Free Wireless Surveillance for Cities?

By John Grocke, Published Aug 14, 2013, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

Many IPVM end user members have reached out to us asking about a company offering wireless surveillance that sounds almost too good to be true. While most systems cost $10,000+ per camera, this company is offering it for more than 80% less, plus free infrastructure if the city can get a few businesses to buy cameras. How is this company doing that? Is it too good to be true? In this note, we examine the offerings of WildFire Connections.

WildFire's WPI Plan

*** ***** ** ***** *******, ******** ****** **** **** ***** "*** Plan", ** *********** **** ******* ****** funding, * ******** ***** ************ ****** *** be ******** ** "********* ** **** to *** **** ** ****** **********".  The **** ********** ** **** **** WildFire ******** ******* *** ********* ** a **** ** $*,***-*,*** ****. ********'* video ****** **** ** *** ******* sector ********* *** ** *** *******, ***** is ** **** ** *** **** or ******. ******** ******** *** ******** **************, central *** *** ******* ***** ***** of *** *******. *** * ***** city ** * ****** ****** **** no ******, **** ** ** ******** prospect. 

**** *******

**** ******** **** ********, *** ***** issue ** *** ** **** *** above ****** ****** ** *** ******* installation. **** ********* **** * ******* 5-camera **** ****** *** * ***** town ********* ***** ******* $**,*** *** $18,000 ***** *********. ** *** ******* sector ********* *** *******, **** ***** still ***** ***** $*,*** ** $**,*** of ************ ***** ********, ***** ** not ******* "********* ** ****". *** **** or ****** ***** **** ** ****** this **** ** **** ********** *******. Other ***** *** ******** ** **** of *** **** ******* *****, ********, conditioned ***** *** ***, ******** ****** with * ****** ** *******, *** a ******** ****** ***** ******** **** as * **** ******** ** ***** tower *** * *** ******** *******'* main ***** *****. 

***** **** ****, ******** **** *** maintains *** ******* *****, *** *** NVR *** **** ********'* ********* *** be ***** ** *** *******. ************, WildFire ******* ******** **** *** ***** police or *******'* ********** *** ****** ****** to *** ****** ** ***** ** qualify *** **** ****, *** **** requirement *** ** ******.    


******** ****** *** ******** **** ******* on * **** ***** ****

System *******

*** ******** ****** ***************** ***** *** ********, ******* **** a *** **-***** ****** (******** **** the **** ****) ******** ** ****** 5 ******* *** ** ****. **** build ***** *** ******* **-*****: * 2MP ******** ***** ****** *** $*,*** and * ** ******** *** *** $1,995.

*** **** ****** ******** ******* *** small ***** ******** ** * ******* relay *********** ***** ** * **** building ** * ***** ***** *********** *********** ***** ** *** ****** *********, **** with * ****** **** ** ***** back ** *** ******* *****. *** installations **** **** **** ** ***** or ******** ****** **** ******* ********* or ***** *********, ******** **** ****** a ******** ******* ******** ***** ***** brands ** ******** ********* ** ******** is *** ****-****** *** ***** ************ *** additional ***** *** ********.

**** *** ******* ***** ** ** expanded, ******** **** *********** *** ******* and *** ********* ** ****** ** part ** *** ********* ******* *****, as *** ******** **** *** ******** the *******. * "****** *******" *** patrol **** ** **** ***** ** usually ******** **** *** **** ****. WildFire ******** *** ****** ** *** NVR *** ******* *** ***** *** system ************* ******* ** ***** ******* operations ******. **** ***** *********** *****, but *** *** ******** ** ** *********. WildFire ******** * *** **** ******** on *** *********.


******** ******* ***** ****** ******* ** a ***** *****

************

******* ** ***** ********, ******** ************ their ****** ************* ** ***** ******** companies *** ***** * ********** **-**** for ****** *************. ******** **** ******** a **-*** ******** ** ************ *****. Subcontracted ************* ****** *** *** **** of *** ******* ****, ********** **** the ********** ** ******** ************. * city ** ****** ********** * ******** system ***** ** **** ** ********* inspect *** ************ *** **** **** that *** ************ *** ********* ******* ****** the ***** ***** ******** *******.

Scale ***********

*****, ********* *** ***** *** ******* for * **** **** ************ ******, covering **** ****** *****. **** '***' is *** * ******** *** ****. For **** *****, **** **** ********* mesh ******** ** ***** ***** ******* would ** ********.

******

*** ******* **** ** *** ****** isn't "****" **** ************ *** **** of **** ******* ****** *** ******** in, *** ** ***** *** ** economical. *******, ** ** ** ***** as * *-****** ******** ****** *** be **** * ******** ** *****, Ubiquiti, *** *********** ******* ** ******* *******. For ** ****** **** * ******* budget, **** *** ** * ****** option *** ***** ** ***** ***** ****** the******* *** *******, *** ** ***** **** * cost ** ***** **** ** * proprietary ******. *** ********, **'* ** opportunity ** *** ***** **** ** the **** **** * **** ** county *** ** ****-********** *** ****** additions *** ********.

Comments (9)

Sounds like a great idea for small towns imho.

Why do I get the feeling there's a deeper "catch" to all this? I'm the last one to buy into conspiracy theories, but somehow I foresee some kind of trick "gotcha" scenario with all this... nothing SINISTER per se, but...

Ever see the movie "The Net"?

Margarita, The thing to me is that once the fine print is considered -- LoS only, Ubiquiti, installation paid separately, restrictions on adding other devices -- it's an approach that most local integrators could take for a similar price and functionality.

"Ubiquiti is not well-suited for these applications"

Why is this?

Because Ubiquiti is not designed to be a large scale city wide system for dozens or hundreds of cameras across a city.

Ganna have to agree on J-Hon's statement here. Ubiquiti may be alright for a couple of cams in a small residential, cost cutting project, however, in city deployments with public safety on the line, you gotta bring out the right stuff. By this I mean intelligent, wireless routers capable of the forwarding rates and bandwidth that the latest megapixel, multi-imager and PTZ cams require. You also want the ability to choose your camera make and model to suit the application. With this, you will find that each camera and VMS combination behave differently, and each combination have varying “levels” of sensitivity to latency in the network. Some combinations can tolerate moderate latency and packet retransmission while others are intolerant and will behave erratically – image artifacts, disconnections, etc. So it becomes necessary to have tight control over your wireless network, with high configurability and be able to adapt to changes in the RF environment to suit the project. Cannot stress enough the importance of proper engineering of these projects.

Bottom line, wireless deployments aren’t trivial, so align yourself with companies that understand this and can deliver results, not promises.

Side note: Starting at 00:39 in the video – I don’t see 30FPS in those images. Do you?

I'm actually going to step in on the opposite side of this argument. While I wouldn't ever run 100 cameras on Ubiquiti (I might not even run 10), I think for a small, and I mean small town (5000 people or so) who wants to run four cameras, why not Ubiquiti?

If these towns have the option of something (Ubiquiti and low cost cameras) for $200 per link plus $1600 per camera (plus install) versus nothing (because they can't afford $3000 links and cameras), why would the not take the low cost option? Especially if Wildfire is including maintenance on this gear.

The phrase "Ubiquiti is not well-suited for these applications" is in the context of large scale applications (see the original text). We are not objecting to Ubiquiti for a handful of cameras. The point is about end users being realistic and not thinking they can throw out dozens of Ubiquiti nodes and cover their whole city like it was no big deal.

Mike - the shots on the monitoring screens didn't look like 30fps to me either, although WildFire emphasized 30fps at least twice in the video.

Piping five 2MP cameras @ 30fps across five nanostations to a central point might create some network congestion/latency. The most I have ever done successfully with Ubiquiti is 6 but at much lower frame rate and resolution.

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