Vumacam is currently deploying a solar solution which is reliable and can deliver high service levels in terms of quality of the image and up-time. While solar solutions are workable with one or two cameras, the increased load of multiple cameras on a pole and the fact that Johannesburg is the largest urban forest in the world has made it harder to find a sustainable solar solution that is adequate.
The main challenges around alternative power solutions
The main challenge is the amount of real estate space available on the pole. The pole has been designed to take solar, however, the size of the solar panel required to generate the necessary energy would have an impact on the moment force on a pole.
The second challenge is the backup power storage. Technology changes rapidly in this space. Even if we could generate sufficient solar backup power for three to four days, the number of batteries required would not fit on our poles and would be astronomically expensive. There is also the very real risk of theft: telecommunication companies are currently unable to protect their battery backups from theft which is a business and community risk to consider.
Vumacam continues to test further models and technologies as we arise to circumvent the requirement of sourcing power from residential and business premises. Residents who supply power, as they are often the closest property to the camera view, are presented with static views of the camera's view to sign off to ensure their rights to privacy are not being infringed upon.