Network video surveillance provides business intelligence for mining

Today’s mining sector remains under constant threat. The ever present, and growing, number of illegal miners make efficient and effective security essential.
“This is as critical for open mine shafts as it is for inefficient or temporarily closed ones,” says Roy Alves, Country Manager at Axis Communications, South Africa. “So often, we assume a mine’s value lies in its precious minerals and metals underground.” Whilst this is true, with many mines who have deployed improved security solutions reporting a directly related increase in yield due to the reduction or even elimination of theft and waste, key to note is that a critical part of protecting South Africa’s mining industry also lies in the protection of its ‘above ground’ assets and infrastructure.
“In the case of non-efficient or ‘closed’ shafts, the temptation might be to reduce or, in some cases, even do away with any security investment or capex,” continues Alves. However, the very opposite is needed. “Sooner or later these shafts will reopen. If the ‘above ground’ infrastructure and equipment has not been securely protected, any type of operation moving forward would be severely impacted.”
The ever-decreasing cost of both technology and bandwidth though is allowing South Africa’s mining industry to take advantage of the very latest in network video intelligent surveillance in support of its need for heightened security measures. “The last few months has seen ‘better performance at lower prices’, making effective and efficient intelligent surveillance much more readily accessible,” says Alves.
The decreasing cost of bandwidth is also facilitating off site monitoring. “Cameras are becoming more efficient, now able to monitor remotely in lieu of needing an onsite presence particularly in the case of non-working mines,” says Alves. “With lower bandwidth costs, it is now possible to monitor remotely, pulling feed across to a central monitoring station.”
Another recent development has seen the introduction of thermal cameras, capable of establishing a temperature threshold of, for example, 40 degrees. These cameras, able to detect long distance, detect any heat exceeding the 40 degrees threshold prompting an alarm to be sent (via SMS or email notification) to a centralised control room. This provides added protection to mine sites, allowing for early detection of any potential fire hazard be it in the form of a bush fire or electrical short.
“Prevention is always better than cure,” stresses Alves. This holds true across multiple scenarios including that of early detection of potential intruders. Perimeter Defender, a scalable and flexible video analytics application for perimeter surveillance and protection, is easily installed on the camera itself. It allows for the deployment of analytics directly on the device, providing for a much more sophisticated result with accurate detection capabilities and simultaneous support for multiple scenarios, including intrusion and loitering.
“It’s about business intelligence,” continues Alves. “Mines, as far as possible, need to be notified before an event occurs, rather than two hours too late.” The introduction of tamper alarms has further contributed to this increased intelligence, with cameras now able to send a signal to alert of any changes. This can range from spray paint or a piece of metal being placed in front of the lens through to insects laying their eggs. Irrespective of the reason, it is essential that control rooms are notified allowing for the timeous dispatch of personnel.
With mines probably one of the most difficult environments in which to install video surveillance technology due to extreme heat, UV, radiation, humidity, dust and access to reliable power only a few of the critical factors needing to be considered, Alves goes on to share some additional features and benefits in network video technology relevant to today’s mining industry.

Explosion Protected Cameras
Explosion-protected cameras and accessories, encased in stainless steel housings, provide superior HDTV resolution image quality. They are typically suited to any hazardous area where flammable liquids, vapours, gasses or combustible dusts occur in sufficient quantities to cause a fire or explosion.

Increased Data Retention
It is commonplace for any investigation to request footage going back as far as six months, the cost of which can be staggering. Zipstream technology allows for the lowering of bandwidth and storage requirements by, on average, 50% without sacrificing resolution, frame rate or forensic details. Another important feature is the ability to record and back up directly onto its camera, removing the risk of lost footage because of the camera being switched off.

Electronic Image Stabilisation
The mounting of cameras on high surfaces, such as a pole, can bring certain challenges such as wind causing the camera to move, changing its field of focus. Electronic Image Stabilisation technology stabilises the image, keeps the intended reference point and provides a static image.

Operator vsersus Intelligent Technology
With more and more cameras being installed, it has become virtually impossible for anyone looking at multiple screens to monitor everything efficiently. Analytics — the ability for technology to monitor and analyse data, automatically notifies the relevant party of any change or cause for concern.

Light Finder Technology
Enabling more life-like colours in low-light conditions it allows for superior image quality with automatic adaption from sunlight to darkness, providing detail across both dark and bright areas simultaneously. This is essential particularly when it comes to forensic analysis which requires exact detail.

Wide Dynamic Range
Able to be used in conjunction with Light Finder Technology, Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) manages a wide range of different lighting conditions within a single scene. Whereas a standard camera would produce an image with objects in dark areas barely visible, WDR solves this by applying various techniques to enable objects in both bright and dark areas to stand out.

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About Us

Axis is a Swedish-based IT company offering network video solutions for professional installations. Founded in 1984 and operating worldwide with offices in more than 20 countries, Axis is an innovative global market leader in network video, driving the ongoing shift from analogue to digital video surveillance.  The products are used for security surveillance and remote monitoring, but also in installations in order to streamline customers’ business processes. Based on open IP standards, Axis network cameras connect to any kind of IP network, including the internet, providing advanced video analytics features, such as motion detection, audio detection and tampering alarm solutions.

Retail: the introduction of network video has revolutionised the way retail professionals work with loss prevention, store optimisation, fraud detection, security and customer service.

Education: students and teachers hampered by the threat of harassment or violence will be comforted by the presence of reliable network cameras in the school’s public spaces.

City Surveillance: Network video is one of the most useful tools for fighting crime and protecting citizens, acting both to detect and deter. In emergencies, network cameras can help police or fire-fighters pinpoint where their assistance is most needed.

Banking: solutions installed in local bank branches can transmit images to a central location for remote viewing us

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Roy Alves, Sales Director – Africa   

Sasha Bonheim, Marketing Manager

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