Johannesburg — the city of gold. Known for fast money, its eight million trees, heavy traffic … and rampant crime. The city needed a radical solution to improve its ability to fight back. Vumacam, through its network of smart security cameras placed throughout Johannesburg’s suburbs, has taken up this challenge.
But to deliver on something that would work in a city with the challenges Johannesburg faces, Vumacam needed an IT solution designed for the future of the country, not its past.
To deliver on its vision of deploying 15 000 cameras across Johannesburg, Vumacam required a platform that would scale rapidly, deliver complex and real-time analytics and security, and unprecedented uptime.
Enter Highpeak Technology Services, a local applications and managed services provider, which built a custom, cloud-based platform to analyse hundreds of millions of data points and apply intelligent analytics to create actionable information to help Vumacam fight crime.
“From the very first meeting, we immediately bought into Vumacam’s vision. Apart from the obvious appeal of safer neighbourhoods for all, the IT, data and asset management challenges involved with bringing their vision to life appealed to us,” says Gavin Hill, MD of Highpeak.
With over 80 million real-time licence plate scans per month, a stable and secure connection into the police force’s stolen vehicle database, and hundreds of millions of data points that needed to be collected, analysed and interpreted in real time to enable proactive crime prevention, it was no simple task.
“It was clear that cloud-based services based on Microsoft Azure, big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of things would be cornerstones of this industry-disrupting solution. After extensive consultation with the Vumacam team to build the most suitable architecture, technologies and management approaches, our next step was to help it get up, and stay up, and running quickly.”
Highpeak enjoyed the support of Tarsus On Demand — a gold-level Microsoft CSP — to roll out a solution that includes advanced features such the Azure Cosmos DB NoSQL database, the Azure IoT hub, Azure Functions and Azure Logic App.
“Tarsus On Demand provided backup and support when the project encountered roadblocks in deploying cutting-edge Azure features. Another project benefit was realised through using their simple and intuitive management dashboard for provisioning, management and billing of Azure services.”
Azure was used to build a “pay-as-you-grow” solution that allows Vumacam to pay only for the computing resources it needs today and then scale up as it adds more suburbs and cameras to the network. Dynamic resource allocation between peak and quiet times also allows for an efficient billing model.
Furthermore, the Azure solution offers world-class resilience and security. Hosted in Microsoft’s South African data centre, the platform is built to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act.
Highpeak’s efforts have allowed Vumacam to focus on security services and community protection, instead of camera infrastructure maintenance and operations. Not only does it scan and cross-reference licence plates against various criminal databases, but machine-learning algorithms can even predict where a suspicious vehicle picked up by multiple cameras might be going. The network is self-monitoring, able to tell immediately if a camera is down or tampered with.
“As our Azure provider, Tarsus On Demand played an invaluable role in facilitating our interactions with Microsoft, and helping us to get the platform and services to Vumacam rapidly, securely and cost effectively.”
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