Vodacom South Africa, in partnership with Samsung, has created what it calls the “police car of the future.” Each vehicle includes cameras that are capable of license-plate-number recognition. Connectivity is provided by 3G/4G technology via Vodacom’s fiber and microwave network. Information gathered by the cameras and shared via the mobile connection can be cross-referenced with databases such as those administered by South Africa’s Department of Transport and the Department of Home Affairs. Mobile printers will allow officers to issue summonses with information automatically populated from wirelessly linked databases. The cameras can send encrypted video footage, voice communications, instant messages and other data to a police command center in real time. The equipment can also be fitted to existing vehicles.
We think it is extremely savvy of Vodacom to partner with Samsung to create this exclusive targeted offering. It combines the connected-car concept, which is gaining ground in many markets around the world, with the special security needs of law enforcement. While police vehicles in general already have computers and other devices on board that connect to mobile networks, the Vodacom-Samsung car comes already connected to one operator’s network in particular. By leveraging the advantages of the cameras and other technology, Vodacom intends to make sure that police departments in South Africa subscribe to its services rather than those of its competitors.