March Mobile Overview

By Ethan Ace, Published Jan 29, 2012, 07:00pm EST

In this update, we will examine the mobile recording offering of surveillance provider March Networks.

Product Overview

The March mobile [link no longer available] recorder line consists of two models, the 5412 [link no longer available] twelve-channel model, and the eight-channel 5308 [link no longer available]. Mainly differing in the number of inputs, these models have several features in common, detailed below. March also offers several models of cameras [link no longer available] appropriate for use in transportation, including interior, exterior, and specialty models, such as those used for a view through the windshield or along the side of the bus.

Hybrid Recording Capability

March's mobile recorders are capable of managing both analog and IP cameras. This allows for less expensive analog cameras to be used, which is normal in most cases, as the field of view in the bus is typically small. In cases where users prefer better resolution, especially long shots from the front and rear of a vehicle, the recorders may also handle megapixel resolutions.

Wireless Capability

The mobile recorders are capable of 802.11 wireless connectivity, which can be used for video offload or retrieval from a central location. No 3G/4G connectivity is available on-board, but may be added via external router. Bus operators are leaning more towards using an external router for all systems, as it may help to reduce the number of devices required on-board, where space can be at a premium, and also the number of retrofit penetrations required to the outside of the bus. 

Sensor Integration

The March mobile line is capable of integrating to GPS, accellerometer, and other systems via USB or serial connection. These devices are sold as accessories, but often come factory installed in buses, in which case the DVR is integrated to the bus's on-board systems. Some buses also receive "tag" buttons, which are mounted near the driver, allowing him/her to mark video of incidents as they happen for quicker retrieval later during investigation.

Video Offload

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Video stored on each mobile recorder may be retrieved in a few ways. First, using wireless connectivity, operators may log in the recorder to manually investigate or retrieve incidents. Second, video may be automatically offloaded when the vehicle returns and is in wireless range at the end of its route. This may either be all video on the recorder's hard drive, or only video associated with "tagged" incidents. Last, since both models of recorder feature removable hard drives, the entire hard drive may be removed and plugged into an investigative station. Video is normally automatically offloaded, with the last method is typically reserved for when major incidents occur.

Client Software

The March mobile line uses the VideoSphere Mobile client software for viewing of live (assuming high-speed wireless access) and archived video, as well as event investigation. Using this client, operators may also review video directly from removable hard drives. In GPS-equipped vehicles, users may also play back each vehicle's route on any given day.

Competitive Comparison

March's mobile recorder line starts at about $7,000 for a basic 8-channel model, and ranges through ~$12,000 for a 12-channel model with options. Compared to many widely available off-brand recorders, this is much higher. March has a few claimed advantages over competitors, however.

  • First, they claim better reliability, due to better shock- and vibration-proofing, as well as better regulated power supplies. Vehicular power can be very dirty and fluctuate widely, which may lead to damage to power supplies and other electronics.
  • Second, most manufacturers of mobile recorders do not offer hybrid options. The bulk of the industry is analog-only, and this is so far slow to change. March is able to offer these options where necessary.

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