Blending technology with aesthetics

November 2009

The importance of blending state-of-the-art technology with aesthetics came to the fore when Elvey Security was asked to install an intrusion detection system in a new upmarket townhouse complex in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.
Jack Edery, CEO of Elvey Security Technologies explains the task set before Elvey.
The developer asked us to upgrade the existing security system in order to enhance the safety of residents and their property. Not only did he require the intrusion detection system to be highly effective, he also wanted it to blend in with the contemporary architecture of the development, which combines glass and aluminium with glossy tiles and water features.
Owing to the particular dynamics of the complex, which is essentially a corporate home-from-home for young professionals and overseas executives, residents typically spend little time at home. With their stylish and expensive furnishings, these empty homes are desirable targets for robbers.
The complex’s original security system comprised a control room, guards and a closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system. Feeling that this was not sufficient to safeguard residents and their property, however, the decision was taken to add an intrusion detection component to the system.
The solution had to meet a number of stringent requirements. Since most units have patios, gardens or balconies, the Elvey team realised that outdoor as well as indoor protection was required. Further, the system had to link all units to the complex’s control room, so that security personnel could be immediately dispatched in the event of an alarm trigger.
It also had to be user-friendly and able to notify owners of the security status of their properties at any time. Most residents use their cellphones and 3G cards for communication so the units invariably do not have fixed telephone lines. Alternative methods of communication between control room and owners therefore had to be found.
Something else to consider was the wide use of water and reflective material in the complex. This meant that the outdoor trigger had to be able to differentiate between real threats and reflections caused by sunlight. And finally, the developer wanted a stylish system that would be quick to install with minimal drilling and no dust.
The solution
Elvey supplied a product that was 30% quicker to install than other products on the market. It was simple and cost-effective since it does not require cabling and drilling is minimal. The alarm system is self-contained with all components built into the keypad, so the procedure took less than an hour to install eight zones in a unit, with only two drillings needed.
Elvey then incorporated a wireless alarm communicator into the system. This communicator operates as an SMS dialer able to deliver alarm signals in the form of SMSs via the GSM/GPRS network to up to eight pre-programmed numbers.
The complex’s perimeter protection requirements were met by installing a centrally wall-mounted, battery-operated intrusion detection system. Able to detect intruders before they break in, it is also able to discriminate between human beings and pets or birds, thus eliminating false alarms.
The result
The residents are delighted. Despite occupying the smallest footprint of any self-contained wireless alarm system available, it is equipped with the industry’s largest, full-message LCD display, so message reading is easy. They also like the wireless key fob which enables them to set their alarms to arm, disarm, stay or panic simply by pressing a button. Residents are also impressed with the non-obtrusive, sleek appearance of both the system keypad and boundary detector. And they love being able to arm and disarm their systems and even switch on and off their geysers via their cellphones.

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