Our story starts in 2011.
Founder Scott Bain – an expert in networking, CCTV systems and convergence – witnessed a violent assault on a CCTV monitor at Auckland Transport during a project. Scott had also worked alongside NZ Police and understood the challenges they face and the value of video for crime prevention.
This was his “lightbulb” moment.
Scott already had a successful independent consultancy business (specialising in CCTV & networking) – he and his team knew both technology sectors well. His experience at Cisco in United States and Europe also helped bring this together: What if live CCTV video could be easily (but securely) connected with Police, only when it was needed and without costing millions like it had in New York (post 911).
Scott knew delivering video in real time could save vital minutes in callout time, but he also knew that in practice it would never be about a single monolithic vendor solution for the same reason it is not realistic to assume everyone in a city will drive the same brand of car.
People have different needs, preferences and budgets and it is also not realistic to assume everyone across a city will deploy the same brand of CCTV system or cameras and have the network infrastructure that can be accessed securely by Police and other related public safety agencies… easily.
Scott realised the reality of an effective SaferCity solution would be about the convergence of multiple vendors and CCTV systems together, in a way that does not create cyber security risk and that does not require the building of a multimillion dollar high bandwidth network to connect it all.
Other (less technical) challenges were also apparent; namely that shared CCTV video streams should be encrypted, protective of public privacy, auditable in terms of who views them and why and easily transported across existing network infrastructure.
Scott’s team of CCTV, networking experts and software developers grew quickly with NZ Police and Auckland Transport as key Safer City development partners.
Scott and lead engineer Chris Wiggins, set out to work and within weeks built our first secure independent convergence prototype – the predecessor of today’s vGrid Safer City platform used by NZ Police and many others.
First partners were Auckland Transport and New Zealand Police with the team rapidly adding stadiums for a nationwide Police project. This followed by local business associations and larger commercial organisations coming onto the Safer City platform.
What has become clear over time, is that the vGrid Safer City sharing platform itself needs the framework of an ecosystem of organisations and people all working towards public safety and crime prevention.
This is the reality for any Safer City CCTV project – they are significantly more successful, cost effective and scalable when organisations and vendors actually work collaboratively with other stakeholders all sharing the same common goal to create safer public spaces for their own staff and for the public.
Anyone wanting to deliver a proper and effective ‘city-wide’ public safety solution, will undoubtedly have multitude vendors and multiple stakeholders to deal with, whether they like it or not. It’s human nature!
Convergence of all of this, to help people collaborate and create safer cities, is what gets us up out of bed each morning and what we love to focus on.
If our SaferCity Convergence Platform helps join all the CCTV vendors and systems together across a city and saves only one life….then we are still feeling pretty good about our efforts for that person. We know for a fact it has already helped Police save many more than that already! Life is good.
Let’s work together for Safer City initiatives.