Police and public to share Auckland Wi-Fi

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – A wireless CCTV network designed to increase public safety has been launched in the suburb of Newmarket.

The network of 14 cameras, owned and operated by Advanced Security Group, is the result of a partnership between Advanced Security Group, Newmarket Police, telecommunications integrator Kordia, wireless provider RoamAD, monitoring personnel based at the police station and Newmarket Security, a privately owned security company that is providing a street patrol service.

The network can also be used to deliver Wi-Fi access for end-users, says RoamAD CEO Martyn Levy. The video traffic can be separated from public or corporate Wi-Fi traffic, and the network can offer multiple services for different user groups on the same set of infrastructure, he says.

Kordia will be looking at commercializing the Wi-Fi side of the network in the near future, says Kordia account manager Shane Garraty.

From a police perspective, the cameras are very helpful in identifying people and cars, says senior sergeant Wendy Spiller, who is in charge of Newmarket Police.

The cameras have two immediate benefits, she says. They provide the public with reassurance and they help police provide a better service to people, she says.

“We have already had some successes,” Spiller says. “The images are fantastic. The definition and clarity we are getting at a couple of hundred meters is outstanding,” she says.

If someone, for example, has their car broken into, they can come in to the police station and the police can look at the footage then and there, she says. The camera network also benefits retailers, who often don’t realize they have had a break-in until the next day, she says.

The cameras operate 24/7, but are not monitored around the clock. At night they are in automatic mode, unless the police have different requirements. Monitoring personnel can focus and zoom the cameras to any area from within the police station, while simultaneously collaborating with security patrols out on the streets.

Spiller can only see benefits coming from the camera network. But could the cameras just lead to displacement of crime? “Perhaps,” she says. “But we hope they will deter crime.”

RoamAD, the provider of the network, has recently seen an increase in demand for wireless video surveillance networks in New Zealand and Australia, says Levy. This is down to an acceptance of video as a way to reduce crime, he says.

The low latency and architecture of RoamAD’s wireless network allows for the transmission of high-resolution video from a large number of cameras, says Levy.

The network is based on the same technology the company has used for metro, campus, and high-way video networks in the U.S., he says.

According to Levy, the network promises return-on-investment from cost-savings from reduced crime — including policing costs, insurance premiums and repairs — as well as allowing service providers to sell Wi-Fi access to end-users or provide Wi-Fi to the public for free.

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