The size of the African surveillance market is expected to increase dramatically over the next five years, notably due to unrest affecting the continent.
As unrest and security threats continue to escalate, particularly in Northern Africa, it is reasonable to assume that there will be an increased demand for surveillance technology within the next six months, from various security forces across the region as new opportunities for companies providing surveillance solutions are being created, according to Vislink, a global company specialising in the design and manufacture of secure video communications systems.
Vislink, with offices in South Africa, the UK, USA, UAE, Australia and Singapore, said that the African military and surveillance sectors are still not mature in terms of the technology available to them and so considerable investment in this technology will be required.
“Vislink is ideally situated to capitalise upon this demand, providing the high-quality but affordable equipment necessary to deliver an all-encompassing security effort,” stated Ali Zarkesh, Business Development Director at Vislink.
Globally, the company is doing well in the surveillance and military markets – in 2011, Vislink’s activity in the military field represented 16% of the company’s total revenues and the global market for Vislink’s surveillance products currently sits at around £200 million. Vislink’s activity in the law enforcement sector, which represents 70% of total surveillance revenues, is specifically driven by the growing need for robust video surveillance.
At present, the biggest opportunities in the military and surveillance space are coming from the Middle East, Far East and Latin America, Zarkesh said. Growth in the Middle East is driven by the volatile geopolitical environment and subsequent rising trend in upgrading military communications systems and networks. Vislink is also seeing significant opportunities from coalition forces deployed around the world. These bodies require a reliable means of communication to connect foot patrols, airborne units and command centres.
North African countries, in particular, are currently investing in surveillance solutions in order to help return a level of stability to the region. The political and security situation that has escalated in the past two years has created several opportunities for Vislink in this sector.
“It is also important to consider that several other countries in this part of the world have a heavy military focus. Wide ranging budgets are allocated to the defence sector in order to secure the country’s borders and protect its inhabitants. As a result, Vislink’s main opportunities across developing regions stem from growing covert surveillance demands,” Zarkesh said.
However, the future is not all bright as there are big challenges as well as opportunities in the defence industry. For instance, the UK spends around £34 billion on defence each year, yet the armed forces have recently seen the biggest budget cuts to their sector since 1991. This presents a unique challenge in itself, with military personnel requiring the same high-quality surveillance solutions as before, but now without the premium price tag, Vislink pointed out.
Vislink specialises in the production of satellite, wireless, video and IP solutions and targets government, surveillance, broadcast and news markets. For instance it delivers news gathering tools for the media and surveillance options for the government and military.
The company recently launched its Mantis MSAT, which it claims is the world’s smallest and lightest satellite data terminal, weighing 12.5 kg (27.5 lb). “Following a successful launch, the product has been deployed by several military forces around the world,” Vislink said. The Mantis MSAT can deliver voice, video and data communications, including HD video. Initial military orders have been filled and Vislink’s MSAT terminals are currently undergoing field trials for battlefield, command centre and special operations implementations.
Pic: Mantis MSAT