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

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.

Respond quickly

Cost-effectively deploy and re-deploy equipment as the situation dictates, with compact, lightweight, portable systems, rugged modular components and long battery life.

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 organization’s needs.

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.

Maximum Bandwidth

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 compromised connections.

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.

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