The University of Pretoria has contracted the expertise of Jasco Security Solutions since 2004, to maintain and expand its fully-redundant Cosmos4 Alarm Systems at its campus grounds, which include its Main and Sports campus, Groenkloof, Onderstepoort, Mamelodi and Prinshof campuses, as well as student residences.
Today the university’s centralised control room operates 24 hours a day and collates all security instances of its alarm panels, closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance, access control, as well as emergency communication systems in elevators.
The challenges
In the past, the university had a myriad of loose-standing alarm systems from different vendors in buildings throughout the campuses and were difficult to administer and maintain. The laboratories, lecture, committee and seminar facilities are equipped with the latest technologies, and have been plagued by theft and unauthorised access.
Additionally, if an alarm was triggered, the security alert was isolated to a specific building because the alarm panels did not have the functionality to link back to the central control room to notify security personnel.
The University of Pretoria’s Facilities Maintenance and Operations Division investigated alarm system solutions that would consolidate its alarm infrastructure, that can be centrally managed and holistically address the safety of its staff, students and assets.
The tender process
Explains Kobus le Roux, national sales and marketing executive at Jasco Security Solutions: “The Division soon realised that they couldn’t do it all themselves and as a result, embarked on an open and transparent tender process in line with the University’s procurement policy and practice.
They were looking for a certified partner that could provide them with a standardised system, as well as with the expertise to integrate its existing alarm panels.
Le Roux says it was paramount for the Facilities Maintenance and Operations Division to find a security-focused organisation with solid track-record that could consistently support its alarm infrastructure, backed by an accountable service level agreement.
“The university had very specific needs. One such requirement was to embed the contractors on site and integrate them as part of its own maintenance infrastructure culture, to establish a trust relationship that is as responsive as possible,” he adds.
After extensive contractor reviews, the University of Pretoria awarded the tender to Jasco Security Solutions in 2004 to implement the Cosmos4 Alarm Systems.
“Each contract period at the university is only 26 months. At the end of each cycle, the open tender process starts all over again, and existing contractors have to compete with other product certified and technically minded organisations.
“However, when it came to service, support and expertise, Jasco Enterprise proved its proficiency time and time again as a competent provider to maintain and develop its alarm systems,” Le Roux says.
The solution
The Cosmos4 Alarm System is 100% South African that has been in development for the last 25 years.
Designed by Scafell, a company within Jasco Security Solutions, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Jasco Trading, the system is used by leading financial institutions, mining operations, educational facilities, as well as at national key points throughout the country.
“The Cosmos4 Alarm System is highly customisable and can be tailored to the university’s specific security needs.
The system is also scalable, and each panel can be expanded from 16 to 176 inputs that can be independently identified when triggered. It has the ability to select the most effective medium to communicate alarms and events to the control room, selecting between internet networks, land line and cellular mediums,” says Le Roux.
Implementation and results
Jasco Security Solutions deployed eight permanent employees across the campuses and installed the Cosmos 4 Alarm Systems. The implementations have since grown from 40 to 193 panels.
Le Roux says the alarm system components have been installed on doors, motion detection sensors in buildings, as well as mechanical plant alarms that all link back to the control room and administrated via five user terminals.
“Once an alarm is triggered, the centralised system flags the location and description to security personnel, indicates what level threat is presented and provides instructions how to timeously respond to the security incident. When the issue has been resolved, the instance is logged for reporting purposes,” he says.
To enhance the safety of its staff in remote or isolated locations, the university also supplied them with panic buttons. If an alarm is activated a guard is immediately dispatched to investigate the incident. The system also incorporates automatic testing of detectors and reporting of detectors that are faulty.
“There has been a marked improvement in the university’s ability to deliver its security objectives effectively. Once the alarm systems were operational theft of equipment halted completely,” explains Le Roux.
This sentiment has been echoed by the university. In 2005, 2011 and 2012 respectively, Jasco Security Solutions was presented with awards honouring the company as ‘The best performing Electronics Systems Maintenance contractor at the University’s Department of Facilities Management.
“These awards recognise our quality standards in maintaining the university’s facilities and services infrastructure, as well as our continuous improvements in our service delivery to ensure customer satisfaction.
“Currently we are renovating the Student Affairs and Student Centre, as well as its new Study Centre facility. As an integral part of the university’s infrastructure personnel, our work at the university is ongoing as old buildings are refurbished or new buildings are acquired. Our work here is as challenging as it is rewarding,” concludes Le Roux.