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CCTV use takes root in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1- The increased levels of insecurity in the country have led to a rise in demand for video surveillance and other advanced technologies which many people believe can help deter crime.

A local ICT company has been running pilot projects on a CCTV camera system that sends live video to the user’s mobile phone and says the response has been encouraging particularly due to the development of the mobile phone infrastructure in the country.

“We have been doing some testing across various networks to see how it’s working. We have also been able to test our markets and seen that there is an acceptability of the product,” said Anthony Maina the ICT Projects Director at Sicom Technologies of the service which would be charged a daily fee of Sh50 for accessing the images on the phone.

He said that all a user needs to do to install the camera which is capable of viewing 100 yards, plugged it on power and switch it on.

“One you have purchased the equipment, all you need is to give us is your phone number and the make of your phone.  We would then be able to send you the iris player which is a java application and then you can just install it,” he further explained.

In addition, he explained the camera has an inbuilt motion sensor which if activated; the user gets a Short Message Service alerting them of the ongoings and it also makes a short recording that can be accessed from the phone.

Mr Maina told Capital Business that the camera that is retailing at Sh25,000 a piece, is ideal for home or office security as it keeps an eye on the user’s office or home.

While he acknowledged that the hard economic times pose a challenge to the Iris camera’s uptake in the local market, he expressed optimism that they would be able to sell about 1,000 cameras in a month.

“We know that there are people who would love to have these cameras but cannot afford the Sh25,000 but we would like to tell them that we have subsidised it for them because were we to factor all the costs, then we would probably price it at Sh30,000,” he explained.

Mr Maina said they are in talks with the government to work out ways of how they can install the cameras in major streets in Nairobi to enhance public safety and also provide traffic updates for them.

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“We have started discussions with the local authorities on how we can cooperate and complement each other in situations where they don’t have to spend so much,” he said adding that their camera does not require setting up of expensive infrastructure.

The camera was first launched in South Africa where it has proved a success with over 10,000 cameras sold.  With the successful roll out in Kenya, the company hopes to expand the product into the region.

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