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Wireless Connectivity

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

According to the Department of Transport’s Annual Bus Statistics, the percentage of buses in England fitted with CCTV has been rising steadily, from 51% in 2008 to 82% in 2014, and is fast approaching 100% in London and other metropolitan areas. 

With large fleets recording for long periods, the efficiency of footage handling and the management of a large number of on-board systems is an important issue for operators. Wireless connectivity can help in both areas, with potential for significant efficiency savings.

In brief, wi-fi access to on-board DVRs means that physical visits to the vehicle are no longer necessary to download footage whilst vehicles are in the depot. The functioning of the recorder can also be checked without physical visit – automatic health checker functionality exists that can carry this out via wireless at the depot. 

Each time a unit comes into contact with the wi-fi network, the system is interrogated to determine its health. Back office software then reports on the current status of each unit to the operator. This ensures systems not recording are detected immediately, ensuring compliance with regulations as well as gapless evidence capture. For operators this means peace of mind - reducing risk and increasing protection in the case of an incident. It also helps London operators meet exacting TfL requirements.

In addition to significant time savings, by using a wi-fi network at depot rather than 3G/4G on the road, operators do not incur network data charges. Footage can be pre-requested for download from the vehicle on its return to depot and will therefore be available the next day – without needing staff to be physically there to retrieve it.

A wireless set-up paves the way for more advanced features such as “geo-fencing” to quickly download relevant footage from vehicles to assist in providing evidence for criminal prosecution, taking away the need to trawl through footage vehicle by vehicle to compile evidence relevant to an event. What this means is, if there is a request (from the police, for example) for footage from multiple buses that may have passed a specific location during a specific time period, geo-fencing allows operators to quickly select the location on a map. The software then looks at the files on the recorders of every bus in the selected area. Buses that have footage that meets the required criteria are automatically scheduled to download to a local server the next time the bus comes into the depot.