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Keeping Century City Safe Since 2016

ATG Digital and Century City are celebrating five years of access and security control innovation. The relationship started with visitor registration digitisation in 2016 that quickly evolved into a collaborative partnership that birthed several custom-built solutions for the 250ha Smart City. 

Cape Town’s Century City is a sought after address among discerning home, and business owners, revered for offering all the 21st-century creature comforts one could want. Amenities include Canal Walk Shopping Centre, six hotels, top restaurants, and numerous recreational facilities safeguarded by sophisticated security technology. 

“Incorporating technology in safety and security is paramount for running Century City effectively,” says Marinus Boshoff, Safety and Security Manager of the Century City Property Owners’ Association (CCPOA). He adds, “ATG digital’s research and development has played a pivotal role in the success of our Security Operations Centre, or SOC.” 

Century City’s state-of-the-art SOC is the nerve centre where inbound data from a network of camera systems, vehicles, security personnel and software is monitored and analysed. This is no small feat for a city with over 4000 front doors that welcomes 21-million visitors a year. 

A Digital Transformation Initiative

Initially, the CCPOA—which prioritises technology as a driver for a safer city—identified ATG Digital’s hand-held driver’s licence scanners as the perfect replacement for pen-and-paper visitor registration books, which are susceptible to theft, loss and illegibility. 

The first device was installed at the precinct gate in August of 2016 to digitise visitor registration and aid with POPI compliance. It wasn’t long before the CCPOA noticed that the solution was also helping to alleviate congestion at the gate. So, more devices were employed as a security and traffic management tool for access into high traffic volume precinct entrances. 

Traffic has naturally increased over the years as the city has grown. Despite this, the CCPOA has successfully mitigated high volumes to date thanks to several advantages of the ATG Digital Solution. Namely: 

  • Faster, accurate processing at access points 
  • The ability to channel access groups 
  • Identification of incorrect control mechanisms. The system brought to light the fact that tenants without access tags were signing in as visitors. 
  • Empowering officers with professional tools, thus contributing to the precincts’ intrinsic value. 
  • Allowing for the redeployment of security personnel to high and low volumes areas based on ATG intelligence. 

ATG data provides real-time insight on where pre-lockdown levels of activity are resuming. Thus allowing the CCPOA to best manage and deploy their resources where needed. 

Evolving Benefits 

At the turn of 2017, the SOC was armed with digital, collated data from multiple devices. The value of the harvested data was quickly realised and used for crime threat analysis and investigations, focussing on organised crime.

Boshoff: “During a strategic review, we identified housebreaking threats (both residential and commercial) were on the increase due to vehicles entering with false number plates. ATG didn’t hesitate to start research and development on a solution to verify data in real-time. Together, we were able to do so by referencing the license plate number against the scanned vehicle data for a match.” 

With that, ATG’s IoT Smart Cam was borne. It forms an integral part of the Century City Smart Safety & Security solution. This level of integration with license plate recognition and incident management data was the first of its kind in South Africa at the time. 

Significantly Reducing Crime 

The ATG Smart Cam Solution acts as an early warning system and additional tracking mechanism for suspect vehicles. The system can also record pictures of cars. In some cases, it provides details of the driver and the number of suspects in the vehicle. Boshoff reports that these benefits have “significantly reduced crime by enabling the pro-activeness of the SOC team and improving their response time to threats.”

Business Integration 

Century City’s Smart City philosophy is to uphold international best practice across five key segments: 

  • Smart Urban Precinct Management, 
  • Smart Environmental Sustainability, 
  • Smart Community, 
  • Smart Connectivity and Communication, and 
  • Smart Safety and Security.

In support of this philosophy, it seemed natural to offer the same leading access control technology to commercial occupants within the city. After all, some 650 000 square meters of the city comprise commercial and retail entities. 

ATG Digital’s front desk safety and security solution, ATR, has been tailored to integrate with business information systems that are exclusively available to businesses within the precinct. At Reception enables electronic, self-service visitor sign-in from a tablet interface. The solution’s no-touch capabilities have proven wildly popular among companies that are adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. 

Summary

What started with a single scanning device to digitise visitor registration at Century City’s main gate has evolved into a comprehensive, fully integrated access control and security solution. This comprises public and private installations as follows:

Public Solutions:

  • Seven precinct entry and egress gates fitted with ATG scanners, ATG IoT Cams and ATG relay-controlled booms. 

Private Stakeholders:

  • Thirty-two access points protected via a mix of ATG scanners at business’ gates and the ATR Smart tablet reception solution. 

Looking ahead, ATG Digital spokesperson Ariel Flax hints that more innovations are on the way. He says, “We are committed to continual R&D to keep South Africa’s first enabled Smart City in pole position.” 

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