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Design consideration for Body cameras in security and surveillance applications

Design consideration for Body cameras in security and surveillance applications

Body worn videos (BWV) also known as body cameras or bodycams represent the latest innovation in video technologies and wearable ‘smart’ devices. While they find use in many leisure activities including athletics (especially cycling), mountaineering, surfing, and extreme sports, they are proving to be of greater use in law enforcement.

From a legal standpoint as well as the expectations of police officers, there are many situations where a fixed camera or smartphone fails to capture the evidence in totality. The video evidence captured in smartphones is sometimes inadmissible as they can be tampered with, broken into or forged. Bodycams, on the other hand, are specifically designed for judicial purposes since they can be simply pinned on to shorts to enable a first-hand perspective of the crime scene and a more complete chain of evidence. Being hands-free, they provide greater mobility as well as secured evidence with more transparent proceedings.

Bodycams can be extremely useful in curbing domestic violence, assault, robbery and other such cases. Their design requires skilled product management as the product can be exposed to harsh and rigorous operations demanding lots of critical functions and features.

A few parameters to be kept in mind in designing a bodycam are:

  1. Low weight – The bodycam has to be designed as light as possible because they have to be deployed in situations where they must be barely noticeable.
  2. Higher battery life – Bodycam batteries should stay charged for a reasonable duration of time. This calls for specialized design skills for power optimization  and efficient battery  management.
  3. Data security and integrity – Body cameras are used for video evidence and hence the data integrity and security is of tremendous importance. If there is a way to tamper, distort, delete or manipulate the information, the device cannot be considered proper.
  4. Events-based recording – Bodycams being a mobile device, have limited storage capabilities so the design should be small yet cost-effective. Hence, to ensure the storage space is utilized properly, we need motion sensors, sound trackers etc.
  5. Fail safe and fail secure mechanism – The data on the bodycam is precious and vulnerable to misuse by vested interests. Authentication mechanisms should be in place to protect the data. Once filmed, the information should be fully encrypted for data security before uploading into cloud or storage server.
  6. Cloud Storage – Edge analytics are limited by the size and processing power of the bodycam. A real time data streaming on the cloud can provide much needed remote assistance and real time analytics, apart from video surveillance. It also helps ensure proper data isolation & logical storage segregation
  7. Video management Systems – The video data on the cloud can be viewed in real time. However, a real time view of thousands of cameras in the field requires a tremendously huge infrastructure. This can be minimized by the use of intelligent VMS that reduces the need for video replay/review by intelligently integrating state-of-the-art video analytics algorithms.
  8. Streaming Bandwidth – The video streaming bandwidth can be more carefully chosen to minimize the data needs as well as ensuring the encrypted video upload to servers is achieved in shortest possible time. This is done using latest H.264/H.265 encoders with right containers to ensure minimum processing overheads, minimal storage requirements as well as efficient reconstruction of the video.

Even after all this, there are many other design constraints that can be solved by careful product management aspects such as GPS, Zoom angles, Wireless connectivity, Mounting techniques, Environment compliances, Infrared lighting conditions etc.

eInfochips provides end-to-end solutions for body camera designs, from markets research to sensor selection to building a complete custom camera. To find out more, visit our solution WebPages on Camera benchmarking report and smart transit solutions.

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