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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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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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