GIT, SecuSystems use video compression technology to cut illegal mining incidents in Ghana, Tanzania

In Ghana and Tanzania, incidents of illegal mining have been cut by more than 50% for one pan-African mining company. The use of Thermal Imaging cameras in security vehicles and at high sites, along with the capability to record and view each incident live – from ground zero or control rooms in Johannesburg, South Africa – has revolutionised handling of these incidents.

Says Charles Harrison, technical business consultant at SecuExport and SecuSystems, a provider of turnkey security solutions for the mining sector: “Managing illegal mining is a major challenge at mines. It is not just about the theft of valuable ore, illegal mining presents a safety hazard, especially around large opencast pits. Without the right equipment and safeguards, any mistake could be fatal, halting production but also potentially putting employed mine workers at risk. The use of SerVision MVG400 mobile Digital Video Recording (DVR) and streaming solutions in mine security vehicles has swung the balance in our favour, however.”

The MVG400 mobile recorders, acquired form Graphic Image Technologies (GIT), the regional representatives of the SerVision range, enable streaming of live footage from four cameras mounted in and around the vehicle over cellular (3G) or wireless connections using compression technology. This enables transmission of video at four frames per second (4fps) at data rates as low as8 Kilobits per second (Kbps). What this means is that security personnel are no longer fumbling in the dark.

Says Harrison: “Typically, security personnel would receive an alert from an onsite control room who may have spotted an intruder via thermal cameras mounted at high sites that have a 9km range with Flir Thermal CZ602 Cameras. Security personnel would then go out to conduct a general area search, often in pitch dark, facing the risk of ambush. Now, because of the low bandwidth requirement to view footage, they can use a screen mounted in the vehicle, their cell phones or other handheld devices to identify intruders from inside the security vehicles via the cameras (including Thermal cameras) mounted in and on the vehicle. The benefits are immense: intruder capture rate has improved and the risk for security personnel is lower. In addition, because all footage is recorded, the client can ensure that the entire incident – from capture to hand-over of the intruder – is handled strictly according to security policy.”

Harrison says: “We now have 18 vehicles equipped with this technology in Ghana and Tanzania. It has helped cut illegal entry at these sites by over 50 percent. The first solutions were installed over 18 months ago as part of a holistic solution developed for the client. This is the first application of this technology in Africa for the mining industry. Given the success of this solution, the client is now considering installing thermal cameras along with the SerVision DVRs on automated vehicles used in the mine to enhance safety measures.”

Notes Laurence Smith of GIT: “The SerVision range of solutions truly changes the rules of the game by bridging the communications infrastructure hurdle that remote locations typically present. With its advanced compression technology it enables live video transmission over cellular and other low bandwidth networks, making remote surveillance possible from a central location anywhere in the world … even via a mobile device.”

How much compression? Smith puts it into perspective: “In real terms, a standard CCTV camera may record at anything from three to 30 frames per second, requiring up to 1 Megabytes per second (Mbps) to feed this video stream to a control room or other location. Compression of a video stream to 4fps at 8kbps means you can stream surveillance from 100 cameras over a 1 Megabyte (MB) link relatively easily. And with the SerVision technology it can be a cabled, wireless, cellular or satellite link … and there is no loss of quality. The footage from the cameras is stored on the server and can, on demand, be played back at higher resolutions for viewing onsite or remotely on a PC, smartphone, laptop or tablet PC.”

In addition to the SerVision MVG400 mobile DVR/streaming solutions, the mining client has opted for SerVision’s SVControlCenter and the SerVision Network Video Recorder (SNVR). The SVControlCenter is an enterprise-level management system for control centres that can monitor up to 5,000 SerVision Video Gateway units. Operators stationed in control rooms can use the system to view live and recorded video from multiple sites, locate and monitor fleets of commercial vehicles, and receive immediate notifications about circumstances that require their attention. The SNVR units make ideal management centres for SerVision systems. SVBackup, which is part of SNVR, is a configurable client application that automatically connects to SerVision video gateways  (in this case the MVG400 DVRs) through their IP addresses, downloads recorded video from them, and saves the video in files in the file system of the SVNVR unit.


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