We all look forward to heading down to the coast for a well deserved holiday. However, the thought of a family of four spending 14 days in a tiny hotel room is enough stress to put people off. Many people are turning towards alternative forms of accommodations such as Bed and Breakfast or self-catering apartments which allow you to have a “house to yourself” and still be on holiday. These holiday homes are usually owned by someone who uses the accommodation at some point during the year and uses a letting agent to rent out the unit when its not in use. Therefore, the holiday-home generates revenue to cover its running cost and in some cases even covers the cost of the purchase price.
However it is not all smooth sailing when it comes to owning a a holiday-home.
As owners are not able to monitor their homes during the year, they rely on the letting agents who, for a “managing fee”, ensures that the home is maintained all year round and rented to holiday-makers when the owner is not using the property. While most letting agents are legitimate there is a growing trend of agents who do their job too well! Knowing the owner is hundreds of kilometres away, the agent rents the home without informing the owner and keeps the rental money for themselves and the owner is none-the-wiser.
Of course this problem is not limited to holiday homes but is true for any remote location where the owner is not physically able to be there which leaves the location vulnerable and open to abuse.
This is a growing problem that GIT knows well. GIT is a South African distributer for Servision and has been providing remote video monitoring systems since 1991.
I spoke to Mark Chertkow,GIT Managing Director, about this issue and Mark explained that it is not limited to holiday-homes but being able to monitor remote locations is an issue that company owners and store owners face too. Mark explains that “installing a camera solution is not new in a fixed structure such as an office or a home with permanent internet connection via ADSL. However, when it comes to a temporary location such as a construction site-office or a holiday home in the middle of the Drakensburg where there is no connectivity infrastructure, then historically camera systems becomes unfeasible due to the large bandwidth required to run multiple camera systems.”
To combat this problem, Servision has developed the Mobile Video Gateway (MVG400) which is a small digital video recorder where up to 4 cameras can be connected to the unit which is powered by either a car battery or a wall socket power supply. The DVR has the ability to take all the camera feeds and in real time stream them to the owner using whatever connectivity methods are available – ADSL, the company network, WiFi or cellular data. The system will record all activities along with a time and date stamp so that if needed, action can be taken.
What makes this system very powerful is its ability to compress the video so that even in GPRS areas which is the weakest form of cellular data the system still allows for remote viewing of camera systems. It is even designed to allow for multiple operators to view the same live footage from different locations – something that other systems are not able to effectively do. The MVG400 makes it ideal for law enforcements, security companies and cash in transit companies which are some of GIT’s clients.
The unit is simple to setup with a bit of technical know-how, however it is recommended that an installer sets it up and from that moment, owners get instant peace of mind as they regain better control over their properties. As the system can be connected to the alarm and other sensors, it will notify the owner when the alarm is switched off or when there is movement in the unit. It even has the option to send audio and can be wired to remotely activate a siren or shut the door or activate devices that are connect to it.
There is a desktop software client to monitor the cameras from the computer as well as a mobile client so footage can be viewed from wherever the owner is in the world from a phone or a tablet.
Having tried several of these camera security systems, the reason that MVG400 appeals to me is that it has the ability to work wherever it is needed due to the compression of the video feeds over the cellular data and the fact that it is built for mobility. This means that the system can be deployed in any situation from setting up a temporary office, to monitoring your property, to being able to monitor your driver when he is making his deliveries. Of course monitoring your holiday home is now a real possibility –no matter which part of the remote African country side it is located in.
More information is available from GIT’s website