Wearable tech to track SA security guards

2015-05-11 16:29 - Gareth van Zyl
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Local technology company Jasco is launching an internet connected jacket in the SA market. (Supplied)


Johannesburg - Local security guards could be watched more closely while on the job as internet connected jackets for the industry are being launched in South Africa.

South African technology company Jasco has been piloting an internet connected jacket which has an image or video surveillance device strapped with global positioning system (GPS) and mobile communication features.

The technology is expected to help security companies, for example, better monitor guards to ensure they stick to their schedules. Meanwhile, the tech can also help in emergency incidents with decision-making as software installed in control centres also tracks security guards’ movements and their image or video feeds.

To date, the technology has been tested by security guards in high value residential estates in Johannesburg while cash-in-transit guards have also been testing it out.

"It's really a combination of technology; it's the development of the full feature tech that provides benefit to guarding companies,” Eckart Zollner, Jasco’s business development manager, told Fin24.

"The components are quite small, low power,” he added.

Explaining the features of the device, Zollner said the GPS antenna is positioned in the jacket's shoulder pad, while the transmitter and battery sit in front pouches.

The jacket also has a panic button on the inside of the vest while a camera is mounted high up in a specialised pouch.The batteries for the jacket last for up to 24 hours and they can be swapped.

Jasco's technology is expected to track image and video feeds of SA security guards. (Jasco)

But while the technology can track the whereabouts of security staff during their shifts, it may struggle to take a bullet.

Zollner told Fin24 that the jacket can only be strapped over a bulletproof vest, exposing the technology.

"It's actually only a small fraction of the guarding population that wears bulletproof vests these days,” Zollner said.

“Most guards still don't wear bullet-proof apparel and they're not armed," he added.

Jasco plans to unveil the technology at the Securex conference in Midrand this week, and the company says it is among the first in South Africa to unveil the offering.

Prices for the jackets will vary depending upon orders as Zollner said some companies, for example, may request live image feeds rather than streaming video, which affects the costs.

The technology could cost around R1 500 for each security guard per month, Zollner explained.

On a global level, wearable tech is expected to grow as an industry in the next few years.

Consumer technology giant Apple has this year unveiled its Watch device, which hit over two million pre-orders last month.

In March this year, the International Data Corporation (IDC) also forecast that vendors will ship a total of 45.7 million smart wearable units - such as smartwatches and fitness bands - in 2015. This figure is up 133.4% from the 19.6 million units shipped in 2014.

The IDC further said that by 2019, total shipment volumes for wearable devices are forecast to top 126.1 million units.

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