How to choose a Mobile Video Camera system?
There are so many options from numerous mobile DVR manufactures out there on the market it is difficult to know what to look for. This post is giving you a few pointers which you need to consider before making a budget choice.
Lets start with Why? what are you hoping to achieve once they are installed. This seems a simple question but the technology is now built into some solutions to do more than just video capture, they can now be used for some degree of fleet management. The under lying question of budget and level of resources you have to support the solution also play a huge part in the decision.
So ask yourself this
1. Why? what are you wanting to achieve, is video all you want? do you want historical GPS data, Live GPS data (requires a cell network plan - extra cost) speed, wi-fi for connecting and downloading (extra costs in building wi-fi network in your yard and data storage onto servers etc, and training staff to support it?
2. How many cameras do you think you need, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc
3. Do you want standard video quality (bit graining) or High Definition (image is really crisp and can be zoomed into with out losing quality)
4. Do you want a camera system to be fixed and wired permantely into the bus? or have the flexibility to move the camera within the vehicle, or to any other bus within minutes without incurring any installation cost
4. Do you have budget (team) to install the cameras (tradition camera systems wired into the bulk head costs an additional $150 -$250 per vehicle) Plug & Play systems cost nothing to install
5. Ease of use - if you want just to capture video, and your happy with that and you don't have trained PC staff etc or much time then you need a simple solution that works. Their are a number of solutions from 2 camera systems built in with a lens pointing to the front and rear of the vehicle. The issue with these solutions is that they are only standard video resolution, difficult to point the lenses other than straight up and down. Or you use a Plug & Play solution that offers High Definition, can be positioned anywhere, built in GPS (no fee) shows speed and braking and yet is really easy to use.
6. Budget - do you have money to install the whole fleet or looking to buy a number per year. What happens to buses rouets who have issues and don't have a camera, with fixed systems you can do nothing, with Plug & Play just move a camera onto that vehicle within minutes and monitor whats going on. There is no reason that you have to play such high prices for DVR's anymore, manufactuers have been gauging the customer for years with old technology. Look for solutions that uses consumer technology - which is high quality and has volume reductions from the millions of chips and circuits sold in devices and leverage this benefit into your requirements. Would you pay $900-$1200 for a video camera for yourself these days...no....do you question the reliability of the technology no, do you expect to buy High Definition....yes as standard. So why buy old DVR technology for your buses...because most manufactures have not invested in HD,
7. Support - You run a complex operation, yes you need quality support. You should not buy solutions from the internet just becuase you have limited budget (a). You do not know whether the product is poor quality (b) you have no support to call if you have a question or need any help ...there are now new manufactuers in School Bus market who offer quality solutions and support
Anyway, if you have any questions, or comments then just send them over and I'll answer them for you.