Eye in the sky security

A retractable 15m-high mast with security cameras mounted on it looms over the trees in lower Tokai.

Have you seen it? Looming above the treeline, this bright yellow, 15m-high mast is an eye-in-the-sky mobile surveillance unit.

The Apex Surveillance Pod is manufactured from high-tensile steel and shaped like a pyramid. To prevent vandalism, its wheels retract once the pod has been lowered into position and the solar panels are recessed and flush with the surface under its cover.

It has two high-definition pan-tilt, zoom infrared cameras, giving 360-degree laser imaging. The cameras are powered by three solar panels. The real-time images of what it sees can be sent to the controller monitoring the feeds and relayed to a hand-held device.

This prototype was designed during lockdown and is the result of a partnership between Premier Security founder and managing director Richard Frost and sister company Onguard Patrol Management.

The surveillance mast’s cameras are powered by three solar panels.

Onguard’s sales manager Jamie Bell said they had deployed the Apex Pod in Orpen Road, Lower Tokai, on Saturday February 20 during their monthly security patrols at Tokai Park with Parkscape, SANParks and the neighbourhood watch.

Ms Bell said the pod allowed for rapid response by security ground staff and neighbourhood watch responders.

The pod was being tested and moved around, Mr Frost said. The aim was to provide real-time security monitoring in remote locations, areas vulnerable to land invasions or crime hot spots, such as on farms or cycle tracks along the M3, he said.

Parkscape’s Nicky Schmidt said they had first seen the mobile camera tower at a previous joint security patrol with Premier Security.

“It seemed to us to have possibilities in aiding security in Lower Tokai, given camera range and height, and helped by it being mobile and secure,” said Ms Schmidt.

The real-time images of what the cameras see can be sent to a controller monitoring the feeds and then relayed to a hand-held device.

Parkscape had approached SANParks in December last year about the possibility of having cameras in the Table Mountain National Park, she said.

“We mentioned Premier’s mobile, solar-powered camera tower and said we would be keen to trial it, with SANParks’ support, in Lower Tokai,” said Ms Schmidt.

SANParks spokesperson Babalwa Dlangamandla said: “The feasibility and practicality of such technologies is currently being reviewed/investigated.”