Security video cameras are an increasingly common sight in many places – whether we’re in the shopping mall, at the airport or even in our own residential street, cameras appear to be everywhere. They help detect criminals, keep a watchful eye on gates, secure valuable equipment and materials, and show us who is at the door.

In the past, security cameras could only be accessed in one way – as part of a Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) system, they would send their pictures to a control room nearby where security guards would watch over them. Although the pictures could be recorded, capacity was limited by storage space and the footage was not easily available to people at remote sites.

This has all changed with connected cameras. Linked by the Internet of Things, connected cameras bring new capabilities, turning basic security monitoring into sophisticated safety and security management.

Cellular connectivity is ideal

There are several ways to achieve IoT connectivity for cameras. Hard-wired systems have been popular in the past, while wireless cameras connecting to Wi-Fi are now common.

However, with improvements in technology and reduction in data costs, cellular connectivity, which links cameras by using mobile networks, is growing in popularity.

Cellular connectivity offers much better flexibility, security and reliability than the alternative options.

Flexibility

Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of cellular is flexibility. This is particularly true when combined with battery. As self-contained units, they can be re-sited anywhere there is a need for extra surveillance. With no need for Wi-Fi networks in range, they can be relocated and be up and running again quickly. It also means if they need to move they can do so quickly and easily.

Easy to install

Flexibility brings with it another benefit, ease and speed of initial deployment. With their own independent battery-based power supply and their own connection to the mobile network, getting a cellularly connected camera in place and online should be relatively simple. Once the cellular profile is activated (which can be done remotely), it should just connect and be able to send and receive data instantly.

Security

Cellular is also inherently secure. Wired mechanisms can easily be hacked. If intruders get into a facility, they can also deactivate any cameras by simply cutting the data wires or interrupting their power supply. And wireless Internet systems are no more secure. These can also be hacked via their Internet connections and depending on set-up, it may not be practical to run an independent networks for cameras.

Since cellular cameras connect via the same networks as smartphones, they enjoy the same robust security that the big mobile service providers offer. They are also powered by batteries, making them independent of any grid-based power. If combined with the secure networking and monitoring services a managed connectivity provider can offer, you can keep your data safe.

Common connected camera use cases

Connected cameras have a wide range of uses, and as they become smaller and more mobile, the number of potential deployment opportunities continues to increase.

Body Cameras

An increasingly common use is that of body cameras. These are often used by law enforcement officials, such as police officers and by emergency response medical crews. The video footage that these connected cameras can record protects officers by gathering evidence of assaults and also provides video evidence of other crimes.

Body cams carried by firefighters can provide real time views from the scene of an incident. This allows officers in a control room to see the extent of the fire and to make better decisions on the resources needed.

Dash Cams

Similar to body cams, dash cameras are another great example of a common connected camera use cases. Dash cams can provide evidence of road traffic violations and dangerous driving. They can also be deployed as part of a package of monitoring and tracking equipment for both public and goods transport.

Smart monitoring

Remote monitoring is also a major use of connected cameras. Rather than securing facilities against intruders, remote monitoring cameras are used to assess the condition of equipment such as electrical transformers and chemical plant.

For example, combined with infrared capabilities, connected cameras can detect a dangerous temperature condition in a transformer. Applications such as artificial intelligence can be trained to recognise these conditions and automatically alert the network control system to flag the transformer up for attention.

If you’re looking for cellular connectivity for your connected camera application, Pelion offers a fully managed connectivity solution.