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Smart route to digital CCTV

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Many organisations are upgrading to IP CCTV, but a complete and reliable system is out of reach for many due to budget constraints. This will however soon change, says ECKART ZOLLNER, Head of Business Development at the Jasco Group

There are a lot of analogue CCTV solutions out there – they account for over 60% of the current installed base – and they don’t work very well. Across industry sectors, organisations are slowly upgrading to IP solutions, especially in high risk and high value areas, but complete migration remains capital intensive and out of reach of budget-constrained organisations. That will not remain the case – within three to five years, largescale adoption of all-IP solutions is expected.

The increasing value that the advanced features of newer CCTV systems offer to the broader business is a big driver – but organisations will need to stop making short-term decisions if they want to access the long-term benefits of digital solutions.

From eyes to algorithms

We know that a pair of human eyes watching a bank of CCTV-fed screens in a control room will fail within a very short period to identify threats and anomalies – it’s not what humans are good at. And it’s a reactive strategy. Technology does a better job.

New IP and digital technologies can set virtual boundaries, use analytics to assess threats, and built-in intelligence that enables it to learn what behaviour is normal and what may constitute a breach. That same intelligence can be put to work within businesses to improve logistics, productivity and operations – for example, by alerting a retailer to add more cashiers when queues become too long.

These advances are making it hard for organisations to completely ignore new technologies.

While companies with high-level systems are making use of security platforms with integrated controls and incident management systems, companies with CCTV systems with workforce-based manual controls are augmenting their solutions with body-worn technologies as well as more advanced solutions at critical points. Integration of legacy and these newer systems is critical. So is establishing a closer relationship with external companies.

Integrating old and new

We see the requirement for the old to integrate the new where companies make use of physical security companies, such as ensuring that alerts and other inputs from their CCTV systems are integrated into the processes of these external companies, especially if these systems are capable of analysis. Alerts need to be acted on, not just logged, and this intelligence needs to be fed back into the overall system. If, for example, there is an incident every Tuesday night at 10pm, perhaps a pattern is forming – an advanced CCTV system may pick this up. Will the security company who may assign a different guard every week to the facility? The service provider may not even be aware that the incident constitutes a risk as they may not know what assets are at risk. The onus is thus on the company and the service provider to work together.

Own your data; upskill your workforce

As they upgrade to newer digital systems, the challenge for business is to ensure that the decisions they are making are not just for short term benefit. Data is going to be critical to future advances. If they are investing in digital systems, companies need to own the data and be able to access it – and it should be built into workforce and other processes, with alerts going to the right people who can act on it. That data should not belong to the service provider. Internet of Things (IoT) inputs will add value too, alerting organisation and service providers to performance issues, ensuring systems are more stable and reliable, and technology lifecycles are extended.

As companies continue to migrate to more advanced systems, they will also need to upskill supervisory functions and the security workforce – instead of watching a screen in a control room, security staff will be fulfilling higher function roles, analysing data and using outputs to enhance systems.

The long road

For companies with advanced systems, such as financial organisations, security will be a many-layered solution encompassing data centres, branches and ATMS. The value of these systems is that as they become more integrated and sophisticated deliver more predictive insights that enable proactive responses. This is where we are all headed in five short years.

There are smart ways to migrate, ensuring maximum value for the organisation. The challenge is to ensure that investments are also made with long term benefits in mind and to find ways to integrate the benefits of digital solutions with manual systems as the journey unfolds.

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VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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