Our story starts in 2011. Founder Scott Bain – an expert in networking, convergence, CCTV strategy, design & execution – witnessed a violent assault on a client’s CCTV monitor. This was a “lightbulb” moment.
Scott already ran a successful CCTV and network consultancy business – he and his team knew the sector inside out. He had also worked with NZ Police and understood many of the challenges they face in crime prevention. The idea for SaferCities brought all this experience together: What if live CCTV video could be easily connected with Police, just when it was needed and available to Police resources? Scott knew delivering video in real time could save vital minutes in callout time, but he also knew it wasn’t about a single vendor solution but convergence with multiple vendors and systems.
In addition to improving public safety, companies or business groups looking to reduce and prevent crime around their premises could use a reputable and secure CCTV convergence system to share live streams with police, their security team or other partners by giving them access multiple cameras.
Challenges were obvious; shared CCTV video streams need to be secured, audit-able, protective of privacy but at the same time easily and simply shared over existing networks and infrastructure. Scott had previously observed similar projects and services costing millions whilst living in the US.
Scott established a team of CCTV and networking experts – forming the SaferCities team – uniquely placed to converge these worlds.
Scott and lead engineer Chris Wiggins, set to work, drawing on prior experience in networking, security and CCTV systems. Within weeks they built our first secure and independent sharing prototype – the predecessor to today’s vGrid Safer City platform.
First partners were Auckland Transport and New Zealand Police. The concept was an immediate success along Auckland’s rail network.
From that standing start things moved quickly with Scott and the team rapidly adding stadiums for a nationwide Police project, followed by local business associations and larger commercial organisations added to the Safer City platform.
What has become clear over time, is that the vGrid Safer City sharing platform itself needs the support of an ecosystem of organisations and people working towards public safety and crime prevention.
This is the case for any CCTV project.
CCTV projects are more successful, cost effective and scalable when organisations and vendors work collaboratively with other stakeholders sharing a common goal to create safer public or private spaces for their own people and for the public.
Across any city wanting to collaborate around Safety, there will always be multiple stakeholders with a multitude of vendors.
In the same way that it is not realistic to assume everyone in a city will drive the same brand of car, it is not realistic to assume everyone will deploy the same brand of CCTV system or camera, or have a large wide area network across the city that can be accessed securely by public safety agencies.
Convergence of all of this, to help people collaborate and create safer cities, is what we focus on.