put in place now to safeguard our people and our premises. Businesses and industries are using this time to review security processes and strategies. Technology plays a big part in optimising security systems.
Vumacam is proud of our partners, who work every day to protect all of us, and we will continue to develop our robust and secure visual technology platform to assist responders with accurate real-time intelligence.
Photographer: Dan Ingham