Coming of Age
Innovative new systems harness HD quality video to the power of Cellular, Wi-Fi, Microwave and Satellite networks for improved situation awareness and more proactive decision-making
- By Eric Chang
- Apr 01, 2016
Law enforcement, homeland security,
surveillance, emergency response and
military operations may span a range of
operations, but they all share a crucial
need for a detailed, real-time picture of
rapidly changing events from various field locations.
Leading law enforcement agencies have learned
that there’s no better way to evaluate the nuances of a
critical situation than through live video with picture
quality normally seen in TV news broadcast. With
advances in video capture, transmission, management
and sharing, it’s a powerful enhancement that agencies
can now rely upon as routinely as they once did
voice communications alone.
Emergency responders can capture video using
a mobile pack in places vehicles wouldn’t be able to
reach because of blocked roads. Imagine taking the
pulse of civil unrest from many points in the thick of
the action and from rooftops above the crowd, using
proactive monitoring and policing to help calm situations
before they escalate. Or streaming live video
to central command from fire-fighting ground crews,
trucks and helicopters, providing key information
to coordinate and mobilize resources from multiple
fire departments. Hostage negotiations, large public
events, transportation safety or homeland security,
no matter how complex the scenario, analysts can use
real-time broadcast-quality video to get the real story
as events unfold.
Using video to make critical, often life-and-death
decisions, however, requires technology that goes far
beyond the limitations of body cams or static surveillance
cameras. Truly effective mobile live video surveillance
must work seamlessly within the organization’s
existing digital infrastructure while delivering
five key capabilities, quick response time, immediate
view of video, reliable signals, real-time information
and the ability to share video easily.
Cost-effectively deploy and re-deploy equipment as
the situation dictates, with compact, lightweight, portable
systems, rugged modular components and long
Capture video immediately. Start recording and
transmitting professional-quality HD video with
the simple push of a button, or multiply resources
by transmitting video from any smart device with a
simple mobile app.
Transmit signals reliably. Securely send encrypted
video, even in areas with weak wireless networks.
Transmit from cars, armored vehicles, motorcycles,
trains or helicopters without interruption.
Manage information in real time. Stream live video
to command centers for evaluation, and to in-field
mobile devices for immediate response.
Share and archive video easily. Distribute live video
inside the organization, to other agencies or to news
media. Automatically record all video for archiving,
analysis or legal evidence.
In order to meet these stringent criteria, law enforcement
units are turning to IP-based live video solutions
such as compact mobile uplinks, available as
backpack units or smaller devices, live video switching,
routing and distribution software; and smart
phone transmission applications. Long a standard
among large broadcast station groups, these solutions
deliver live video over wireless networks often with
minimal to no latency.
Whether performing surveillance or emergency
response, they leverage into existing workflows to
help organizations transform traditional hard-wired
operations to a predominately wireless IP-based infrastructure.
They’re designed to be flexible and scalable,
so the platform can grow and change with the
The Immediate Benefits
In one major American city, the police force was able
to see immediate benefits from its IP video infrastructure
when attempting to keep the peace during a series
of large demonstrations in the city’s center.
“We used four simultaneous video feeds, three
from officers set up on rooftops or moving on foot
through the crowd, and one from a helicopter monitoring
crowd movements from the air,” said one of the
tactical commanders. “Then we displayed the video
on a twenty-foot screen in the emergency operations
center. This live view of the action was critical in effectively
managing our response to keep a potentially
volatile situation from getting out of hand. When
making decisions, there’s nothing like actually seeing
what’s going on.”
Remote terrain, poor weather, nearby buildings or
electromagnetic interference can make it difficult to
achieve sufficient bandwidth for live video transmission.
In response to this challenge, hybrid transmission
solutions have been developed that can seamlessly
aggregate bandwidth by transmitting simultaneously
over all available cellular, satellite, microwave, MIMO
Mesh, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and BGAN connections.
Advanced technology such as a proprietary advanced forward error correction algorithm and
enhanced H.264 encoding engines provide
the maximum bandwidth available
on each network connection and
subsequently transmit the best possible
picture. By automatically adapting to
the transmission network environment,
dependable and stable HD quality is delivered,
even in locations with weak or
This enables IP-based video transmission
systems to provide superior HD
picture quality wirelessly from even the
most remote, bandwidth-challenged locations,
including moving vehicles, to
hardware video decoding receivers at
operational headquarters, with under
one second end-to-end delay through
multiple transmission mediums, such as:
3G/4G LTE, microwave, satellite, Wi-Fi,
BGAN and Ethernet connections.
Mobile video transmitter can be
small and lightweight, available in
backpack style or ultra-compact models
weighing less than three pounds.
Their simple operation needs no infield
configuration. Just plug the unit
into the camera source, press the green
button, and begin transmitting realtime
video on the fly. The transmitters
are operational in less than 20 seconds
from a cold start, and some feature
dual hot-swappable batteries that offer
up to seven hours of continuous
recording. For added versatility, mobile
apps allow smart devices to capture and
transmit live video, giving tactical commanders
even greater access to events
as they happen.
Wireless transmitters that feature
powerful dual encoders enable live
transmission and onboard recording
for later on-demand retrieval. If wireless
network connectivity is lost, the
internal hard drive continues to record
full HD video, allowing the stored
content to begin forwarding once the
connection is restored. This allows the
uninterrupted feed of video shot on the
move by foot or vehicle.
On the receiving end of the signal,
software-based solutions provide
streamlined switching, routing and distribution
of all live video transmitted
from the field. Accessible through a web
browser, they can seamlessly switch incoming
content with the click of a button,
and share live video streams with
the command center, remote tactical
units and mobile devices.
Elite law enforcement and tactical
operations worldwide have successfully
deployed mobile video acquisition,
transmission and distribution equipment
to capture and distribute content
in real time, assess situations quickly,
make proactive decisions and implement
an effective response. For both
large-scale incidents and day-to-day
operations they prove an ideal choice
that can help all types of agencies revolutionize
the way they operate.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Security Today.