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SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE BY

SAFETY VISION


CONTENTS About Safety Vision

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Camera surveillance systems: Where’s the evidence?

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By Colin Smith

Body-worn cameras: transit policing’s newest tool

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By Colin Smith

Mobile video surveillance: more than just hardware

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By Steven Winnefeld

Hybrid video recorders: a new solution

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By Steven Winnefeld

Monitors create awareness and value

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By Steven Winnefeld

The future of mobile surveillance: open architecture

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By Steven Winnefeld

New 360° camera technology expands surveillance possibilities

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By Steven Winnefeld

Preparation creates successful surveillance system installls 11 By Steven Winnefeld

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ABOUT SAFETY VISION Founded in 1993, Safety Vision, LLC is among the most recognized vendors of mobile video surveillance products in North America. These products are used by agencies, companies, and organizations to provide elements of mobile safety, which in turn save time, resources, and money. Key industries include: Mass Transit, Law Enforcement, Work and Transportation Trucks, First Responders, and Pupil Transportation. Looking to the future, Safety Vision continues to incorporate innovative features such as wireless downloading, real-time remote viewing, GPS mapping, uninterrupted power supplies, and hybrid recording technology to further enhance its safety package.

Visit www.safetyvision.com for more information!


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Camera surveillance systems: Where’s the evidence? By Colin Smith Why do agencies use camera surveillance systems on buses? We can ultimately consolidate their uses into two major categories: enhancing visibility and affecting crime. While many providers tout these as true, we often lack evidentiary knowledge. Let’s examine further. First, let’s examine the claim that cameras enhance visibility. The largest hindrance to clear visibility on buses is the presence of blind spots. Bus-specific blind spots are large and typically appear directly behind the vehicle for an extended distance and to either side of the front-portion of the bus, as can be seen in Figure 1. While the rear blind-spot produces the most obstructed view, it is not of much importance – buses are rarely required to back up in the course of their daily routes. Thus, the two side blind-spots that remain are a safety concern. The claim that rear blind-spots take precedence over side blind-spots is supported by data from the Florida Crash Analysis Reporting (CAR) System. Although back-up crashes only caused 5.76 percent of at-fault bus crashes, sideswipe and side-related crashes made up 39.96 percent. Likewise, the Side Object Detection System (SODS) found only 19 percent of crashes occur in the rear and 46 percent on the side. Once more, data from a third study, Dunn et al., suggests 30 percent of crashes occur between the front and the rear while 44 percent are attributed to angle crashes or sideswipes. These data clearly identify where visibility is lacking – the sides of buses. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDT) found that camera systems (cameras and a viewing monitor) present a viable solution to overcoming side blind-spots. By comparing flat mirrors, convex mirrors, regular-angle lenses and wide-angle lenses, the FDT found that with proper placement and adequate fields of view, cameras can eliminate 100 percent of the side blind-spot obstructions that remain with traditional, flat mirrors. Thus, it can be concluded that the use of cameras does enhance the visibility drivers need to maintain a safe environment by, at the least, eliminating side blind-spots. Second, let’s examine the claim that camera systems affect crime. Most would suggest that cameras affect crime by deterring it. Anecdotal evidence in support of this claim is prevalent and signs such as “You are Being Recorded” bolster its supposed logic. However, the evidence does not paint such a simple picture. Through his literature review, Cavoukian (2008) found extreme variations in the results 4

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of studies that measured reductions in criminal activity from the implementation of camera systems; as well, each study maintained a different degree of rigor, rendering inaccurate comparison data. Why the variations? It is difficult to measure reductions in criminal activity on transportation buses because of the chaotic nature of public settings – it is impossible to exclude extraneous variables for capturing untainted measurements. Also, crime rates vary from location to location, fluctuate sporadically and range in intensity, meaning a reduction in crime cannot be solely attributed to the implementation of camera systems. While Cavoukian ultimately concluded that camera systems do prevent some crimes, accurately measuring and tracking those reductions is difficult. There is correlation, but a lack of causation. Although cameras deter criminal activity, their main benefit lies in post-incident activities such as criminal investigations. Camera systems create a trove of video evidence, offering law enforcement the ability to confidently place a person at a particular location, on a particular date and at a particular time. With decreasing data storage costs and improving camera imagery, camera systems will increasingly be used for these purposes. It can be seen that the use of camera systems does affect criminal activity by deterring criminal behavior and by assisting with post-incident activities. In conclusion, camera surveillance systems are producing real results, bolstering the two claims originally made in this piece – that they enhance visibility and affect crime. While it is commonplace for those in the mobile surveillance industry to tout these two claims, the readers of this article are now armed with the evidentiary knowledge to back them up. Colin Smith, M.P.A., is the marketing manager for Safety Vision, LLC, a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com. For a complete set of references please visit: http://bit.ly/1IwdQCu

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BODY-WORN CAMERAS: TRANSIT POLICING’S NEWEST TOOL By Colin Smith

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are fueling a nationwide reassessment of the United States’ policing practices. Considering several positive case studies, endorsements by the federal government, and the public’s demand for transparency in community policing, BWCs have gained credibility in a very short period of time. And it is not an overstatement to predict the continued existence of this market and growth beyond its current borders. Considering the benefits to be had from the use of BWCs in community policing, a pertinent question arises – might BWCs produce the same results in transit policing? History Law enforcement-specific body worn cameras were first tested in Denmark during the early to mid 2000’s, and the U.K. was the first country to widely adopt the cameras, having first tested them in 2005. American companies began manufacturing the devices as early as 2008; however, their visibility in the U.S. market remained low until 2014. The shooting of Michael Brown launched BWCs into the spotlight with the conversation circling around what could have been captured on video had the officer been wearing one of these devices. Since that time, BWCs have proven themselves as objective, fact-based observers. While there are yet unresolved policy issues, reductions in false complaints against officers and decreases in the need for officers to use force have resulted in monetary savings that grossly outweigh initial outlays. Functionality Body-worn cameras are wearable devices that record and store audio, video, and meta-data files captured from a first person point of view. Features of different venders vary, but, for example, Safety Vision’s Prima Facie® BWC captures video in full high definition resolution (1920 x 1080), utilizes infrared illuminators to ensure visibility in poor lighting conditions, and is resistant to liquid or dust particles. BWCs exhibit various levels of security, but it is certain that police require non-removable memory and user-defined access to uploaded files, each eliminating the possibility of evidence tampering. Stationary cameras exhibiting these same qualities have been used on or around public modes of transportation for years; however, their ability to capture events is restricted by limited fields of view and object obstructions. By placing a camera on the body of an officer, a first-person point of view is achieved, offering substantial benefits beyond those of stationary cameras. Transit police Transit police retain either full policing powers or are restricted to limited powers, and their existence is normal in regions with sufficient public transportation infrastructure to require their presence. Examples in Texas include Houston’s METRO Police and Dallas’ DART Police. And although transit police have jurisdiction over a comparatively narrow purview, the situations they face mirror those of their community policing counterparts. An internet search for news headlines lends credibility to this assertion: “Metro Transit Police Officer honored for saving woman’s life,” “D.C. man accused of

punching Metro transit police officer,” and “Police arrest man after video shows him beating man in MBTA station.” These headlines are just a sample of those found within the month of October 2015. Deployment Major transit agencies such as the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have or are in the midst of using BWCs. As well, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) currently outfits its officers with Safety Vision’s Prima Facie. The NFTA oversees public transportation in both Erie and Niagara Counties in New York State as well as a few other subsidiaries. The NFTA found BWCs reduce citizen complaints and can, in many cases, diffuse an escalating situation when the officer indicates the interaction is being recorded. Once more, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) showed its support of BWCs by releasing the working paper Technical Recommended Practice for Body worn camera systems for Safety Vision’s Prima Facie® use by transit operators and public safety body-worn camera exhibits a officers (2014). In it, best practices 2-inch LCD screen on the back are established for a BWC program, of the device, allowing officers to instantly review captured audio including: ideal system design, and video files while in the field. system and component selection, and deployment and conformance. Conclusion Body-worn cameras are quickly becoming the newest tool in the police officer’s toolkit. Their efficacy has largely been proven in community policing, suggesting transit police officers will encounter the same success. And while transit police are restricted to comparatively smaller jurisdictions than their community policing counterparts, they encounter similar situations requiring equally effective equipment. Several major transit agencies have begun using the devices, including BART, SEPTA and NFTA, and APTA has recognized their potential. However, current adoption rates are low. We began by asking the question – might BWCs produce the same results in transit policing that they have in the community? Considering the evidence, the answer is surprisingly clear – yes. Colin Smith, M.P.A., is the Marketing Manager for Safety Vision, LLC, a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com. For a complete set of references please visit: http://bit.ly/1IwdQCu.


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MOBILE VIDEO SURVEILLANCE:

MORE THAN JUST HARDWARE By Steven Winnefeld

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s technology development continues to progress, more transit agencies are closely evaluating their new choices in hardware. The more perceptive agencies have come to realize software has become just as important to their overall surveillance solution. An efficient and properly operating digital video recorder (DVR) sits safely tucked away in a buses’ radio closet or under a seat. Meanwhile this system generates video and data that must be reviewed and organized using software the agency may have to use every day. For this reason, it is critical that an agency’s surveillance system software be useful, intuitive and perfectly complement the hardware that records the video it plays and organizes. endure. Health reports present all of The number one criteria that a new this information in an easy-to-read system must be judged by is its ability to format that can be customized for get video from the vehicle to the desktop. different departments or teams. While While events of interest may occur on maintenance personnel will have a keen the bus, it is on an agency’s desktop PC interest in camera failures, IT personnel that the recorded video is reviewed. will want to monitor storage space. While previously it was necessary to Reports can be individualized to each walk out to the vehicle and retrieve person reading them and configured to the DVR’s storage media, new wireless display information to their preference. central management systems (CMSs) While all important events need to be have made video retrieval effortless. A recorded, some critical events benefit bus pulls into a maintenance facility from immediate review. Combined with and the DVR, using a wireless bridge, cellular network, new video surveillance automatically connects with a wireless systems can provide the ability to access point on the agency’s network. review camera feeds in real time. Often Using Safety Vision’s SafetyNet CMS called “live look-in,” this feature allows for example, the DVR can be configured authorized users, including agency to automatically download important It’s critical that an agency’s surveillance system software be personnel, law enforcement and other video such as tagged events to the CMS useful, intuitive and perfectly complement its hardware. first responders to see events on a bus as database. Then, from the comfort of your desktop, without having valuable evidence pass through multiple they are happening. Emergencies can be seen live and immediately physical hands, the video can be retrieved from the CMS database accessed. Another benefit is realized as this feature can be used to and reviewed. To complete this seamless transition, the DVR monitor driver behavior. Poor habits can be observed and drivers can and software must work together in unison with a professionally be coached on safer driving practices, reducing risk and promoting the agency’s image to the public. analyzed, developed and installed wireless infrastructure. All of these incredible new features emerging on the transit scene Transit agencies face additional challenges above other vehicle fleets. Transit vehicles often operate at all hours of the day, with each simplify complicated tasks for agency personnel, reduce risk, and vehicle having a different schedule. Organizing vehicle maintenance promote a more efficient and effective security solution. But they are is a difficult and time-consuming task considering the fleet is seldom useless unless the users know how to use them. The software must be all in the same place for any reasonable amount of time. Software properly and effectively utilized; otherwise no return on investment that is designed to accommodate the operations of an active transit will be realized. Start with software that is intuitive and easy to fleet is critical. Safety Vision’s Observer Management System (OMS) understand. Carefully review the documentation to fully understand PRO™ includes the ability to “push” DVR firmware updates and all of the new bells and whistles that are available. To ensure the best configuration files to DVRs automatically when the vehicles connect understanding, enquire with your mobile surveillance provider about to the wireless network. Instead of personnel walking on each vehicle training lessons from the experts. Safety Vision can accommodate while it is parked, updating DVRs with flash drives or laptops, whole classes at its headquarters, or provide specialists to work with updates and changes can be coordinated and progress monitored key personnel on-site. The utility of the software is truly maximized once it is completely understood and fully integrated with your from the desktop using the advanced CMS software. Health management reporting is another critical feature for agency’s existing infrastructure. transit fleets provided by advanced CMS software such as SafetyNet and OMS PRO. As the DVRs connect to the CMS, valuable data is Steven Winnefeld is the documentation specialist for Safety Vision, LLC, a recorded, such as the DVR’s operational status, any kind of video pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com. For a loss due to camera failure, and the percentage of storage space complete set of references please visit: http://bit.ly/1IwdQCu. both used and available. Monitoring this data physically is nearly impossible, considering the daily operations most transit vehicles

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Hybrid video recorders: a new solution By Steven Winnefeld The technology for onboard mobile surveillance systems continues to evolve. Robust analog technology has been employed for many years, and now recently network IP cameras and recorders have gained momentum in transit industry vehicles, promoting enhanced video resolution and many new features. However this transition in recording formats is not happening instantaneously. Often the excitement of seeing high definition video is quickly tempered by looking at the price tag and considering the logistics of updating a large fleet. Addressing these concerns is a new breed of video recorder; hybrids combine both analog and network inputs to create another option for onboard video recording. How can these new systems benefit you? Analog Analog camera systems have been utilized in the mobile surveillance industry since its inception. Originally recording to video tape, they evolved to using digital storage media. Analog transmits the image and audio to the recorder, which must then process these signals into video. Typical analog system image resolution is limited to 720 x 480 pixels, otherwise known as D1. The video signal uses interlaced video frames to reduce bandwidth, and this often causes problems as rapidly moving objects can appear blurry. However, the cables and their connectors, typically BNC and Molex-type, are easily recognizable on vehicles and familiar to all maintenance and installation technicians. And due to its wide adoption, analog components are increasingly cost-effective. Network Network camera systems are increasingly gaining traction in mobile environments over the past few years. IP cameras process image and audio into video in the camera itself, which then transmits this video to a network video recorder via a singular Ethernet cable. They provide high definition resolution, often at 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) like many home televisions – which produces some stunningly sharp images, and motion blur is reduced using progressive scanning. Those benefits come at the cost of large amounts of data that must be transmitted and stored by the recorder and video management software, driving up prices. Since the security industry is just recently adapting digital technology to mobile environments, installers and operators are learning new hardware, tools and methods. Hybrid Hybrid video recorders, such as Safety Vision’s Observer™ 4112 and 4120 models, combine both analog and network technology to create an additional choice. On the back of these systems, you will find a series of analog connections and an Ethernet port. Four IP cameras can be connected to a switch, which then connects to the Ethernet port, augmenting the analog cameras. The Foresight PRO software seamlessly plays back video from all of the cameras in one video file. Hybrids present an ideal solution to the problem of upgrading from analog to network systems. Upgrading an entire fleet at once

Hybrid video recorders, such as Safety Vision’s Observer™ 4112 and 4120 models, combine both analog and network technology.

is an immense operational cost, as all of the old analog components must first be removed and a network infrastructure is installed in their place. Instead, hybrids can be installed in mid-life buses so as to allow the continued use of the analog cameras and cables. Where more definition is needed from video cameras, up to four additional or replacement HD cameras can be installed in critical positions. The gradual conversion to full IP camera bus networks costs less as older buses due to be decommissioned can take advantage of hybrid technology using existing analog camera infrastructure. Expenses can also be controlled in installations by strategically placing network IP cameras where they are most effective. An IP camera pointed out of the front windshield will capture the long field of view ahead of the bus, and the resolution allows you to zoom in on fine objects such as license plates and signs. Other locations that benefit from this zoom are doors and fareboxes. Multiple analog cameras can efficiently capture shorter distances in the bus interior, minimizing the overall system cost. These situations illustrate the immediate benefits hybrid video recorders can provide. They are “the best of both worlds,” taking advantage of the incredible resolution of network IP cameras and the cost-effectiveness of analog systems to create a new flexible solution with new surveillance possibilities. Steven Winnefeld is documentation specialist for Safety Vision, LLC, a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com. For a complete set of references please visit: http://bit.ly/1IwdQCu.

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Monitors create awareness and value By Steven Winnefeld For most transit agencies, legal and liability expenditures are significant. A great deal of attention is paid to on-board camera equipment and systems that ensure their riders are safe and secure while on their vehicles. Is your ridership completely conscious of this fact? Many agencies are now looking at installing monitors in their vehicles that not only demonstrate their investment in technology and safety, but also provide additional benefits as well. Showcase security These monitors, such as Safety Vision’s Awareness Monitors available in 10.4-inch and 15-inch sizes, are much larger than the monitor typically located near the driver for their use. They mount in the passenger compartment in full view of the riders, and display a live camera feed. As soon as a rider steps onto the vehicle, they can watch themselves step through the door and deposit their fare. In larger, articulated bus installations, passengers can see each other seated in different positions. A popular application is double-decker buses, where passengers entering on lower level can see the availability of seating on the upper deck. While the digital video recorder is typically tucked away, and cameras may be visible but low profile, the awareness monitor boldly announces the security presence that is watching over them. While many people are mindful that mobile surveillance may be present, they may not be familiar with how far the technology has come in terms of clear, high definition cameras and comprehensive coverage. Not only does this put concerned riders at ease, it promotes your agency’s commitment to ensuring a safe environment and positive riding experience. Deter vandalism and crime Joe McCleary, account executive at Safety Vision, frequently expounds the benefits to his clients of what he considers to be one of the most important benefits of awareness monitors: deterring crime. “Digital video recorders already discourage criminal activity by recording irrefutable evidence of unlawful actions; awareness monitors amplify this message several fold,” he says. Again, depending on where they are mounted, cameras may be inconspicuous, but when potential vandals or criminals can see for themselves that their image is being captured and recorded clearly, the motivation to commit illegal acts often dissipates much faster. Reducing crime committed on vehicles decreases the cost and time required for legal actions to prosecute offenders, and again it increases rider confidence they are in a safe place. Timely messages and added revenue In addition to displaying live camera views to enhance a surveillance system, the awareness monitors can also be used to publicize other messages. Critical information and public service announcements can be displayed, informing the ridership of new agency initiatives and marketing campaigns. Instead of static posters or billboards, the content can be dynamic and bright, demanding attention. This attractive, prominent space can also be sold to advertisers and service 8

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When potential vandals or criminals see that their image is being captured and recorded clearly, the motivation to commit illegal acts often dissipates.

partners, increasing revenue. With some creative thinking, even more uses for awareness monitors can be imagined to communicate effectively with your customers. Your on-board surveillance system represents a significant investment of not only agency capital, but also your personnel’s time and consideration to equipping your vehicles with the best possible solution. Consider promoting this effort and technology to your riders with a clear image of themselves. Steven Winnefeld is the documentation specialist for Safety Vision, LLC, a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com. For a complete set of references please visit: http://bit.ly/1IwdQCu.

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The future of mobile surveillance: open architecture By Steven Winnefeld

Since surveillance was first introduced to mobile environments, the hardware has been primarily closed systems. This was likely due not only to market expectations, but the limits of the technology. As competing vendors raced to engineer solutions for the unique challenges that moving buses propose, the available hardware became diverse and increasingly complicated and proprietary. The use of VCR cassette tapes or hard disc drives that had to be manually removed and laboriously catalogued necessitated a system that was not easily integrated with other security and safety concerns. Today the expectations of recorded visual evidence are much more defined and scrutinized as our technological resources have expanded. The public anticipates a clear visual record of critical events almost immediately after they are reported. Current technology has delivered convenient features such as the ability to download video to a centralized storage server wirelessly via a WiFi network, but now cellular networks make logging into an application from any mobile device to view any live camera feed on any moving bus a reality. Applications such as Safety Vision’s Observer Management System PRO™ provide an incredible amount of options to maximize fleet surveillance administration, but systems like these are still limited to moving vehicles, and still only initially available to transit agency personnel. The next step is open architecture solutions. Open architecture removes proprietary constraints and simplifies maintenance, making it easy to swap out or upgrade components. But most importantly, it allows integration with a variety of other systems that can then be unified to form a seamless visual narrative. Now, instead of footage recorded on buses being downloaded to a specific server and reviewed using specific viewing software, the video can be integrated with all of the camera feeds from any networked digital video recorder in the city. Applications like Milestone System’s XProtect® suite are open platform, centralized video management systems that can show an unlimited number of cameras from an unlimited amount of “recording servers” in one application. Safety Vision has designed the next generation RoadRecorder® 8000 network video recording server to integrate seamlessly into the XProtect system. Cities or agencies equipped with Milestone

New technology, like the RoadRecorder® 8000 network video recording server pictured here, are being designed for seamless integration.

can now add up to 36 cameras on each bus to their stationary camera views. Personnel can watch as riders enter a terminal, board a bus or train, and then depart at their stop. Maintenance facility and administrative office cameras can be added too, for complete coverage of both riders and employees. Cities can integrate video from multiple municipal agencies. Law enforcement is now able to add mobile views to stationary city surveillance, recording the complete narrative of events and enhancing critical evidence. Public safety is greatly improved, presenting first responders with an effective tool to manage emergencies, reducing response times. Because systems like Milestone are open platform, the possibilities for available equipment and camera perspectives are limitless. Third party applications can be integrated, such as face and license plate recognition programs. Every agency is mandated with unique responsibilities that are often not covered by off-the-shelf solutions. Open architecture supports flexible hardware and software that adapts to your unique ecosystem. Mobile video no longer needs to be isolated. Telecommunication network technology has brought a new age of connectivity in all aspects of our lives. New open architecture products are the key to ensuring mobile video becomes a part of this new reality. Steven Winnefeld is the documentation specialist for Safety Vision, LLC, a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com. For a complete set of references please visit: http://bit.ly/1IwdQCu.

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New 360° camera technology expands surveillance possibilities By Steven Winnefeld The technology of 360° cameras, otherwise known as omnidirectional cameras, has been rapidly evolving over the past few years. The applications for this technology are readily apparent, coming quickly into use in photography, mapping streets and video conferences. Now this technology has matured, leading to 360° cameras with smaller, more compact enclosures that are perfect solutions for mobile mass transit surveillance problems. Some 360° cameras are large and cumbersome, often enclosing multiple cameras that capture images that have to be “digitally stitched” together with complicated software. Now there are 360° cameras in development that make use of only one very high-resolution image sensor, and a large fisheye lens that captures a circular angle of view of 180°, or an entire “hemisphere.” This image sensor and lens can be mounted in a mobile-rated enclosure similar to how conventional mobile cameras are installed on buses today. The “warped” or fisheye image that is recorded can be simply “dewarped” with a click of a button by current video playback software such as SafetyView® PRO. The image can then be panned and viewed by dragging the mouse. 360° cameras produce a panoramic image, which is an incredibly wide angle view in one frame. This has multiple benefits when installed on a transit bus. When an event starts at the front or back of the bus and travels to the other The top image displays how the 360° camera initially records video with a “warped” or fisheye side, you’ll need several conventional cameras to capture lens. When played back in SafetyView PRO, the bottom image is “dewarped” and the expansive all of the action. In the playback software, you might have view can be panned like a panoramic photograph. to arrange a few camera views side-by-side and pay careful attention to when objects leave one frame and enter another. With a maintain detail. Mobile-rated 360° cameras should, at a minimum, 360° camera, all of the movement is in a continuous, single frame, never record video at a resolution of at least 2K x 2K pixels. This is even leaving your view. Simply pan the 360° image as the event unfolds and greater than 1080P high definition. This extra resolution supports precise zoom capabilities to see distant objects in more detail. A never miss anything in a blind spot. Some buses and motorcoaches are installed with rather high 360° camera mounted in the front of the bus can capture the driver, seatbacks, or dividers that may obstruct certain views. The traditional the front seats, the farebox, the door – and you can also zoom in and method of solving this problem was simply to use more cameras, witness events happening outside the door with clarity, providing often installed low and at an angle to see around blocked views. A comprehensive evidence of events. Mobile-rated 360° cameras should also include powerful IR 360° camera is a more elegant solution – the camera is simply mounted centrally on the ceiling of the bus, producing a bird’s-eye view that lets illuminators to ensure bright and clear images in low-light conditions. you see down and over the tops of these high seatbacks. What was With all of these features combined, the video captured with 360° once a five or six-camera installation can be reduced to two or three cameras is more comprehensive, more complete, and ultimately more well-placed 360° cameras. Higher resolution images are created at a useful when improving the safety of both drivers and passengers. better angle with fewer cameras, less holes drilled into the bus interior Steven Winnefeld is the documentation specialist for Safety Vision, LLC, and less cables to install and maintain. In order to generate such an expansive field of view, the image a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com. For a sensor in a 360° camera must produce incredible resolution to complete set of references please visit: http://bit.ly/1IwdQCu. 10

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Preparation creates successful surveillance system installs By Steven Winnefeld Installing a new camera surveillance system on a fleet of buses or motorcoaches is a complicated and often stressful endeavor. Not only is it difficult to find enough downtime to get the equipment on vehicles, but new systems and software must be learned. However, with some preparation and clear communication with your camera system vendor, the process can go smoothly, the system will be more effective, and future maintenance can actually be simplified and reduced. Plan equipment locations and cabling for each vehicle Typically during a camera system installation, the locations and angles of the cameras is the aspect that receives the most attention. However, all of the equipment, including the digital video recorder (DVR), wireless bridges, battery backups, and most importantly, the cabling should be considered carefully. With fleets consisting of multiple vehicle models from different manufacturers, each should be considered individually, as vehicle bulkheads and hard points may differ considerably. Create a detailed schematic for each vehicle that includes the installed locations of the recorder, camera, all accessories, and all cable routes. Planning this out in detail in collaboration with your system vendor beforehand will provide a guide for everyone to follow and keep every installation uniform. You want to minimize the holes drilled into vehicle panels and assure proper functioning by planning the routes cables travel along a vehicle’s chassis. Proper slack or tension for camera cables is extremely important. Loose cables cause a potential hazard if they interact with moving vehicle parts. Cables run too tight will break connectors and kinks can cause poor connectivity. Space is often at a premium in bus radio boxes; make sure the cables do not obstruct access to any removable hard drives or cooling fan vents. Conduct a proper site survey for wireless installations Wireless downloading is becoming an increasingly popular option for larger transit agencies looking to simplify and automate the collection and storage of recorded video. Typically, as a bus returns to the maintenance facility, a wireless bridge connected to the buses’ DVR communicates to access points connected to the video management system (VMS). The position of these access points installed in and around your facility is critically important to the proper operation of these systems. If the signal between the vehicles and access points is poor or obstructed, critical video can be missed and you will spend countless hours troubleshooting poor connections. Existing network infrastructure and potential network expansions to accommodate these access points should be carefully studied and your camera system vendor should be very familiar with networking, data communication, and all of the associated equipment and tools. For larger agencies, or those with multiple facilities, consider contracting with an outside networking specialist who can conduct the site survey. A thorough site survey before hardware is installed will minimize network troubleshooting and ensure interference is eliminated. Create and maintain useful documentation The schematics, diagrams, installation and user guides for every component of the system should be carefully labeled, organized, cataloged, saved, and backed up.

For each vehicle, save a camera and equipment plan. For example, after each camera system is installed, Safety Vision Field Technicians run the DVR for several minutes, operate each connected equipment sensor, and take screenshots of the view from every camera. This ensures the system is operating correctly and provides a frame of reference for adjusting cameras in the future. During large installations, equipment checks may be skipped in the interest of time, but taking a few minutes now can save hours in the future. Take screenshots of network configurations as well. Jason Donat, Safety Vision service manager and frequent collaborator in maintaining client wireless installations, recommends keeping detailed spreadsheets that include the IP addresses and network activity of all connected equipment. This provides a checklist to ensure optimal network operation on a regular basis. Jason also utilizes detailed maps of the facility created during the site survey. Use screenshots from Google Maps or similar programs to get an accurate picture of the installation and label them to make locating potential issues easy. Included in the documentation should be saved configuration files for both vehicle recorders and wireless equipment. Most new DVRs, such as Safety Vision’s RoadRecorder® and Observer™ series include the ability to export configuration files to an attached thumb drive. These files can then be saved for both backup and to be copied onto multiple vehicles. They can be critically important in the future when the recorder requires firmware updates, which might reset the configuration to factory defaults. Have your staff observe the installation and ask questions Finally, after all of the planning is complete and the installations have begun, your responsibilities are not complete. Many agencies may take a “hands off” approach or get out of a vendor’s way during the install. This is a mistake! Ensure maintenance personnel are present during hardware installations to observe the process. The same goes for software. Make sure VMS operators are familiar with the functionality of the software and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Agency network administrators should be present to help with wireless installations, guide installers to the locations of servers, and advise on security protocols. To complete these preparatory goals, communication with your vendors is key. Organize frequent planning meetings and ensure channels are open for everyone to communicate questions and concerns. While hectic and complicated, taking a little extra time during the camera system installation can save a lot of time and frustration in the future. Steven Winnefeld is the documentation specialist for Safety Vision, LLC, a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at www.safetyvision.com.

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