Video surveillance is a fact of life

The reasons mount for new streamlined products and technology

By David Hubbard

Electronic surveillance in public spaces is a fact of life. In response to increased violence, abnormal passenger behavior and inattentive driving, anyone anywhere could be watched or recorded by cameras, holding all accountable.

Monitoring, managing and protecting against such issues has never been easy, making the installation of video surveillance systems with multiple camera views both inside and outside the bus the most viable solution.

The best systems incorporate audio and GPS location capabilities to produce real-time information.

Video surveillance is a proven preventative measure on motorcoaches, transit vehicles and school buses that management has come to rely on in the event of problem behavior or incidents on buses. The immediate and most accurate feedback is invaluable to administrators and managers who have the job of confronting the individuals involved.

The video surveillance systems also provide liability protection in case there is legal action against the company.

Typically in the case of an incident a DVR begins recording automatically when an impact sensor gives the signal. The impact sensors date and time stamp the images. The buses also have panic buttons. When the driver hits the panic button a market is placed on that recording, making the incident easy to find.

Used properly a surveillance system promotes safety, prevents discipline problems and deters vandalism and more serious crimes.

With cameras in place on the vehicles, accessibility to the information is everything. Though beneficial, it is becoming less acceptable to merely store video as an archive of an incident. Today it is about the front office having access to the video onboard in real-time, especially at the moment an incident is occurring.

247 Security for mobile applications
247 Security, Alpharetta, GA, researches, designs and builds video systems for mobile applications with a focus on public transit and school bus transportation.

Robert Scott, 247 Security vice president of sales and marketing, says generally the interest in surveillance equipment has waned as a result of a poor economy, but it is more than offset by its growth in the transit market. His company sees the big issue driving sales is one the transit industry understands better than anyone—the value of video surveillance when it comes to liability management. Scott says transit authorities are looking far beyond just monitoring onboard behavior.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, the transit industry considers one recorded video image easily worth a million dollars,” he says. “The capability to review accidents and incidents is a sure way to reduce liability.”

Scott says the purchase of surveillance equipment often starts out as a sizeable capital outlay that managers and politicians may view as a non-essential item. But when presented as a factor in the equation of liability management, the expenditure suddenly takes on greater importance.

“In five years video surveillance systems could easily be a default standard,” says Scott. At least the industry is heading that direction. I think the day is coming when video surveillance will be routinely installed on all new public transit vehicles with a return on investment attached. The insurance industry certainly understands this.”

247 Security says pupil transportation professionals enjoy the benefit of rugged and reliable technologically advanced digital video recorders that are simple to install and operate. The company says its snap and click installation process is the simplest process in the industry.

A rugged industrial computer built into a compact housing that is small enough to mount almost anywhere drives the technology.

“Modern technology components continue to shrink,” says Scott. “There is only so much space on a bus. Our goal is to reduce the footprint down to a size that is not too intrusive.”

247 Security says its security cameras capture and record at a very high resolution.

“A resource sharing process on some systems greatly reduce the resolution of multiple cameras,” says Scott. “Our cameras each come with its own processor. Regardless of the number of cameras, the resolution remains top quality.”

Wireless capability is becoming more important as technology advances. Transit managers want the capability to access the video in real time.

Radio Engineering Incorporated (REI), Omaha, NB, is a 70-year-old company that offers an extensive line of quality commercial electronics for thousands of manufacturers, suppliers and operators in the transportation industries that include audio/video surveillance systems. The company says International ISO-9001 Quality Standards govern its entire manufacturing operation.

The 400 Series of mobile digital recorders offers simple transfer of video from the bus to the office, without the cost of extra hardware.

The 500 Series packs additional features into a smaller package, turning the video system into an information system that also bundles with other features such as WiFi and GPS.

The product line does not overlook the importance of surveillance with the inclusion of BUS-WATCH® surveillance systems and the ECHO-integrated hands-free passenger address system.

The company says International ISO-9001 Quality Standards govern its entire manufacturing operation. BR

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