This iconic line forms part of the introduction to one of the most famous radio plays ever to be recorded, the Orson Welles adaptation of H.G. Wells’ unnerving sci-fi tour de force, The War of the Worlds. Of course, the conspirators Wells was referring to here were malicious otherworldly intelligences intent on destroying our planet and/or enslaving the human race. It was gripping stuff; so gripping, in fact, that it sowed widespread panic when it was broadcast sometime during the beginning of the previous century.
So how does the father of modern science fiction’s ominous opening words – so utterly ripe with foreboding – relate to the current security situation in South Africa?
It’s quite simple, really. The reality is that yes, South Africa sleeps, but it is an uneasy sleep plagued by nightmares of home invasions and crooks lurking about in the night. In this sense, we are akin to War’s protagonist (and indeed, all of mankind), our eyes darting nervously about as we await the imminent invasion and the terrible fate that awaits us.
But it need not be that way. If there is one prevailing theme throughout the history of mankind, it is the triumph of good over evil. We, the average citizens of this country, the home and business owners, are Good, while the criminals represent the forces of Evil.
Centurion Systems has developed a number of key technologies to aid the forces of Good in this eternal struggle, and to help South Africans sleep more soundly, secure in the knowledge that their homes and families are safe. It is worth noting that CENTURION is a South African company with South African sensibilities, always in tune with the unique security needs of the country.
CENTURION’s ongoing influence in the fight against crime is clearly evident in the following technologies:
As children, the majority of us were told cautionary tales and feared the “bogeyman”: an exaggerated evil entity that would come for us if we misbehaved. But, in our childlike innocence, we knew that switching on the light would render the bogeyman powerless and banish him to the realms of shadow whence he came.
In the slightly imagination-stripped world of adulthood, the bogeyman takes the shape of criminals wanting to get their hands on our possessions – or otherwise cause us harm – and the entrance gate is the typical point where they would try breach perimeter security. From following hapless homeowners into their properties to obstructing the gate safety beams so that the gate stays open, criminals have devised all sorts of clever ways of gaining entrance.
The Intruder-detection Alarm feature-set is CENTURION’s interpretation of “switching on the light” and catching the bogeyman in the act. These alarms – consisting of the Break-in Alarm and Ambush Alarm – work by sounding the onboard buzzer of your D-Series operator (D10/D10 Turbo, D5-Evo, SECTOR, VECTOR2) whenever the infrared gate safety beams are interrupted, or remain interrupted for a predefined period of time.
Consider, if you will, the practical application of these alarms: A potential intruder has been staking out your house for a couple of nights and knows your habits, your comings and goings. Then, one night, the criminal sees you enter your property and decides to stick some insulation tape over the lenses of the beams, thereby keeping the gate open and affording himself ample opportunity to enter the yard.
But the joke’s on him, because you have enabled the Ambush Alarm which promptly picks up that the beams have been obstructed for the preset period of time, and it triggers the alarm which you have relayed to your security company. The armed response chaps arrive and arrest the would-be burglar. Threat neutralised.
As you can most probably deduce from its name, ChronoGuard was named after the Greek word for time, “chronos”, which is also used as a prefix in English words related to time (think: “chronological”).
Yes, the ChronoGuard is a timer, but it is a timer that opens up a world of access control possibilities.
Take, for example, the Auto-activations feature offered by ChronoGuard. Using the onboard Real Time Clock and Calendar found in CENTURION D-Series controllers, this feature allows you to set up to 100 unique time periods that can be used to perform a myriad automatic activations. Among them:
- Opening your gate during busy times, such as in the mornings, so that your gate motor’s battery is not run flat from continually opening and closing
- Interfacing with an irrigation system to water your garden at certain times of the day
- Automatically switching on a security light only at night so as not to waste electricity
The possibilities are virtually endless.
Then there’s the Time-barring functionality. This security feature is useful to anyone from home-owners to managers who want to restrict access to their property after work or during weekends. Time-barring can be used to inhibit signals from remote controls or even physical triggers, so criminals won’t be able to simply short-circuit wires in order to get the gate to open.
From a practical application perspective, this is very handy since employers who have issued their staff with remotes can configure their D-Series gate motor or traffic barrier to work during normal office hours, but ignore inputs from remotes after hours. Hey presto – you now have a highly effective access control system without having to buy any expensive additional equipment. All that is needed is your CENTURION D-Series operator.
“And slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us”
That menacing line makes a final appearance. Criminals have always attempted to use our own tools and technology against us and, at times, it even seemed as though they had succeeded.
“Code grabbing” is one way in which tech-savvy crooks have been doing this; taking the wonderful convenience of remote controls and using it for their own dark purposes. What basically happens is this: a homeowner stops at his entrance gate and presses his remote, oblivious to the fact that in the bushes nearby a crook is hiding wielding a makeshift signal-grabbing device. The crook than uses this device to “grab” the code transmitted by the homeowner’s remote, and so gets carte blanche for helping himself to the homeowner’s possessions.
In an effort to combat this malfeasance, CENTURION has implemented code-hopping technology. What this means, is that every code transmitted by the CENTURION transmitter is completely and randomly different to the previous one, making code-grabbing more or less impossible. It is worth noting that this is the same sort of secure technology currently employed by leading vehicle manufacturers.
From the development and implementation of these innovative technologies it is clear that in actuality it is us drawing our plans against the criminals, and not vise versa.