Cell C is South Africa’s third mobile network after Vodacom and MTN.
Launched in 2001, it currently has 18 million subscribers. Cell C is owned by 3C Telecommunications, which is 60% owned by Oger Telecom South Africa, a division of Saudi Oger; 25% owned in an unencumbered holding by
CellSAf, (a broad-based black economic empowerment entity representing over 30 black empowerment companies and trusts), and 15% by Lanun Securities SA (Lanun is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Oger Ltd).
When Cell C embarked on its centralisation project, the biggest challenge it faced was security.
This was as a result of the increasing number of customers and potential customers visiting the facility and the associated risk, the need to provide strict security for the company’s warehousing facility and call centres, as well as a need for the protection of human capital.
According to Reinhardt Kleinhans, Head of Security at Cell C, the company was considering an IP surveillance system that was integrated with access control, as well as smart analytics. In keeping costs in mind, they required
an intelligent system that would only require human intervention when something happened. This means that intelligent analytics would detect an issue, warning the security team to intervene.
Reducing the security risks at the Cell C facility
Cell C launched a project under ex-CEO Allan Knott-Craig to centralise its operations and provide an innovative facility available to the public. This meant that its corporate, warehousing and data facilities would be housed under one roof and that its Buccleuch campus would become a landmark site and destination point for all Cell C clients and staff. The security risk associated with open access to the facility was a key challenge – one which was expertly addressed by Itec Digital Solutions.
The solution: Integrated security
The Itec Digital Solutions team recommended CCTV, access control, licence plate recognition and analytics as the best solution for Cell C.
“Our point of departure was to assure the stability of the system and ensure it would serve Cell C over the next five to seven years,” said Richard O’Connor, Managing Director of Itec Digital Solutions.”
Integration was also critical to the project, therefore Itec had to ensure that this was doable, along with the system being easy to use and scalable for future growth.
Due to the size of the project, a phased approach was used. The first phase of the project was completed in five months and was timed to follow the completion of the buildings. Vicon was selected as the solution of choice. As a US-based project, it has a proven track record and is used by the US military and others worldwide.
In addition to that it was very cost effective. One of the key factors in selecting the vendor was that it provides a three-year warranty, extended to five years, which underpins the reliability of the solution.
“We achieved our goals with Vicon’s management platform integrating into Agent VI (analytics), Saflec’s access control and licence plate recognition from Inex/Zamir,” added O’Connor.
“We also used multiple open platform IP cameras including devices from Axis and Vicon’s V Series.
“Integrating these systems with Cell C’s security division allowed us to develop a solution that effectively analysed the security situation in real time and enabled Cell C to manage security by event and not after the fact.”
The size of the project was the biggest obstacle. It required the installation of a combined camera count of 709 high-end IP cameras, 152 biometric points and 88 access control points, so it was difficult to coordinate and assure a timeous delivery of the solution. This was coupled with the challenge of having to wait for buildings to be
completed before the security solution could be installed.
The first phase of the project was, however, completed in five months. Installation was done by Itec Digital Solutions’ accredited technicians, with assistance of the manufacturers where required. The company has long-standing relationships with many manufacturers, making it possible to uphold its installation and service deliverables, while
ensuring the installations conform to best practice throughout.
With security systems of this nature it is critical that it is always operational, therefore redundancy was built into the overall plan. The installation of a secondary control room is underway.
Benefits: Consistent service
Kleinhans says he has been impressed with Itec Digital Solutions’ performance throughout the roll-out. Due to the size of the project, the goalposts were moved a few times to allow for delays in finishing building projects, on which the installation depended. The second phase of the project will see Cell C’s call centre being transferred
to the new campus – a massive undertaking which will require additional security to be put in place.
After considering roughly 20 potential suppliers, Cell C selected Itec Digital Solutions as its partner of choice.
Performance during roll-out due to size of the project, stability of the system, ease of use and scalability.
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