South Africa faces big licence plate recognition battle

Bradley Prior

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South Africa faces big licence plate recognition battle

A technological and legal war has erupted between two companies over the control of Visec Cloud, a service used by security cameras for license plate recognition in South Africa.

Visec’s license plate recognition (LPR) service is used all over South Africa. Its clients include residential communities and the conservation industry. Game reserves and game farms use LPR as an additional line of defence against poachers.
 

Thor

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I've been following this, this is a big fckup.

We need more LPR players and shared data.
 

Jan

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Yeah this goes even deeper than these first 3000 words allowed me to go.

This is just the facts of the case, and the perspective of the companies involved. As a result of this mess, clients have been severely impacted.
 

The_Librarian

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TL;DR

What stops a 3rd party from spinning up its own LPR cloud?

There's lots of excellent ANPR devices out there, all you need is a DB to dump the data in, and a frontend for accessing it, and data distribution (all in a nutshell), but it is a complex system.
 

Jan

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What stops a 3rd party from spinning up its own LPR cloud?
You've kind of covered it:

all you need is a DB to dump the data in, and a frontend for accessing it, and data distribution (all in a nutshell), but it is a complex system.
That's many millions of development capital. And then you have to convince people to use yours instead of someone else's.

There's also an argument to be made for sharing data between LPR/ANPR users rather than balkanising the client base... but that's another story.
 

elvis_presley

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Whatever happens, sounds like the company is grossly mismanaged and customers should jump ship ASAP. Lucky it's relatively easy to move between providers, even if it does require a physical visit to each camera to change the settings.

With the notices saying all agreements were cancelled, I take it now Philex is allowed to go sell a list of clients to a 3rd party?
 

Jan

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Whatever happens, sounds like the company is grossly mismanaged and customers should jump ship ASAP. Lucky it's relatively easy to move between providers, even if it does require a physical visit to each camera to change the settings.

With the notices saying all agreements were cancelled, I take it now Philex is allowed to go sell a list of clients to a 3rd party?
No... I was worried that I didn't make this clear enough.

Based on the facts in front of me, Visec Sub Sahara are the good guys (or as good as you get in business), and they are trying their damnedest to recover from a bad situation. I guess it's up to clients to decide whether to jump ship, but my understanding is that many of the other companies and third-party service providers out there are ripping people off. (Still investigating this.)

The notices saying all agreements are cancelled are bunk, which I hope the article makes clear.

Scagell confirmed that the grounds for terminating the agreement insofar as his R25 payment for Philex's 25% stake in the company is nonsense.

Philex also never provided proof that it actually ever invoiced Visec Sub Sahara. It just went straight for a questionable legal notice through a local lawyer, and then claimed that VSS was in breach.

Bordbar alleges that Philex *did* in fact sell the Visec rights to Global Technology Asset Partners, but as the article shows, that is a shady Wyoming operation only incorporated *after* the Visec Cloud was taken offline by VSS.

There is also evidence to suggest that someone is communicating with stakeholders and media through a shill claiming to be "Bob Lambert".

So no, from where I'm sitting Philex can't just cancel a legally binding agreement because it feels like it.

This strikes me as a hustle from someone trying to sell the company to two different buyers. First to VSS, to the tune of R5m+, and when the money ran dry, now they're trying to sell it again.

And whoever falls for Philex/Global Tech Asset Partners stories the second time will find themselves in exactly the same position as VSS today, except worse, because VSS has a legal claim that should first be tested before anyone else tries to buy the rights to Visec in South Africa.
 

elvis_presley

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Based on the facts in front of me, Visec Sub Sahara are the good guys (or as good as you get in business), and they are trying their damnedest to recover from a bad situation. I guess it's up to clients to decide whether to jump ship, but my understanding is that many of the other companies and third-party service providers out there are ripping people off. (Still investigating this.)
It really doesn't sound like there are any good players in this. I wouldn't want to do business with any of these people or companies after reading about their dirty laundry.
 
Last edited:

Mangoman20

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Th
TL;DR

What stops a 3rd party from spinning up its own LPR cloud?

There's lots of excellent ANPR devices out there, all you need is a DB to dump the data in, and a frontend for accessing it, and data distribution (all in a nutshell), but it is a complex system.
There are a few other db's around. And it's growing steadily. The issues are legitimacy, popi and ownership of data
 

Mangoman20

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G
I've been following this, this is a big fckup.

We need more LPR players and shared data.
Getting there, problem is there are too many PI's and people starting to gather data from their cpf or neighborhoods and not qualify the data.

There are also two other companies offering legitimate, real-time access to various databases
 

Jan

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It really doesn't sound like there are any good players in this. I wouldn't want to do business with any of these people or companies after reading about their dirty laundry.
That's a common reaction when people see two parties fighting in public, I think. I've seen it happen on a smaller scale on forums and people don't even make a big noise about being unimpressed by it — they just quietly leave.

I guess what convinced me that Visec Sub Sahara was in the right, was when I investigated Bordbar's claims and realised nearly everything he said was false.

Berry and Muller were also willing to meet with me for an interview and played open cards. They answered every question I asked directly and were willing to go into intimate details of their business — warts and all — to answer me and respond to the allegations against them.

That said, and perhaps I'm reading too much between the lines, would you be happy to use their tech (Visec) through a third-party so long as you don't deal with them directly? Because there's a lot of that going around, I'm told.
 

GGG

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One of the major issues is that Visec sub Sahara are allowing security companies to lock off their cameras and not allow any information to be shared with anyone else, even SAPS.
Visec donated the database to be used for SA law enforcement and benefit for all
 

garp

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Not really. It’s one thing to kludge some code together to prove a concept on your laptop, but an entirely different matter to turn it into a scaleable and networked enterprise grade platform. Maybe this wouldn’t cost $86m, granted, but actual implementation is not quite as trivial as this guy makes it seem.
 
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