The Crowne Plaza in Rosebank, Johannesburg was the setting for the 2017 iLegal conference, a joint venture between Dr Craig Donald and Hi-Tech Security Solutions. Once again the conference lived up to its reputation and saw a host of presenters offering insights and advice into a range of aspects related to the surveillance world. The title of this year's iLegal was Tomorrow's surveillance - today's reality, the social, operational, legal and strategic implications. The conference examined new or improved applications of surveillance technology and what they offer businesses today in terms of safety and security, as well as the legal and ethical implications we face when using these innovative solutions. This year the keynote speaker was Dion Chang from Flux Trends. His presentation provided insight beyond the security world into how surveillance technologies are being used generally, and how they will continue to become a more integrated part of people's lives going forward, in both a positive and negative sense.
Following Chang, Martin Hood from MJ Hood Associates offered attendees some insights into the human rights implications of surveillance as it relates to the South African constitution. A presentation by Shannon Patrick from South Deep Gold Mine took this idea further when he spoke on the realities of crowd management and how to develop strategies for dealing with large crowds. This included tips and examples on constructive engagement, conflict management and resolution. Dr Craig Donald was also on hand to offer his insights into the world of CCTV surveillance from the operator's perspective. His presentation showed the delegates how control room operators need to know and understand what they are looking for in order to be more proactive in identifying problems before they actually occur. He offered some informative videos that showed how reading body language allows for better insights into potential problems, allowing the security team to prevent it rather than waiting for something to happen before reacting.
Adriaan Bosch, the chairman of ASIS South Africa gave an overview of the importance of effective and relevant training in the security industry. There are many highly regarded training opportunities available that cover a host of security skills, but too few people are taking those courses. Bosch also lamented the fact that so many of the people in the security industry are over 40 years old. It seems security is not a "cool" option for people entering the job market, an issue that must be addressed if the private security industry is to offer relevant services in the long run.
And while there is no shortage of talk about smart and safe cities, independent consultant Heinrich van Eck was able to give some insights into what really matters and what is really necessary when setting up a smart city. Some of his insights included the need for proper planning and developing your strategy in advance, before even considering the technology you will require. He also touched on how he managed the development of a local smart city in terms of training and retaining good employees on the ground as well as in the control room. And, of course, he stressed the need for effective integration between products to ensure a seamless security experience.
The last three events of the day, a panel discussion facilitated by Dr Craig Donald and two more presentations, delved into some of the technology issues security operations are facing today and will have to deal with in future. First, a panel of experts provided some insights into thermal cameras and their capabilities, including some end user experiences of what these cameras can do to assist security operations. A presentation on UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), or drones was then delivered by Mark Paynter from Securitas. Paynter looked at the various types of drones available today as well as the different uses in the security and operations worlds. As an example, he showed how thermal or infrared cameras on drones are able to assist maintenance teams in their task by monitoring large installations and detecting temperature variances and so forth. Of course, the security operations of drones was the primary focus, looking at what is happening today as well as some future perspectives of what is still to come.
The final presentation by Bernard Senekal of Naxian delved into the world of cyber security and IoT, noting how these issues are not something left to the 'IT guys', but are integral to the physical security function today – and will be infinitely more important in the future. In his presentation, Senekal showed a video demonstrating how easy it is to compromise a company, its people, its data and its future by ignoring cyber security issues in seemingly irrelevant devices. The overall impressions of the delegates was that iLegal 2017 was a very relevant and insightful event, offering real and valuable information for security decision makers and operations personnel. Hi-Tech Security Solutions would like to extend out thanks to the delegates for taking the time to attend the conference as well as to the speakers who spent a significant amount of time preparing their presentations and delivering them on the day. iLegal will be back in early 2019, keep an eye in www.ilegal.co.za for more details.