Cellular (4G / LTE / 5G) For Video Surveillance Guide

By: IPVM Team, Published on Mar 06, 2018

In this report, we explain using cellular for video surveillance including:

  • 4G vs LTE vs 5G
  • 4G standards
  • 5G future
  • Advantage: Placing cameras "anywhere"
  • Advantage: Quick deployment
  • Disadvantage: Recurring costs
  • Disadvantage: Bandwidth caps
  • Disadvantage: Dependency on carrier network quality
  • Add on routers vs. Built In
  • 4G router types
  • Manufacturer availability
  • LTE onboard cameras
  • Consumer vs. Commercial
  • Add on antennas

** **** ******, ** explain ***** ******** *** video ************ *********:

  • ** ** *** ** 5G
  • ** *********
  • ** ******
  • *********: ******* ******* "********"
  • *********: ***** **********
  • ************: ********* *****
  • ************: ********* ****
  • ************: ********** ** ******* network *******
  • *** ** ******* **. Built **
  • ** ****** *****
  • ************ ************
  • *** ******* *******
  • ******** **. **********
  • *** ** ********

[***************]

4G ** *** ** **

************ ** * ******** delineations *** **** *** cellular ************** ***** *** release ** *** *** Generation ** ******** (**). 4G ** *** *** Generation ** *********, **** LTE ***** * ********* term ** ******** **** 4G ******** **** ********* ** ************ **** *** ******* ** performing ** *** **** specifications ** *** ** standard (*** **** ****** just **** **). ** is *** *** ********** of *** ************* ********.

4G *** ********

*** *** ******** ********** standard ** ********* *** up ** * **/* download ** ********** ******* (such ** *******, **** routers, ***.) *** *** Mb/s ** ****** ******* such ** ********.

**** *** ******** ******* to *** ******* ** the *** (**** **** Evolution) ******, *** ****** available *** ******* ******** areas **** ***** ** most ***** *** ** demand **** ********* **** a ******** ****** ** smartphone ***** ****** **** same ******.

5G ******

***** *** ******** ***** 2019/20, ** ******** *** in********** *********. ***** ****** on **** *********** *** SMB ************ ** ********** to ***** ***** ******* services ***** ** ******** to ****** ** **** already **** **** ** LTE ********* (*** ****). 5G ***** ** * major ***** ******* ******* the****** ******* ** **** any ****** ******** ** 5G ******* **** * to ****** **** *** round **** ****, **** a **% ******** ** power *****, ********* **-**** battery **** *** ***** power *** *******.

Advantage: ******* "********"

***/******** ***********' **** ********* is **** ** **** not ******* **** ** sight ** * **** station ** ** ******* wi-fi ***** ***********, ******* connecting ** **** ******. This ***** **** ******* may ** ****** ****** anywhere ***** ** ******** signal, ******** **** ****** throughput ** *********. 

**** **** ***-**** ** sight **** *** **** that *********** ******** ****** be **** *** ****** signal ** **** *****, discussed *****, ****** **** omnidirectional ** **** ******. 

Advantage: ***** **********

******* *** ***** ** deployed **** ******* **** using ********, ******* **** power ** ******** ** deploy ******* ***** ******** (which *** **** ** eliminated ***** ***** ** some *****). ** ********, typical **-** ***** ******* require ********** ************** (******* cabling ** ********, ********** radios, ***.). 

Disadvantage: ********* *****

*** **** ************ ** using ******** *** ************ is ********* *****, ********* $XX/month. Pricing *** **** ******, depending ** ***** *** month, ****** *********, *** quantity ** *******, ****** safety/government *** **. *******, etc.

Disadvantage: Bandwidth ****

**** ******* ********** *** plan ************ **** ** other ******* ** *** world, **** *****-***** ********, and **** **** ** the ****** ******** **** Vodafone *** *********** "*********" plans. **** **** ******** in *** ** ***** "unlimited" **** *****, **** have * *** ** the ********* **** *** month, ** ***** ***** the ********* **** ** limited.

***** *** ******* ** high **** ***** *****:

  • *******: **/**** ******* **** limited ** *******
  • **&*: **** ******* **** limited ** *******
  • ******: **** ******* **** limited ***** **** ******* network ***********
  • ********: **-**** ******* **** no *********** ***** **** (Outside *** **)

*** ** **** *****, the *** ** ** a **** ***** ****:

  • ** ********: ***** **** limited (** ***** *********** on **** *****)

** **** *****, ***** are **** *********** ** plans ********* *** ********** and ***-****** ************* (********, places ** *******, ***), which *** **** ** actual **** ****, *** have * **** ***** monthly ****.

Disadvantage: ********* ** ********

************, *********** ** ********* on *** ******* ** a ***** ******** *******'* network, ******* ** ***** managed ** *** ********** or *** **** ** a ******. ******** ******** generally cite * **** ********** of ******, *** **** uptime *** *** ** at ****** ****** *** proper ************ *********.

Add-On Routers **** ******

**** ********** ******* *** 4G ***********, ***-** ******/******** are **** ***** ****, for *** *** *******:

  • ******* ************ ** ***** in **:*************, *** ******* ******* built ** ******** ************, and ***** ***** ** are **** ****** ***** brands **** ***** ********* camera *******. ***** ******** modems ****** ****** *** camera ** ** ****.
  • ****** ********: ******, ***** ** ******** router allows ***** ** ******* to *** ****** *** added *****, ****** **** count, ** ***** ********, instead ** ***** ****** into **** ** ********* on * ** ******** camera.

4G *** ****** *****

***** *** *** **** types ** ** ******* - ********* *** **** size - **** *********** in ******* ************* ******* the ***, ******** *****.

Miniature ** *******

********* ******* *** ********* large ****** **** ** connect * ****** *** modem *** ******** ******. These ******* ******** ******* to * ****** ****, which ****** ******* ** all ***** ******** ******* the ***** *** ******** port. *******, ******** ******** such ** *** **********, failover ** **** ** Ethernet *** ***** *** included.

************, ********* *******' ***** size ****** **** ** be ******* ** ****** housings, ****** *** ********** a ****** ****** ******* additional ********** ********.

Full **** ******* 

* **** ***** ********* routers ** ****, **********, and **********, ****-***** ******* build *** ** ***** support, *** ** **** SIM *****, ******** ******** ports, *** *****, ******** LAN **** *** ***** of *********. ***** ****** often ******* ******** **** suited *** ********* ********* higher-end ********, **** ** more ******* ******* *******, WAN ********, ** ***.** wireless ******.

*** ** ***** ******* featuresets, ****-***** ******* **** themselves ** **** ************ than ********* *******, **** as:

  • ****** ********: ***** **** ***** ******, cellular ************, *** ********, and ***.** ******** ****** into *** ****, * full-size ****** *** ******* several ********** ** ************* requiring ******** ********. ** systems ********* **** ************, many ******* ******* ********* failover, ********* **** ***** backhaul ** ** ************* if ************ ** ****. Finally, *****-** ***.** ********** allows **** ******** ** serve ** * "*** spot", ***** *** ** useful ** ********* *******, or ** ***** ********** systems **** ****** ***** forces, ******** ****** ** the ***** ******* **** in *********.
  • ****** *******: ******-******** ******* *** **** be ****** ** ****** command *******, ** **** build ******** ************, ** well ** ***** *** wireless ******** **** *** box. **** ****** ********* communications, **** ** ***** command ******* ** ****** response ********, ** ** set ** **** * single ***** ** *********, instead ** ******** *******, switches, *** ******** ****** points.

Manufacturer ************

*** **** ******** ***** manufacturers ** **/*** ****** in ************ ***:

***** ************* ***** ********** modems ******** *** ******* enclosure ***, ***** *** be **** *** ********* failover **** ***** ** wireless ***********, ** **** as ******** ******** **** as **** *** *****, simultaneous ******** *** ******** modem ***, ****** **********, and ****.

******** ****** **** **************-******** ***** ******** ********/*******, but ***** ****** *** typically *** ********** ** as ******* **** ** those ****** *****, ****** they *** **** **** use ** ****** ************ for ***** ******* ** monitoring *******. 

LTE On-Board *******

**** ********** ****** ************* have ******** ****** **** 4G ***** ********** ***** in, ****** *** ***-** USB ***** ** *****-** SIM ***** (*** *** coverage ********* ****'* ******* *****************'* ***-*****).

**** ****** *** ******** in *** ********/*** *******, with**** **,****, *** *-****'* *** 1820 [**** ** ****** available] *** ********* *****-** 4G **********. *******, ***** models ********* ** *** integrate **** ***** *********/***** or ******* *****, ****** them *********** ********** *******. 

Using ********

***** ****** ******** *** vary ****** ******* *********, it ** *********** **** users ****** **** *** modems ******** **** ******** antenna *****. **** ***, for ***-****** *****, ***** may **** ****** ************ ********* *** ********* ** the ******* ***** ******** sufficient ****** *** ****** bandwidth.

** **** ****** ****** nearby ****** ***** ** street *******, ***** *** ***** to ****** ******** ***** as*************.***, ***** ***** **** towers *** ********* ****** of ************. 

Edge ********* **. ***********

******* **** **** ********* video *** ******* *** up ******* ******** **** bandwidth ******, ***** ****** consider ***** **** ********* on ** *******. **** way, ***** ***** *** be ******** **** ****** and * ***** ********* (reduced ********** ** ****** compressed) ****** *** ** used *** **** **** in, ******** ********* *****.

****: ***** *** ******** using **-****** "*********" ***** to ******* ** *******, but ******** *** ******** bandwidth ** ***** *****, regardless ** ****.

Cellular ****** **********

*** ***** ********* ******** cellular ********* ******* ** other *******, ***** **** ** manage ***** *******, ******** upgrades ********, *** *** detailed ****** *** ** important ******* ***** ******* are **** ****** ** be ******* ** ****** areas **** ******* ******** cameras. **** ** ******** with **** ************ ******** such *************'* ******** *************** ********' ******* ********** Service.

*******, ****** ******* ********** software **** ******************, ***** ********* *** proprietary, **** ** ****** only **** ******** *******'* products. ******* ********** ******** may ** **** *** SNMP, ******, ** ***** methods, *** ******** **** detailed ***********.

Poll / ****

Comments (37)

I remember when I went to Bestbuy (Canada) and asked for a router with LTE support. I just needed a quick project done and there was no Internet on-site. Guys didn't really understand what I want, they have never heard of the routers with sim-card slot or USB LTE sticks :)

Finally, I've got a Huawei router from Rogers and I used flexible data plan ($45USD/5GB and $15USD for every 10GB on top of that, no throttling). That's good enough for occasional access to small CCTV system.

A cool thing i found about Dahua recorders (HCVR at the time but i guess other producers or models would do the same) is that you can plug an USB modem in the recorder directly and config the connection settings and it will work. One modem for a few cameras seems good enough for most small aplications. But of course you cant do much security on that connection anymore

That's interesting. I wonder how many other recorders have that capability. I don't think I ever noticed it in the web interface, so maybe it's only available when a modem is connected?

I will have that checked and let you know . I remember they gave me a list of tested USB dongles and it was very generic DVR model ( as in all their recorders did this ) so it might be there for all and just lost in the menu tree somewhere ? This was in 2014-5 so quite long time ago.

I did a large desert project with 8 camera towers spread out over 5 miles and used Verizon for the Internet connection. It worked really well and I was pleased with how it performed. I am impressed with how well cellular Internet works and what we can do with it. I just wish I had more outdoor installations to build. 

Out of curiosity, do you know how much the service for that cost per month? And how were cameras configured? Where was video stored?

Cell providers typically charge end users between around $40 - $80 per month per line. Usually the lower end of that range is reserved for contract based agreements with large public/municipal agencies. Typically you'll also want a Static IP which requires a special arrangement with the carrier and can incur additional charges (setup, or IP assignment costs).  

At the time the cost was about $50 a month. The cameras were all connected to a DVR at the time. So all data was recorded locally. Here is a link to the project:

http://herocctv.com/products/broadsword.html

Kind of related maybe a separate thread? - I have heard of “public service LTE” specifically for use by law enforcement, govt and military. Does anyone know details or specs and if that has any caps on throughput or data? 

Are you referring to FirstNet? 

Its the first responder network being built out by AT&T 

This is the only public safety LTE network I am aware of, though I'm not sure if they are going to support streaming video from fixed cameras on this network. I would guess they are going to be hesitant about it to avoid network saturation.

I do know they intend to support first responder and event based video streaming.

Verizon has a special 'D block' section of their 4G for law enforcement.  I've used it for cellular bait cars. It's supposed to be a secure wireless LAN for internal networking use. It was actually a big pain in the butt to use due to that. When I'd get the aircards set up, I had to specifically tell the customer to tell their Verizon rep that they needed the cards 'un-Restricted', in other words 'normal'.  and not locked to the internal network. The bright side is the data rates are a lot cheaper, no data caps, and they are supposed to have priority service, meaning if the towers are busy, they have bandwidth and service allocated to them first.   However, this was a couple of years ago, so I don't know what's changed.  Get a hold of a government account rep to ask about the specifics these days.

 

I have deep specialization in this area, having designed and built thousands of cameras deployed with cellular as primary connectivity. 

Typically these are located remotely, and either very hard or very expensive to service which I would add as a key consideration of anyone looking to deploy similar systems.  Specifically we include health monitoring and power control mechanisms into every build.  This gives us continuous awareness as to functionality and the ability for the system to self-recover if problems occur.  More advanced power control systems allow individual control of internal sub-systems as well as scheduling, which can be a great tool as well.

In terms of storage, we never recommend continuous remote streaming/centralized recording unless the customer has a special arrangement with the carrier (i.e. public safety).  Even then you are risking problems not just based on bandwidth usage but also network performance.  Typically we'll utilize edge recording based on a Milestone solution so there is a full VMS aspect which makes review and export a snap for end users.

No matter what you do, in order to get good performance in a robust and reliable solution, the hardware costs more than anything installed in a traditional security environment. This can be challenging to explain to certain clients, but it's a must because cut corners = quick path to failure. 

Not all projects are the right fit but if the budget is there and you design systems correctly, cellular based systems can be an amazingly flexible and robust solution.

Chris

Has anyone tried Peplink for routers?

 

 

Peplink products typically are targeted at use cases where advanced VPN (bonding, aggregation, multi carrier failover, so on) support is needed.  They do have more simplified gateways etc as well but more commonly they would be used in a mobile, broadcast and similar environments.

IMHO Sierra Wireless is the way to go, I have had wonderful success with their gateways for a very long time.

 

We use Peplink alot after switching from Cradlepoint.  We have one project we are building out with 130 locations with all locations running Peplink with VPN back to the SOC. Peplink has been very reliable and easy to manage large deployments.

I have actually used Peplink home routers for a cellular hog trap.  Seems to work ok. What I like about them is they run on 12v, so you can battery or solar power them easily (which is what we did)

 

Thanks for the feedback. What is a cellular hog trap BTW?

We were counting and recording wild pigs in the forest for the State of Kentucky.  So we had a camera connected to a motion detector that I designed and built which would turn on a remote camera hooked up to Verizon. The system used multiple IR sensors so it could tell if the wild pig was entering a open feeding pen or leaving. If they entered it would turn on the camera and register the pig. It ignored when pigs left. 

Very similar to Brian.   In Texas we have a big problem with wild hogs. So some people have made systems with IP cameras on cellular routers, and they use the IO outputs on the camera to trigger a gate trap to catch them

 

http://hog-texas.com/

LOL, I was becoming slightly paranoid that I had not familiarized myself with some new industry related terminology!

 

My Ego is not my Amigo!

Most cellular gateway devices from Peplink, Cradlepoint, Multilink, Sierra Wireless, etc operate from a wide DC input range.  Some are specifically low power designs and lend themselves to solar applications.

Interesting results on the poll on this post: 26% of integrators say they deploy 4G for surveillance/security "very often", which is probably about double what I expected. 

It could be that mainly those interested in 4G are clicking this post and voting, but also maybe not, as there have been hundreds of reads today since this was released.

I run investigations for a retail chain and have been trying to experiment with a "drop and go" system where we could install a couple of covert cameras and connect them to a DVR for recording.  The DVR would then be connected to a router which is then connected to a Cradlepoint bridge with a 4G card so that we can tie and and review/pull back video footage as needed.  I have tried to set up port forwarding to be able to access the unit remotely by going to the DYNDNS service but have been unable to get it running.  Any thoughts?

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: DVR Connection Over 4G Wireless Issue

Your issue is the carrier likely not allowing inbound connections on the line of service you are using.  Most do not unless you have a specifically assigned publicly acessible IP. 

Also if you get that addressed you could simplify your setup significantly:

Camera w/onboard SD card -> cellular gateway -> remote user access.

We design and sell solutions like this for law enforcement use.

Chris

 

Refurbished Laptop running Chrome remote desktop (or teamviewer etc...) in the mix might help.

 

Actually said Laptop could be your DVR, if you pick appropriate cameras. I know Hik can do this.

I created a new topic for this, so it doesnt get buried in this comment section.

I installed servision mobile DVR in Trucks then setup a monitoring station on the PC. I was using LTE doggle for connectivity to cellur Network however, the system could not perform well. There was frequent Loss of connection and unstable connection.

I have a lot of experience with Servision units in vehicles. What I like about the Servision units is that they are DVRs first, which means if the cellular connection drops, the video is still being recorded. Also, integrated GPS, Wifi, I/Os and 2 way audio.  Their software is free and the mobile app isn't bad. 

 

What I don't like about them, they are expensive and require a lot of config.  Servision also isn't really on top of the ball with getting aircards that are used in the USA supported on their equipment, since the majority of their business is done outside the USA.  Most of their aircards are older models that are getting very hard to find.

I've not tried their IP units, my experience was a couple years ago with the analog ones.

But, to your point, one of our solutions to signal dropping was to use external antennas on the aircard.  Most aircards have external antenna ports underneath a little rubber plug along the side.  Keeping that antenna covert is a pain, but if you're not worried about that you can do a mag mount or window mount (looks like a CB antenna) and that should help with your reception issues. 

I totally agree with you Scott regarding Servision units being DVRs that footage is retained in an event of cellular connection drops. Also, integrated GPS, Wifi, I/Os and 2 way audio including free software. These are quite positive features which i like as well.

However, i did not like the design of of the SIM Card slot which sits on an external modem which connects to the DVR via USB port. This means poor connection between the Modem and DVR will result in unstable connectivity and this i experienced it.

The other issue is the cellular antenna that is connected to the modem is of poor connection resulting in signal loose. I feel an integrated modem in the DVR should have been better to avoid so many connections in the transmission line.

In a nutshell, i feel there is still a room for improvement to meant different environmental demands. 

Thanks.

 

 

[Shamless Plug]

We do a lot of cellular camera connections for our investigator clients who do not have access to the local WAN or just need a camera in a location for a short period so running wires is not an option.  

Many of our clients come to us after they have tried to use the cell service offered by the carriers with one of the hardware options above.  Unfortunately, the carrier plans available at retail are throttled so you only get full 4G speed for the first few hundred mb per month after that they slow you down to 2g speeds or slower.  The other issue is getting a static IP address from the carriers is expensive.

By leveraging our existing data relationships from our GPS business we were able to get agreements with carriers to offer unthrottled 4G service with an optional static IP address for just $10/mo.  We sell this data service under our B-Link brand.

Our price model is 19.99/mo for 1GB then if you go over it's $24.99/GB for all additional data. we email to let you know if you are trending towards an overage. Most clients never go over 1GB by sending only motion events but some use over 10GB/month with no speed decrease. 

 
-Todd

We pay Verizon $80.00 for 10G of 4G per month, unthrottled.  Your pricing would put us at $225.00 a month for same.  Did I read that wrong?  We did have to purchase static IP's which we did a year or more ago.  We bought a batch of them at $500.00 but I don't recall how many that gave us - way more than we needed then or in foreseeable future.

If you use 10gb every single month then we would put you on a 10gb plan which is less than $19 for the first GB and $24 for each additional gb.

However, most of our clients do not use 10gb every single month.  The vast majority of our clients use 1GB most months with higher usage during peak times.   So the avg might be 2-4 GB/mo over the entire year.   

If you are looking for a quote in consistent high bandwidth every month just send me an email.   todd@brickhousesecurity.com   but our flex plan is the best way to only pay for what you use when you use it. 

The $500 Verizon feed is to set up an M2M account.  This account gets you static IP addresses, pooled data and most importantly publicly routable IP addresses. Also, these accounts are month to month. 

You can set up an account for each of your customers OR you can set up an account for your company and add your customer's plans to your account. 

At another job I installed Cisco routers with cellular back up for a chain of banks, but more frequently I installed Cradlepoint routers, also as backup, for retail chains.

If the signal did not meet spec we would swap the SIM for another carrier, then try a longer antenna, installed in a different area inside.  If signal still did not meet spec then an external antenna would be installed.  Shown below is a penetration hole with the cable run up a 10' section of EMT to an omnidirectional antenna. I installed about 20 of these external antennas.

Great post. We're looking into 4G connectivity for customers. However a static IP address starts with a $500 'new account' fee, for both Verizon and AT&T. When your customer only needs 1 static IP, that an be a little high. We're researching the option of sticking with dynamic IP and using a Dynamic DNS (DDNS) service like NoIP to regain the benefit of a static IP. The second part of the equation would be setting up the VPN with this configuration. There seems to be conspicuously little talk around the interwebs about this setup. Perhaps we're missing something. Is there any experience with this? 

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: 4G Connectivity With Static IP - Should We Use This?

Looking to see if there are updates on this thread as you know one year can be a huge difference in technology. Have cellular rates come down? Cradlepoint/Peplink still most preferred?

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