TMI system targets globe’s crime woes

SOUTH African businesses will implement technology developed in Western Australia as an electronic crime-fighting tool in a bid to tackle the problem.

Following on from trials run in Western Australia, Telemetric Media Information (TMI) is set to implement its cityNEX system in Johannesburg after signing a multi-million dollar joint venture with a South African company, Kagiso Trust Investments.

TMI founder and managing director Mervyn Dobbins said the company was also in the advanced stages of completing joint venture arrangements with governments in China and the Middle East to implement the system.

The cityNEX system is part of an integrated communications and urban surveillance system that includes dynamic outdoor posters, wireless surveillance cameras and wireless telecommunications.

The system also incorporates advanced image management and biometric software protocols.

At a cost of $US150 million for the first stage of the project in Johannesburg, Mr Dobbins said the company anticipated a broadening of the project in South Africa that would lead to implementation of the technology across the country.

“We are currently negotiating time lines to take the system from Pretoria to Capetown, effectively covering all cities in between that would possibly bring the project up to $US1 billion,” he said.

Johannesburg marks the first large-scale commercial deployment of the system, which Mr Dobbins said had been designed as a “holistic solution to homeland security”.

TMI developed the Johannesburg model in conjunction with the South African police department over the past two years.

The Johannesburg model includes a number of public consoles that allow free video calls to the police and 28,000 public servants.

Members of the public can also report crime and provide statements from the street using the reporting system built in to the consoles.

Also contained in the system is payment software that will allow the paying of fines, rates and licence fees.

The communication network is fully integrated into the existing telecommunications system, allowing access from standard landline and mobile phones.

Mr Dobbins said the system would allow “efficiencies beyond the capabilities of any normal policing methods”.

TMI is the brainchild of Mr Dobbins, who established the company in 1997, funding the research and development largely through overseas venture capital funding.

Mr Dobbins said that, while the technology had been well received by Federal and State governments in Australia, the company had received no funding to develop or implement the system.

“A major sticking point is that we are not getting the type of support here [in Australia and WA] as we’re getting in other countries,” he said.

Mr Dobbins last year won a Telstra Business Idea’s grant in the ‘Best idea Product Development Stage’ category.


“A major sticking point is that we are not getting the type of support here [in Australia and WA] as we’re getting in other countries.”

-         Mervyn Dobbins

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