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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

Cars

Auto rivals team up for connected car demo

Rivals BMW, Ford and Groupe PSA, maker of Peugeot and Opel cars, have teamed up with the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), Qualcomm Technologies and Savari for Europe’s first live demonstration of C-V2X direct communication technology operating across vehicles from multiple auto manufacturers.

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The live demonstration also featured a live showcase of C-V2X direct communication technology operating between passenger cars, motorcycles, and roadside infrastructure. C-V2X is a global solution for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication in support of improved automotive safety, automated driving and traffic efficiency.

The demonstration exhibited the road safety and traffic efficiency benefits of using C-V2X for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) collision avoidance, as well as Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connectivity to traffic signals and Traffic Management Centers (TMC). C-V2X was operated using real-time direct communications over ITS spectrum and demonstrated its ability to work without cellular network coverage, and underscores its commercial readiness for industry deployment as early as 2020. Superior performance and cost-effectiveness compared to other V2X technologies, along with forward-compatibility with 5G, make C-V2X direct communications a preferred solution for C-ITS applications.

Six demonstrations were shown including: Emergency Electronic Brake Light, Intersection Collision Warning, Across Traffic Turn Collision Risk Warning, Slow Vehicle Warning and Stationary Vehicle Warning, Signal Phase and Timing / Signal Violation Warning and Vulnerable Road User (pedestrian) Warning. The vehicles involved included two-wheel e-scooters provided by BMW Group, and automotive passenger vehicles provided by Ford, Groupe PSA, and BMW Group, all of which were equipped with C-V2X direct communication technology using the Qualcomm® 9150 C-V2X chipset solution.  V2X software stack and application software, along with roadside infrastructure, were provided by industry leader, Savari.

C-V2X is globally supported by a broad automotive ecosystem, which includes the fast growing 5GAA organization.  The 5GAA involves over 85 global members comprised of many leading automakers, Tier-1 suppliers, software developers, mobile operators, semiconductor companies, test equipment vendors, telecom suppliers, traffic signal suppliers and road operators.  

Cellular modems will be key to the C-V2X deployment in vehicles to support telematics, eCall, connected infotainment and delivering useful driving/traffic/parking information. As C-V2X direct communication functionality is integrated into the cellular modem, C-V2X solutions are expected to be more cost-efficient and economical over competing technologies, and benefit from accelerated attach rates.  C-V2X direct communication field validations are currently underway in Germany, France, Korea, China, Japan and the U.S.

C-V2X currently stands as the only V2X technology based on globally recognized 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications, with ongoing evolution designed to offer forward compatibility with 5G.  C-V2X also leverages and reuses the upper layer protocols defined by the automotive industry, including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) organization. C-V2X includes two complementary transmission modes: 

  • Direct communication as shown in this demonstration for V2V and V2I use cases
  • V2N network communication, which leverages mobile operators for connectivity and delivers cloud-based services, including automated crash notification (ACN, as mandated by eCall), hazard warnings, weather conditions, green light optimal speed advisory (GLOSA), parking spot location, and remote tele-operation to support automated driving, to name a few.

“This demonstration builds on the successful C-V2X showcase we organised with our members Audi, Ford and Qualcomm in Washington DC in April, said Christoph Voigt, Chairman of 5GAA.

“We are excited to witness the growing momentum behind this life-saving technology and to see our members working together to deploy C-V2X, and to make it hit the road as soon as possible.”  

“The BMW Group introduced the first C-ITS use cases already in 2013 with the market introduction of the BMW i3. Today most of envisaged C-ITS use-cases are already institutionalized. With the implementation of C-V2X, the BMW Group accomplishes the last set of the puzzle with a practical path to C-ITS showing quick benefits,” said Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics, BMW Group. 

“With its ability to safely and securely connect vehicles, along with its evolution into 5G, C-V2X is integral to Ford’s vision for future transportation in which all cars and infrastructure talk to each other,” said Thomas Lukaszewicz, Manager Automated Driving, Ford of Europe. “We are very encouraged by preliminary test results in Europe and elsewhere which support our belief that C-V2X direct communications has superior V2X communication capabilities.”

“We’re moving forward with seamless communication between cars and their environment for enhancing road safety, as well as our customers’ safety,” said Carla Gohin, Group PSA’s Vice President for Research and Advanced Engineering. “Following the first European C-V2X direct communications demonstration we hosted with Qualcomm Technologies last March, we’re pleased to work with leading automotive and technology companies today to highlight that C-V2X interoperability is a reality.” 

“This demonstration of interoperability between multiple automakers is not only another milestone achieved towards C-V2X deployment, but also further validates the commercial viability and global compatibility of C-V2X direct communications for connected vehicles,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president & president, Qualcomm Europe and MEA. “We look forward in continuing to work alongside leaders in the automotive industry, like the 5GAA, BMW Group, Ford, Groupe PSA and Savari, to help advance the automotive industry’s shift towards a safer, connected and more autonomous future.” 

“As one of the V2X pioneers, our company is extremely pleased to continue to help enable the next step in the V2X revolution that we helped start back in 2008,” said Ravi Puvvala, CEO of Savari. “For the last year and a half, the Savari team has worked diligently alongside the dedicated C-V2X engineers in the 5GAA partnership. The resulting string of increasingly impressive demonstrations is continuing to convince the world that C-V2X will soon be deployed around the world.”

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entires via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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