Vumatel officially launched its Vumacam CCTV service in February 2019 with the aim of helping law enforcement and security firms to fight crime.
Vumacam is building a comprehensive video surveillance network by deploying hi-tech cameras across entire suburbs on a fibre network.
Its system architecture enables intelligent video analytics, which includes licence plate recognition and real-time detection of abnormal activities.
The cameras are all interconnected which offer security companies visibility across different suburbs.
A benefit to Vumacam’s clients, which are mainly security companies, is that camera operations, connectivity, feed streaming, and storage are bundled in a single monthly contract.
According to Vumacam, its network of pole-mounted street cameras has been very successful in helping law enforcement and security firms to fight crime.
Its License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras generate around 28,000 VOI (Vehicle of Interest) alerts every day.
23,500 of these alerts come from police VOI databases and 4,500 from private security databases.
Its AI-based behavioural analytics software called iSentry is also helping security firms and law enforcement agencies to assist citizens in distress or apprehend criminals.
An example of the effectiveness of the camera system is its recent installation in the Sandton CID, which went live during the first phase of lockdown.
While crime levels dropped dramatically after the initial lockdown with stringent curfews, there were still over 30 apprehensions in the first 10 weeks.
As lockdown levels eased, crime started to increase and there is now an average of three apprehensions per day as a result of camera intervention.
The “secret” Vumacam plan
Vumacam has been building its Johannesburg network for over 3 years and currently has 3,000 poles, 2,700 of which have cameras installed.
The company has recently added Ekurhuleni to its rollout footprint and is looking to expand its network to Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town.
What sets these camera poles apart from other poles like telephone poles is that they have electricity feeds and are connected to Vumatel’s fibre network.
This makes them suitable to serve as high-density mobile network sites to provide 5G and LTE coverage in the neighbourhoods where Vumacam has a presence.
It is, therefore, no surprise that Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH), which owns Vumatel and DFA, is planning to monetize this asset.
Speaking to investors this week, CIVH chairman Pieter Uys said the Vumacam towers can easily be used as facilities for a wireless mobile network.
Uys said this network can be used by either the current mobile players or CIVH can use it to launch its own open-access wireless network.
Here Uys may be referring to the government’s planned wireless open-access network (WOAN), which CIVH is keen to be involved in.
Vumatel and DFA specialise in open-access networks, and a wireless network built on the same principles, therefore, fits in perfectly with CIVH’s portfolio.
Unsurprisingly, CIVH supported the WOAN in submission to ICASA, saying it has the potential to transform the industry.
It called for assigning spectrum in the 700MHz, 2,600Mhz, and 3,500MHz bands to the network to ensure a sustainable structure.
So, while Vumacam’s network of camera poles currently focuses on security services, its future plans include mobile tower infrastructure and potentially a new wholesale mobile network.