Look beyond the obvious to get more out of your body worn video
December 4, 2023 by Chris Allcard
The differences between an old body worn camera and the latest technology are more than skin deep – and make a powerful case for upgrading!
Sometimes when I talk to an organisation already using body worn cameras it becomes apparent that the devices were purchased a number of years ago, and the technology is now quite old.
And, while it is certainly true that body worn cameras have become more sophisticated in that time, offering higher resolution images, better low light performance, Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity and better battery life in a smaller form, the biggest differences between the old and new cameras devices are not immediately obvious.
At this point I will tell them that it’s a bigger consideration than simply camera features – the differences between older and newer overall solutions incorporating both the cameras and video management systems are so significant they present a compelling reason for upgrading your camera’s devices!
Accessing your video
Typically, users will say that their older camera devices still ‘do the job’. But further questioning soon reveals a number of drawbacks associated with the handling and management of the videos created that cause massive headaches by wasting time, adding information security risks and complexity, and increasing the cost of handling and using video.
One major challenge for those relying on old body worn cameras is the difficulty of getting video footage off the devices in the first place and the risks associated with the process. This is typically a lengthy, manual and often fiddly operation that involves docking the unit with a dedicated PC. Depending on the number of cameras and the amount of video footage you create, this can become a massive task!
What about the management of the videos thereafter? Of course, the PC that then houses these videos presents a potential information security risk in that anyone with access to that PC could have access to the video recordings. Could the person who recorded the video footage have access to it to edit or delete it? How do you control who can access the video for editing, deletion, sharing and distributing? This is potentially difficult to control and have an audit trail of who accessed and what they did with that video. Does this fit in with your GDPR and information security policies and procedures?
In contrast, newer cloud-based camera and video management systems give organisations far more control over the video created. Using the latest cloud-based video management solutions, the end-to-end process of creating video recordings, and the uploading and storage of these files, is fully encrypted. Access to the video footage is via a secure web portal that has a permission-based approach allowing organisations to tightly control access, editing and deletion rights.
One of our systems in use at a large hospital, for example, comprises 700 cameras used across 50 wards. Some users are only given access to footage from their wards, while those that need wider access are permitted to view and process video files from across the estate, based on their roles and responsibilities. This provides far more control over these video recordings, ensures the system meets all data protection requirements, and keeps video footage safe and secure.
Another problem that users of older body worn camera solutions systems face concerns the ease – or not – of sharing and editing video that their cameras capture. With little, if any built-in editing functionality, editing is performed on separate software, often by a third party. This requires files to be either copied onto a storage device and then physically sent to that third party to be edited, or it is emailed to that third party, or perhaps using a file sharing platform? Naturally, there is a risk that this video doesn’t go to the intended recipient, and the organisation has little control over what then happens with that media and where it could end up. A robust data sharing agreement, that is regularly audited, is a must-have in this scenario.
Using newer body worn cameras and cloud-based secure video management portals, editing is simple so there’s no need to send files away to be processed. Redaction, editing and image enhancement are all easy, and the resulting files can be saved to the cloud, along with the master copy, and shared with any authorities that require access, for example, through a secure link. Each step is fully audited. What’s more, the video management solution also allows users to bring different sources of video together, combining footage from body worn cameras, fixed cameras and even smartphones to provide the widest possible ‘view’ of an incident or event.
The portal can be accessed securely from desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, and storage is cloud based. Cloud storage is easily scalable, GDPR compliant and secure, and resilient. It’s not held on local computers, servers or digital video recorders which may require backups, ongoing virus protection, software upgrades, etc.
To me, the benefits outlined here fully justify the upgrade of an elderly body worn camera video system, regardless of the age of the camera devices themselves. Just like a smartphone, there is a camera upgrade path which means you don’t need to stick with five or even eight-year-old technology. Leasing new body worn cameras supported by a modern cloud-based video management portal will save your organisation time and money, ensure your recordings are secure and data protection-compliant, remove the fear of future camera technology obsolescence, and remove any ongoing storage capacity and resilience concerns.
Contact Reliance Protect at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how simple and effective upgrading your body worn video technology can be!