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CCTV can monitor transport

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Public transport is an important service to citizens in any country. But, before commuters start using and trusting, the system has to be reliable and secure, which is where CCTV monitoring plays its part, writes LAURENCE SMITH.

Public transport is a vital service in any country, as ensuring people can move around freely to and from work and school is essential in creating economic sustainability. However, the best public transport infrastructure in the world will never be fully leveraged if security is not of utmost priority and will become a wasted investment if the security of commuters cannot be guaranteed. CCTV camera solutions with remote monitoring capabilities offer a number of benefits in the public transport sector, from deterring crime to providing evidence in identifying perpetrators, as well as providing operational advantages. CCTV monitoring can assist the transport sector greatly to actively monitor public transport systems and ensure incidents such as theft and injury are minimised or prevented.

Buses and trains are an economical, cost effective method of mass transport, enabling many people to get to work, school and other areas on a daily basis. According to Statistics South Africa (March 2014), of 15.3 million workers surveyed, 3.7 million workers make use of taxis, 3 million make use of trains and 1 million get to work via a bus. This equates to approximately 7.7 million people relying on public transport to commute to their place of employment on a daily basis.

However, crime is an unfortunate reality on public transport, which can deter commuters from making use of this service. Theft is a common challenge on public transport around the world, as well as unruly passenger behaviour, violence and so on, and South Africa is no different in this regard. In addition, South Africa is subject to frequent public transport strikes. These strikes may turn violent, which can endanger the lives of passengers, cause accidents, increase liability and more. In order to ensure the wellbeing of citizens using public transport, and also to further drive the use of these services rather than private vehicles, it is imperative to ensure the safety and security of commuters.

On-board CCTV systems with remote monitoring capabilities offer an intelligent solution to improving security on public transport systems. In the case of transport strikes, where violence often ensues and vehicles are damaged, the culprits can be easily identified and action taken against them, even if acts are perpetrated on the road in remote areas. Remote monitoring enables incidents like theft and violence on board public transport to be identified immediately. This will allow for the correct emergency services to be contacted, so that the criminal can be apprehended before they leave the vehicle or train and medical assistance can be provided where necessary. Panic buttons can also be installed to alert security control rooms if the driver or any passengers are in danger, further enhancing security.

In addition to security, remote monitoring and CCTV offer a number of operational benefits. In the case of accidents, footage is recorded live at all times and can be reviewed on demand, meaning that evidence of who is at fault is readily available. This assists with insurance claims, reducing liability and so on. Vehicles can be monitored for driver behaviour, so that unsafe practices can be identified and driver training can be conducted where necessary. This also acts as a deterrent for unsafe practices such as drinking and driving, and can be used to monitor passenger flow, passenger payments and more. CCTV thus increases safety as well as efficiency.

Proactive monitoring is not a new technology, however, in the past its use was limited within the transport sector as large amounts of bandwidth were required to transmit footage. In South Africa, where much of the available mobile coverage is EDGE or less, this is not viable. Advances in technology have solved this challenge, enabling high-quality live video streaming using any available mobile data connection, from 3G right down to GPRS, which is available practically everywhere in South Africa. These solutions are able to stream at as little as 8 Kilobits per second (kbit/s), using a quarter of the bandwidth usually required to ensure streaming even in areas without 3G coverage and reducing data costs dramatically in the process.

Implementing CCTV with the ability to actively monitor situations in any bandwidth environment, with cameras placed on buses, trains and even taxis, can help to reduce crime as well as assist to apprehend perpetrators should an incident occur. Not only does this increased security provide peace of mind for commuters, which may help to boost user numbers on public transport networks, it also bolsters the reputation of the transport provider, irrespective of whether this is a public service or privately owned company.

* Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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