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What About Dash Cams and Video Surveillance?


My boss is addicted to his home security system. The intelligent cameras he has set up around his home allow him to keep an eye on what’s going on when he’s away, but more importantly they alert him if they detect movement where it shouldn’t be, or allow him to take a look at who’s coming to the door before he or she gets as far as the doorbell. He gets a text message when the camera notices something out of the ordinary, a really simple way of externally monitoring his own home.

There is no doubt that cameras are getting more intelligent, it’s no longer just a question of recording something for posterity (or as evidence for the lawsuit when your driver crashes into a stationary vehicle) it’s a question of what can camera data feedback that will help your business.

For example, there are more intelligent dash cams on the market that can warn you BEFORE you have a collision. That’s a straightforward attempt to reduce the potential number of accidents you have in a moving vehicle. There’s no real reason why the same dash cam technology can’t be applied to any moving object whether it’s an excavator or a scissor lift or a mobile crane.

Whether the data from your camera actually goes back into your corporate systems, or whether (as in the case of the home security system) what you need is simply alert telling you to review a feed is a separate question.

Cameras aren’t just about fixed point technology. Take something as commonplace as facetime.  That’s a two-way camera sitting on your smartphone – it doesn’t just have to be used for face-to-face communication, turn the camera round and you have a really nice way of showing a more experienced technician back at the office what you’re seeing on a customer site when you look at an engine. Not an instance of an intelligent camera, but certainly of intelligent use!

Cameras have been used for diagnosis of issues for years, but previously they have been built into expensive equipment. If you want to find out what’s going on a broken pipe you might use a sewer inspection camera – a nice expensive piece of specialist kit. Now the expensive cameras are moving into the air – drone based cameras and videos to feed real-time data back to project managers and foreman about everything that is going on at a job site allowing them to monitor from a distance. Smartphones offer more imaginative solutions for one-off problems.

My god daughter’s hamster recently made a break for freedom beneath the floor boards. But a lego-robot-mounted smartphone (well fixed on with duct tape) with the handset torch and the face-time camera switched on was more than capable of locating him and encouraging him to a sensible exit point. We have the technology to mount smartphones on almost anything, and that means that you can adapt camera based solutions in far more places than you might previously have thought.

It’s probable that over the next few years more and more ultra-specialist applications may come out to make use of cameras, video and alert options, it’s also possible that you will end up “building” these solutions for yourself. Whilst software integration may well bring the data back to your corporate ERP in the long run, there are huge benefits to be gained and applications to be tested before this becomes the norm.

Want to talk tech or new ideas? Give me a call or email.

Written by Helen Sowerby,

Director of Business Development and Tech Geek

Photo by Paul Townsend,  under creative commons license.
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