4G video surveillance meets GPS fleet management
By Johnson Yang
Web-based in-vehicle surveillance and is more important to today’s fleet management than ever before. At this time, the majority of fleet management activity is web-based in some way, giving operator and dispatch managers easier access regardless of the location of the buses and drivers.
Still, a large portion of fleet management systems don’t offer video capability. A lot of fleet management systems can only monitor using GPS, but not view a situation with video. When dispatch managers are eager to know for sure what is occurring during an incident with the fleet, the GPS-only technology only goes so far.
4G with GPS delivers the bigger picture
4G is the cellular connection tunnel from the driver and vehicle to the command center that allows a video surveillance system to transmit streaming data immediately to the dispatch command center when a significant event occurs on the route. While fleet management relies heavily on the wide use of GPS, additional video coverage is much more difficult without 4G capability. 4G in combinationwith GPS allows managers to view routes and drivers to instantly assess weather, road conditions and outside circumstance, and to communicate and respond in real time.
Dispatchers have the capability to tap into the surveillance visually, which alleviates the guesswork and having to call the driver on a cell phone.
4G system integration varies
Streaming video over 4G is the fastest connection currently available. However, as prevalent as 4G is today, the question then becomes why fleet management video surveillance is not in use everywhere. For a variety of reasons, it has mostly to do with the technical aspects of system integration. With so many video surveillance providers, the specifications may be different for each system, which make it more difficult to integrate and still attain flawless 4G video streaming.
4G integration is a different scenario for every company. Each one will have its own way of implementing the technology, meaning myriad different compression ratios as the cloud fills with more and more videos.
One bus may have as many as eight cameras that use much more bandwidth for video streaming and thus take more time to integrate. Some companies use H.264, others MPEG4, and others still use Motion JPEG. Those videos are typically not easy to handle, not to mention when having to transmit over 4G. With so many surveillance providers, the specifications may be different for each one; making it very difficult to integrate with web-based fleet management and still attain flawless 4G video streaming. Traditional surveillance access goes through a firewall, involving DDNS and port forwarding, which increases the complexity of integrating video with fleet management.
For example, to access a DVR or camera remotely, the dispatch manager must go through a router. Most transportation companies put the DVR and camera behind a firewall. Given the nature of transportation, port forwarding set-up and remote access configuration become necessary. One way to simplify the process is Unique Device Identification (UDID). Similar to an iPhone or Android, every device carries its own unique identification number for easier contact.
The Plustek solution incorporates a UDID for each device to help with the 4G integration process, and also utilizes peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to leverage the UDID through the Plustek software and mobile app with a server. The software directly connects to the device without going through those complicated settings.
P2P is very easy to code into existing fleet management systems. The integration involves only a few lines of code. HTTP coding with a correct UDID, channel and camera number is all it takes. Integration does not require back-end servers and the other complexities. It is quick, secure and streamlined.
UDID and P2P are not new technologies. Traditional surveillance began using them some time ago for consumer applications. Regular maintenance is not required after implementation. The system is operative so long as long as the video and 4G/GPS are live and the vehicle is running.
P2P software is the solution that forgoes the integration process. By streamlining the complexity, it eases the barrier for standard fleet management to integrate with video surveillance, and provides flawless streaming video over 4G connections.
Johnson Yang is the vice president of sales at Plustek Security in Southern California. Plustek Security is a manufacturer of ruggedized, high quality mobile surveillance products. To learn more, visit www.plusteksecurity.com