Subscriber Discussion

Mobile NVR/DVR Reviews?

Has IPVM done reviews of mobile DVR/NVRs before? Comparing companies like Dedicated Micros, March, Apollo, Interlogix/MobileView, Safety Vision, etc? I did a quick search but didn't see anything.

Kevin, we have not done any reviews of mobile DVR/NVRs. Mainly we have not had a lot of requests. We are open to it though if there are more interested.

Also, hopefully some other members have some info to share.

We did have a discussion recently on a Large School Bus Camera Deployment that included mobile DVRs.

What is the defining feature for this equipment thst makes it better than other dvr, nvr that makes them better for mobile applications? Size, 12vdc...

Ruggedness / ability to withstand the pounding / environment of a bus; wireless transfer, GPS tagging / tracking, etc.

I am aware of project in Paris where, GE Security (at that time) had a deal to install DVRs on all metro transport systems. When the vehicle was back at their home base it would sync up the recorder to a central storage system all the days recording. The system was called UltraView.

John, thanks for the link.

In addition to what John listed, these mobile systems normally have to interface with other bus components like turning signals, door actuation, other vehicle/engine controls, and include an accelerometer. The backend systems then use all this metadata offloaded by the vehicles to a central system(s). Much the same way you could have a VMS looking at certain cameras from an area of a building, a technician could pull the data/video/audio from multiple vehicles in a given location using GPS information.

These systems have a "tagging" system. Where a driver via a push button, an accelerometer event, or other interface could have the on-board DVR tag the video and not let it overwrite it. The rest of the video is recorded at first in first out.

The more advanced functions of this I've mostly seen for public transit though, less on school busses. Public transit tends to want more cameras internally and externally up to 14, where school busses are normally less.

I was wondering if there were others in the IPVM community with any good/bad feedback on different products they've used. I'm guessing it's a bit of a niche when compared to the surveillance industry as a whole.

Kevin, Thanks for the explanation. That's helpful!

I suspect that a lot of these projects are sold direct and/or installed by non traditional integrators, which further reduces awareness / general interest.

The other thing that strikes me is that there does not seem to be a ton of innovation / changes in this space. For the most part, a high end product 5 years ago is a high end product today.

I agree on both points. There seems to be a niche market of less than 10 suppliers/integrators that work on these in the US. The major ones being listed in my original post.

For new technology, any new innovations will likely come from an RFP of one of the larger cities in the US. Since the companies providing these systems are relatively small, the cost of R&D isn't worth it for smaller projects. That, and they're busses and trains, there is only so much physical area you need to cover. Many of the RFPs take notes from APTA's playbook.

Some of the differentiating requests I've seen are:

License Plate Recognition - For forward facing cameras in cities with bus only lanes

People Counting - Not really that new, but not in all RFPs

Specific applications for drivers, such as producs like Drivecam (who it seems just got bought by another company) and Smart Drive.

Drivecam is definitely interesting, a lot different than the typical security DVR. We did an overview of Drivecam a while back.

ACS has used mobil DVRs with a lot of school districts in our area. Our major niche is schools and they requested mobile DVRs on their buses and one major questionst that we asked the school districts is "is there going to be someone monitoring the feed as it is mobily uploaded to their system?"

We ask this question because there are many different options on how the DVR talks to the cloud. You can use the mobile chip to upload in real time (more expensive) but the only reason that you would use this option is if you had someone dedicated to watching the live feeds coming in. You have the option to upload the video once the bus is in the bus yard and you can do this either through their network if it is strong enough or mobily. We have had a couple districts choose this option. The majority of the bus fleets we service however just used an ordinary DVR and if they need a video for either a hearing or dispute then they take a flash drive out to the bus in question and upload the video to the drive. A lot of the time mobile uploading isn't necassary for school districts needs.

Check into Lensec. They have a mobile solution that works well in the school bus market. With school districts, it is also about influencing driver behavior to promote outcome. If the driver can conduct day to day routes with the knowledge that the video will only be reviewed upon and event, they are less likely to actively modify their daily driving habits. Now, if you have a solution that can be interrogated without the driver being aware (such as remote viewing from the bus lot), then the driver never knows when they are being evaluated thus changing their daily habits. Lensec has a deployment in Texas with something like 700+ school spread across multiple transportation depots.

rather surprising that IPVM has no info on mobile DVR where there is such a big need for this service with fleet owners experiening huge challenges on petrol theft from syphoning from the tank to tapping into the injector, hijackings and unauthorised passengers. If anyone has some info I would love to hear from them.

Manfred Fichtl