Vsblty to provide biometric technology for ZA smart city projects as shape of future projects considered

Vsblty to provide biometric technology for ZA smart city projects as shape of future projects considered

Vsblty has announced a pair of security deployments as part of safe community initiatives in South Africa, including biometric facial identification, in partnership with Onyx-Cognivas Pty.

Vsblty Vector will be used along or in combination with different types of digital signage to identify “persons of interest” or individuals carrying weapons with intent to cause harm, though it does not describe how the latter will be judged. The DataCaptor platform will also be used to provide real-time qualitative crowd analytics with advanced optics and sensors, according to the announcement.

One deployment will be at a pair of residential high-rises described by the company as “prominent,” as part of a plan to roll it out across several apartment blocks, a hotel, and commercial properties in the high-income suburb of Sandton. The other is at a chain of gas stations and convenience stores around the country, and will detect people suspected of shoplifting and credit card fraud.

“We are excited to provide complete Smart City-like security solutions in Sandton,” comments VSBLTY CEO and Co-founder Jay Hutton. “This state-of-the-art technology uses the power of machine learning and computer vision. This is a 21st Century neighborhood watch program that is setting the standard for collaborative security where citizens, law enforcement and technology can work together to achieve a higher level of community safety. This cost-effective technology will significantly reduce crime and will be installed in over 200 office buildings, hotels and retail locations as well as in Sandton residential neighborhoods.”

The deployments will enable enhanced data collection for business intelligence purposes, in addition to security.

Australian councils urged to protect rights

Local councils around Australia are being urged by advocacy group Digital Rights Watch to join the Cities for Digital Rights declaration and resist what it says is increasing use of surveillance technology, data collection, and invasions of privacy, The Mandarin reports.

The report notes that many councils have been installing CCTV cameras to improve community safety, spurred on by federal grant programs that have been criticized by the auditor general multiple times. Many of the cameras have facial recognition capabilities.

Sydney has already signed onto the campaign, in June of this year.

“Technology is developing far more rapidly than we could have predicted just a few decades ago. Increases in computer power; access to more sophisticated surveillance systems; data-matching and linked databases; and a rise in the use of AI and automated systems have seen many governments expanding their ‘public safety’ programs and turning to the concept of developing ‘smart cities’,” Sulston said in a statement reported by The Mandarin.

“But it’s the wrong kind of smart. So-called ‘smart’ data-centric projects focus on the constant generation, collection and processing of data. As we place sensors and CCTV cameras all over our streets, buildings and public spaces, we are building a world in which we are constantly subject to surveillance. That comes with a cost to our right to privacy.”

White paper explores non-surveillance developments

Smart cities are getting smarter, according to a new report from ABI Research, but in ways that do not necessarily involve tracking individuals.

Holistic real-time modeling, or digital twins of entire cities, going beyond safe cities to resilient ones, increasing sustainability with “circular cities,” micro-mobility services such as bike or scooter-sharing, and the creation of smart spaces are the five strategy shifts in the field, according to the 12-page report.

The report recognized data privacy and security as a potential issue or challenge for smart city projects, and interestingly, while the section on resilience refers to airborne drones or unmanned robots to perform surveillance and rescue operations in dangerous environments, public-facing cameras and biometrics are not-specifically mentioned.

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