FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME
FILTER POSTS SHOW ALL AVIATION MARITIME

The Critical Consideration Behind the Hardware of Body-Worn Camera and Images

When we think about body-worn cameras (BWCs), we generally think about the little box that sits on the policeman’s jacket or the motor-cyclist’s helmet but there are several more things that need to be specified beside the lens and the pixels.

We need to know how the information is going to be used as this will dictate the features of the device.

For example, we may ask if we want to use facial recognition software, for people directly in front of the camera or at some distance. We may ask if we want to see what is directly in front of the camera with good clarity or do we want a panoramic view, say closer to 180°. It is a mistake to compare human vision with machine vision as human vision has developed for specific functions unconnected with the needs of a body-worn device. A BWC can accurately log anywhere between 50° and 120° field of vision (FOV) depending on the choice of model in a perfect cone (as opposed to a human’s binocular FOV of 114° side to side and 35° top to bottom). Also, considering “tunnel vision”, commonly when under intense pressure or stress, people’s FOV narrows further.

As the requirements grow so do the number of pixels required. As the pixel requirement increases so do the problems of file size. Should we store the data or stream it to the cloud? If the latter, we need to consider signal availability and strength.

Moreover, if we stream the data, we need to consider ‘chain of custody’ otherwise our record is dubious when confronted with the rigour of the law. Storing data may not be the problem that we once thought it might be with the introduction of Sandisk’s 1TB memory card. That’s still a lot of memory cards if we calculate for 500 officers over a two-year period (which is the length of time such records should be kept), then there needs to a searchable archive of 120,000 memory cards.

We also need to consider who controls the recording. It is perfectly feasible for the officer wearing the camera to have complete control, and this is generally the norm, but it is also not unreasonable for staff based back in the office or station to decide when to start recording, based on feedback from the officer on-site or from an audio input received. It is equally feasible for every camera to start recording when shift starts and stop when shift ends although that might result in deterioration of working relations between officer and supervisors.

We need to consider battery life, file format, date stamping, recording speed, editing prohibition, weight of camera (let’s remember the poor police officer is already lugging around nearly 10kg of other equipment), water-resistance, low-light capability and numerous other factors such that the technical specification for such systems, because we are talking about complicated systems now not just the front-end camera, become detailed and quite voluminous.

Strangely enough we need also to consider concomitant audio recording and the quality of the microphone which is a bit more complicated than might initially be thought. Audio recordings are pretty much taken for granted since the invention of the phonograph in the late 1870s. The Frenchman, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, in 1860 recorded a lady singing but it was ghastly. Edison’s in 1878 was a tad better (and still a lot better than anything Justin Bieber has produced) but it took until the 1920s for recordings to be accepted as faithful reproductions. Unfortunately, modern technology has superseded those early efforts and now anybody’s voice can be reproduced saying things that they never said. Generally, background sounds can be used to verify the correctness of a recording but even these are not sacrosanct so the ‘chain of custody’ becomes of paramount importance.

What is actually required is a combination of all of the above. From this we can derive that the more pixels can be better for the viewer however can sometimes undermine police officer’s perspective as today’s camera sensors are superior to most police officer’s vision. The same can be said for a greater angle width.

But the data itself becomes of almost secondary importance when we consider all the other constraints imposed on the collection, retrieval and submission for action of such data. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s latest report on the enterprise body-worn camera systems report, click here.

-
When we think about body-worn cameras (BWCs), we generally think about the little box that sits on the policeman’s jacket or the motor-cyclist’s helmet but there are several more things that need to be specified beside the lens and the pixels. We need to know how the information is going to be used as this will dictate the features of the device. For example, we may ask if we want to use facial recognition software, for people directly in front of the camera or at some distance. We may ask if we want to see what is directly in front of the camera with good clarity or do we want a panoramic view, say closer to 180°. It is a mistake to compare human vision with machine vision as human vision has developed for specific functions unconnected with the needs of a body-worn device. A BWC can accurately log anywhere between 50° and 120° field of vision (FOV) depending on the choice of model in a perfect cone (as opposed to a human’s binocular FOV of 114° side to side and 35° top to bottom). Also, considering “tunnel vision”, commonly when under intense pressure or stress, people’s FOV narrows further. As the requirements grow so do the number of pixels required. As the pixel requirement increases so do the problems of file size. Should we store the data or stream it to the cloud? If the latter, we need to consider signal availability and strength. Moreover, if we stream the data, we need to consider ‘chain of custody’ otherwise our record is dubious when confronted with the rigour of the law. Storing data may not be the problem that we once thought it might be with the introduction of Sandisk’s 1TB memory card. That’s still a lot of memory cards if we calculate for 500 officers over a two-year period (which is the length of time such records should be kept), then there needs to a searchable archive of 120,000 memory cards. We also need to consider who controls the recording. It is perfectly feasible for the officer wearing the camera to have complete control, and this is generally the norm, but it is also not unreasonable for staff based back in the office or station to decide when to start recording, based on feedback from the officer on-site or from an audio input received. It is equally feasible for every camera to start recording when shift starts and stop when shift ends although that might result in deterioration of working relations between officer and supervisors. We need to consider battery life, file format, date stamping, recording speed, editing prohibition, weight of camera (let’s remember the poor police officer is already lugging around nearly 10kg of other equipment), water-resistance, low-light capability and numerous other factors such that the technical specification for such systems, because we are talking about complicated systems now not just the front-end camera, become detailed and quite voluminous. Strangely enough we need also to consider concomitant audio recording and the quality of the microphone which is a bit more complicated than might initially be thought. Audio recordings are pretty much taken for granted since the invention of the phonograph in the late 1870s. The Frenchman, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, in 1860 recorded a lady singing but it was ghastly. Edison’s in 1878 was a tad better (and still a lot better than anything Justin Bieber has produced) but it took until the 1920s for recordings to be accepted as faithful reproductions. Unfortunately, modern technology has superseded those early efforts and now anybody’s voice can be reproduced saying things that they never said. Generally, background sounds can be used to verify the correctness of a recording but even these are not sacrosanct so the ‘chain of custody’ becomes of paramount importance. What is actually required is a combination of all of the above. From this we can derive that the more pixels can be better for the viewer however can sometimes undermine police officer’s perspective as today’s camera sensors are superior to most police officer’s vision. The same can be said for a greater angle width. But the data itself becomes of almost secondary importance when we consider all the other constraints imposed on the collection, retrieval and submission for action of such data. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s latest report on the enterprise body-worn camera systems report, click here.

UAV Development in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Markets

In Valour Consultancy’s leading report on commercial and industrial UAVs and systems, an in-depth qualitative assessment of all the key applications are provided. An extract for the agriculture, forestry and fisheries markets is provided below.

The agricultural sector in Australia, America and Japan was quick to adopt UAV systems for high-value cash crops. Where labour costs are high and margins are relatively low, UAS will always be desirable. Several companies around the world have been offering UAS surveying of high value crops for over 30 years. Computer analytics coupled with sophisticated sensor arrays are creating an industry called precision agriculture allowing plants to be individually assessed and treated for yield limiters without the farmer or his employees having to patrol the hundreds or thousands of acres under seed or grazing. Individually delivered water packages, nutrient management and pest inhibitor packages are already within the capabilities of UAS. In this respect an UAS system may include both fixed wing and multi-rotor for each part of the survey and dosing.

For larger palm oil plantations, coffee, tea, sugar cane, cotton and rubber plantations and cattle stations, legal limitations requiring line-of-sight monitoring and prohibitions on first person view (FPV) while controlling UASs only slightly hamper farm management. Waivers for areas where overflight by manned aircraft at heights below 150m is so rare as to be negligible, would enable tethered dirigibles with signal repeaters to be flown at horizon from a central location increasing the survey area to approximately 7500 square kilometres (five times the area of greater London or four times the area of the biggest ranch in the US but, admittedly, only a third of the area of the biggest cattle station in Australia). UAVs are already being used to muster sheep in New Zealand and Ireland and cattle in Australia. There was even an experiment in 1995 to use a UAV to herd ducks but documentation assessing the success of this trial has not been found.

The line-of-sight limitation particularly inhibits ‘precision forestry’. With deforestation a major issue in both resource depletion and climate change, surveying both primary and secondary forests to allow selective logging of particular trees rather than wholesale clearing is not only wise but becoming imperative. A recent report based on Landsat image data shows that deforestation has increased by 62% in the last decade contrary to old UN reports which suggested a 25% decrease. BioCarbon Engineering, a company based in the UK, has developed a system using UAS to map deforested areas and replant them using UAVs to fire gel-protected seedlings into the ground. This system, industrial reforestation, is vastly faster and more efficient than previous methods requiring intense manual labour and also much more accurate for the seedlings deployment.

UAS are useful in deterring wild fowl and migrating birds from settling in cultivated fields. Blueberries in Australia are one such success story as are goose deterrents in Canada. Swarming UAVs offer greater potential for discouraging large flocks. At the moment, up to 50 UAVs have been controlled as a semi-autonomous swarm. Unfortunately, no UAS has yet been able to deter insect swarms. It may be that scaring insects is not an option and pheromone trails leading insect swarms into the wilderness may be an alternative option.

The least developed use of (and therefore greatest potential for development for) UAS is in aquaculture including fish-farming, seaweed farming and fish stock tracking. Fish farms, prawn farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms are susceptible to many hazards such as water pollution, predators, rustlers, algae, shipping, and inclement weather. UAS patrols spot many of these potential hazards early allowing proactive management. Indeed, UAS surveys allow optimal harvesting especially in multi-trophic aquaculture (integrated fin fish farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms). Whether UAS will have sufficient payload to drop buoyed sonic disruptors large enough to discourage predatory fish and birds has yet to be determined.

Tracking of shoaling fish (anchovies and tuna for example) and monitoring illegal fishing are two options for UAS development in the future. Since this work takes place offshore, there is less concern for interference with commercial flights with the exception of helicopter transits to offshore locations.

The major use of UAS to date has been monitoring fishing boats for breaching quotas or pollution. Various national coastguard agencies routinely use UAS inshore and launched from patrolling cutters. Strangely the USA has been remarkably slow in implementing this technology for inshore and offshore surveillance while countries such as India, China, Argentina and Brazil have advanced quickly in adopting UAS for offshore surveillance (not always for peaceful pursuits).

Future use needs to take into account the unregulated (for UAS) international waters.

For more information on “The Future of Commercial and Industrial UAVs”, click on the report title.

-
In Valour Consultancy’s leading report on commercial and industrial UAVs and systems, an in-depth qualitative assessment of all the key applications are provided. An extract for the agriculture, forestry and fisheries markets is provided below. The agricultural sector in Australia, America and Japan was quick to adopt UAV systems for high-value cash crops. Where labour costs are high and margins are relatively low, UAS will always be desirable. Several companies around the world have been offering UAS surveying of high value crops for over 30 years. Computer analytics coupled with sophisticated sensor arrays are creating an industry called precision agriculture allowing plants to be individually assessed and treated for yield limiters without the farmer or his employees having to patrol the hundreds or thousands of acres under seed or grazing. Individually delivered water packages, nutrient management and pest inhibitor packages are already within the capabilities of UAS. In this respect an UAS system may include both fixed wing and multi-rotor for each part of the survey and dosing. For larger palm oil plantations, coffee, tea, sugar cane, cotton and rubber plantations and cattle stations, legal limitations requiring line-of-sight monitoring and prohibitions on first person view (FPV) while controlling UASs only slightly hamper farm management. Waivers for areas where overflight by manned aircraft at heights below 150m is so rare as to be negligible, would enable tethered dirigibles with signal repeaters to be flown at horizon from a central location increasing the survey area to approximately 7500 square kilometres (five times the area of greater London or four times the area of the biggest ranch in the US but, admittedly, only a third of the area of the biggest cattle station in Australia). UAVs are already being used to muster sheep in New Zealand and Ireland and cattle in Australia. There was even an experiment in 1995 to use a UAV to herd ducks but documentation assessing the success of this trial has not been found. The line-of-sight limitation particularly inhibits ‘precision forestry’. With deforestation a major issue in both resource depletion and climate change, surveying both primary and secondary forests to allow selective logging of particular trees rather than wholesale clearing is not only wise but becoming imperative. A recent report based on Landsat image data shows that deforestation has increased by 62% in the last decade contrary to old UN reports which suggested a 25% decrease. BioCarbon Engineering, a company based in the UK, has developed a system using UAS to map deforested areas and replant them using UAVs to fire gel-protected seedlings into the ground. This system, industrial reforestation, is vastly faster and more efficient than previous methods requiring intense manual labour and also much more accurate for the seedlings deployment. UAS are useful in deterring wild fowl and migrating birds from settling in cultivated fields. Blueberries in Australia are one such success story as are goose deterrents in Canada. Swarming UAVs offer greater potential for discouraging large flocks. At the moment, up to 50 UAVs have been controlled as a semi-autonomous swarm. Unfortunately, no UAS has yet been able to deter insect swarms. It may be that scaring insects is not an option and pheromone trails leading insect swarms into the wilderness may be an alternative option. The least developed use of (and therefore greatest potential for development for) UAS is in aquaculture including fish-farming, seaweed farming and fish stock tracking. Fish farms, prawn farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms are susceptible to many hazards such as water pollution, predators, rustlers, algae, shipping, and inclement weather. UAS patrols spot many of these potential hazards early allowing proactive management. Indeed, UAS surveys allow optimal harvesting especially in multi-trophic aquaculture (integrated fin fish farms, shellfish beds and seaweed farms). Whether UAS will have sufficient payload to drop buoyed sonic disruptors large enough to discourage predatory fish and birds has yet to be determined. Tracking of shoaling fish (anchovies and tuna for example) and monitoring illegal fishing are two options for UAS development in the future. Since this work takes place offshore, there is less concern for interference with commercial flights with the exception of helicopter transits to offshore locations. The major use of UAS to date has been monitoring fishing boats for breaching quotas or pollution. Various national coastguard agencies routinely use UAS inshore and launched from patrolling cutters. Strangely the USA has been remarkably slow in implementing this technology for inshore and offshore surveillance while countries such as India, China, Argentina and Brazil have advanced quickly in adopting UAS for offshore surveillance (not always for peaceful pursuits). Future use needs to take into account the unregulated (for UAS) international waters. For more information on “The Future of Commercial and Industrial UAVs”, click on the report title.

Video Footage is King

Video footage is King in today’s digital society.

Readers no longer want to read articles but watch video segments of news. WhatsApp wants to offer video chat, which will compete against Apple FaceTime and Skype, as sometimes text messages are not enough.

Law enforcement agencies around the world have begun adopting body-worn camera and video technologies for their officers.

From the start of December, West Midlands fire service, in the UK, will test a new system that will enable 999 callers with smartphones to securely send live video footage of incidents to control rooms, without having to download any special applications or technology. Callers will be sent a text message containing a weblink. Once a caller clicks through, a live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to call-handlers. GPS co-ordinates are also sent across, helping responders to pinpoint the location.

This new feature could be used from road traffic accidents to house fires, informing the control room of the present situation and could even be passed on to the crews on the ground. Collecting video evidence will become crucial in updating emergency services. Body-worn video and cameras are becoming the “must have” tool for law enforcement. Nevertheless, most body-worn camera deployments do not include live video streaming, it is likely in the future, this will also become a critical tool in a connected police officer’s armoury.  Ask the Thales Group, and they will also inform you of such.

In Valour Consultancy’s report, “The Future of Enterprise Body-Worn Cameras and Video – 2016”, in 2015, 620,000 enterprise body-worn cameras were shipped globally. The study examines the body-worn cameras & systems market, evaluating different camera types, key applications and connectivity technologies. For more information on what is surely one of the most comprehensive studies on the enterprise body-worn camera and digital systems market available today, contact us here.

-
Video footage is King in today’s digital society. Readers no longer want to read articles but watch video segments of news. WhatsApp wants to offer video chat, which will compete against Apple FaceTime and Skype, as sometimes text messages are not enough. Law enforcement agencies around the world have begun adopting body-worn camera and video technologies for their officers. From the start of December, West Midlands fire service, in the UK, will test a new system that will enable 999 callers with smartphones to securely send live video footage of incidents to control rooms, without having to download any special applications or technology. Callers will be sent a text message containing a weblink. Once a caller clicks through, a live stream is established that allows footage or images to be sent directly to call-handlers. GPS co-ordinates are also sent across, helping responders to pinpoint the location. This new feature could be used from road traffic accidents to house fires, informing the control room of the present situation and could even be passed on to the crews on the ground. Collecting video evidence will become crucial in updating emergency services. Body-worn video and cameras are becoming the “must have” tool for law enforcement. Nevertheless, most body-worn camera deployments do not include live video streaming, it is likely in the future, this will also become a critical tool in a connected police officer’s armoury.  Ask the Thales Group, and they will also inform you of such. In Valour Consultancy’s report, “The Future of Enterprise Body-Worn Cameras and Video – 2016”, in 2015, 620,000 enterprise body-worn cameras were shipped globally. The study examines the body-worn cameras & systems market, evaluating different camera types, key applications and connectivity technologies. For more information on what is surely one of the most comprehensive studies on the enterprise body-worn camera and digital systems market available today, contact us here.

Zipline Raises $25 million in Series B Funding

Californian-based drone delivery company, Zipline, has raised $25 million in series funding which will be used for increasing its operations in Africa. The company estimates that it will be undertaking 100 emergency flights a day, delivering blood to transfusion clinics across the region, expanding its services in Rwanda and other areas of Africa.

Zip, the company’s fixed-wing UAV, is designed for a high level of safety, using many of the same approaches as commercial airliners according to the company’s website. It can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood, parachuting the items over a designated drop zone. A fleet of Zips can provide for a potential population of millions of people, without roads or traversing adverse terrain conditions.

In total, Zipline has raised over $40m in capital this far, primarily lead by Visionnaire Ventures. Co-founder of Visionnaire Ventures, Susan Cho said, “Zipline is the best possible combination of social impact and business impact. It’s a smart investment that will help save lives.”

The instant delivery system allows medicines and other products to be delivered on an on-demand basis at a relatively low-cost basis in almost any region. Healthcare workers simply need to text message Zipline with an order and the company can deliver life-saving medicines to them, saving patients who cannot afford to travel far to receive the crucial treatments.

Valour Consultancy believes these types of niche drones uses will pave the way for more expansive uses of delivery systems in the future. In 2015, more than 8,000 fixed wing and multi-rotor UAVs have been deployed for delivery and transportations. By 2020, the number of UAVs used in this sector will expand to more than 150,000 as aviation regulators around the world loosen restrictions on the technology. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s comprehensive market on the commercial UAV market, click here.

-
Californian-based drone delivery company, Zipline, has raised $25 million in series funding which will be used for increasing its operations in Africa. The company estimates that it will be undertaking 100 emergency flights a day, delivering blood to transfusion clinics across the region, expanding its services in Rwanda and other areas of Africa. Zip, the company’s fixed-wing UAV, is designed for a high level of safety, using many of the same approaches as commercial airliners according to the company’s website. It can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood, parachuting the items over a designated drop zone. A fleet of Zips can provide for a potential population of millions of people, without roads or traversing adverse terrain conditions. In total, Zipline has raised over $40m in capital this far, primarily lead by Visionnaire Ventures. Co-founder of Visionnaire Ventures, Susan Cho said, “Zipline is the best possible combination of social impact and business impact. It’s a smart investment that will help save lives.” The instant delivery system allows medicines and other products to be delivered on an on-demand basis at a relatively low-cost basis in almost any region. Healthcare workers simply need to text message Zipline with an order and the company can deliver life-saving medicines to them, saving patients who cannot afford to travel far to receive the crucial treatments. Valour Consultancy believes these types of niche drones uses will pave the way for more expansive uses of delivery systems in the future. In 2015, more than 8,000 fixed wing and multi-rotor UAVs have been deployed for delivery and transportations. By 2020, the number of UAVs used in this sector will expand to more than 150,000 as aviation regulators around the world loosen restrictions on the technology. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s comprehensive market on the commercial UAV market, click here.