Vaults South African tech stores use to stop criminals


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Numerous South African stores are using time-delay vaults to protect their expensive stock from robbers and burglars.

Due to their compact designs and high prices, smartphones and laptops have become prime targets for thieves.

The latest flagship smartphones can easily sell for more than R20,000, while high-end gaming and business laptops can retail for between R30,000 and R50,000.

Stores dealing in these high-value products, therefore, have to implement stringent measures to secure their stock.

One of the solutions that are becoming increasingly popular is the Cellvault time-delay vault from VaultGroup.

The company invented and patented this product in 2014 as the first compartmentalised time-delay vault.

VaultGroup told MyBroadband that demand for the product has since grown exponentially.

It now supplies more than 1,500 of these units to retailers throughout South Africa, including major mobile network operators, jewellers, and others.

Its long list of clients includes iStore, Samsung, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom, Cellucity, FNB, TFG, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Dunns, and Jet.

These vaults are primarily used to store cellular devices, tablets, laptops, wearables, gold coins, jewellery, and watches.

While a normal safe can get a simple time-delay lock to operate the entire unit, a Cellvault unit consists of multiple lockers of various sizes.

This minimises the number of products exposed at any given time while also offering enough stock to fill the customers’ need to quickly get their hands on a product.

The units work with PINs, and each locker only opens after a set time delay is complete.

Where needed, the configuration can include a reinforced glass viewing window for checking the available products in the compartment.

Its modular design also allows for a variety of sizes and formats.

The system is keyless, with front-of-house controls operated via electronic buttons and a cloud-based control panel for remote connectivity.

The company said the main advantage of a time-delay vault was that it cost criminals time, the one thing they could not afford much of.

“With most robberies, the criminals generally hold all the cards in terms of firepower, inside information, and fear. However, the one thing that criminals do not have is time.”

“The longer a robbery or burglary takes place, the greater the risk is for them being caught. A time delay definitely assists in this regard as it adds to this time factor.”

VaultGroup claimed its vaults have prevented or minimised loss in over 700 incidents throughout South Africa to date and have been extremely effective as a deterrent for future incidents.

“Anyone who currently stocks high valued items needs to make sure they store them in a secure environment with a time delay to prevent total loss,” the company advised.

The company also recommended complementary solutions retailers can add to the system for improved security.

This can include:

  • Offsite surveillance with wireless video verification.
  • Various triggers on the units.
  • A deterring smoke solution that activates during a break-in.

The video below provides a compilation of real-life incidents during which criminals failed to access Cellvaults.


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