Understanding WIFI, 4G, Cloud & Steaming Body Cameras

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When researching body cameras or comparing models, the wide variety of different types and massive ranges of prices can get confusing fast. What are streaming body cameras when they are at home or do you need body cams with WIFI? In order to be able to compare apples to apples, it is important to try and draw a line somewhere in order to determine what is and is not the same.  This article aims to clarify the difference between the various types of body cameras, differentiated by their preferred mode of connectivity.

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What is a body camera?

Whether you are talking about locally installed, WIFI or streaming body cameras, they all have a few things in common. They will be digital recording devices that are mobile and mounted somewhere on the user’s body. They may be large or small, discreet or obvious. They will normally have an internal memory and a battery. Aside from these commonalities there is a lot of variation within both the hardware and the software that is involved. 

What is meant by body camera connectivity?

A body camera records footage that is stores it on its’ internal memory but at some point it needs to be transferred from the camera to a computer or other device for viewing. The method of how it connects to these devices is referred to as its connectivity. Normally discussed in the same breath as connectivity is also the accompanying software solution. How the camera connects to the secondary device will also be determined by the software that receives this connection. There is no point having WIFI connectivity if you don’t have the accompanying body camera software that receives the information by that method. 

, Understanding WIFI, 4G, Cloud & Steaming Body Cameras

What types of body cameras are there?

If you divide body cameras by how they connect to a computer and transmit files, there would be the following types:

Local Download Body Cameras

Streaming Body Cameras

WIFI Body Cameras

Bluetooth Body Cameras

On top of the types of connectivity above, there are three main types of software that receive data from body cameras.

Locally Installed Body Camera Software

Cloud Based Body Camera Software

Mobile Body Camera Apps

What are Local Download Body Cameras?

Local download body cameras were the first type of bodycams that became available. You would record footage on the device and then download it by cable or by dock to a physical PC on-site. You would either do this like opening a USB drive and dragging the files across or through the use of a locally installed body camera software. The Partner MK4 is a good example of a local download body camera uk model.

Advantages of Local Download Body Cameras:

Low-Cost: This type of bodycam does not need cellular data, has no cloud storage costs and the device will generally cost significantly less. There are generally no ongoing costs.

No Signal Issues: As there is no WIFI or Cellular data involved, there are no signal issues to be concerned with. Simply record and download later.

No Security Vulnerabilities: As no network access is required and the data can be downloaded to an isolated desktop, there are no security risks to a network.

, Understanding WIFI, 4G, Cloud & Steaming Body Cameras

Disadvantages:

Requires Large Local Storage: All files will be stored on a local device and require a large storage as video files require a lot of space.

No Real Time or Remote Access: As an unconnected device, you will not have access to the footage unless you are physically present.

Difficult to manage multiple sites: If you need to manage footage from multiple sites, it can be tricky to collect data from multiple individual PCs.

 

What are streaming body cameras?

, Understanding WIFI, 4G, Cloud & Steaming Body Cameras

Streaming body cameras are designed to transmit live video and audio footage in real-time to a remote location. These cameras utilize cellular networks or dedicated streaming servers to relay data instantly.

While you can use WIFI or Bluetooth for live streaming body camera footage, there are inherent connection issues that can arise. While almost all streaming body cams are 3G or 4G body cameras, the reverse is not true. Many body cameras with DEMS capabilities can use cellular data but do not support streaming. Common examples of streaming cameras are the Axon and Reveal devices used by the police in the UK.

Advantages of Streaming Body Cameras:

Real-time monitoring: Enables supervisors to assess situations as they occur, allowing for immediate intervention if necessary.

Remote access: Footage can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, providing flexibility for review and analysis.

Enhanced accountability: Live streaming promotes transparency and accountability as actions are recorded in real-time.

Disadvantages:

Cost: Streaming body cameras are invariably more expensive than local download or even WIFI bodycams. There is also a large cost for cellular data that would be ongoing. You will also have costs involved with the streaming platform such as license fees and storage.

Dependence on network connectivity: Relies heavily on cellular networks or dedicated servers, which may experience disruptions or connectivity issues.

Bandwidth limitations: Streaming high-quality video requires significant bandwidth, potentially leading to data usage constraints and increased costs.

Privacy concerns: Continuous streaming raises privacy concerns, as it may capture sensitive information or unintended footage.

What are WIFI body cameras?

WIFi body cameras connect to local wireless networks for data transmission and remote access to footage. These cameras typically store recorded footage locally on the device and then upload footage when they have a connection. This type of body cam will not typically support WIFI streaming but will instead use its connectivity to store data on the cloud or to a server.  An example of this kind of camera in the Pinnacle PR7.

Advantages of WIFI Body Cameras:

Less Expensive than Streaming: Utilizes existing WiFi infrastructure for data transmission, reducing reliance on cellular networks and associated costs.

Fast data transfer: Enables quick and efficient uploading of footage to cloud storage or servers when connected to high-speed WiFi networks.

Flexibility: Can operate in areas with reliable WiFi coverage, offering mobility within the range of WiFi networks.

, Understanding WIFI, 4G, Cloud & Steaming Body Cameras

Disadvantages:

More Expensive than Locally Installed Cameras: body cameras with WIFI will generally be more expensive than local downloads cameras as they have the additional module. There will also be ongoing costs involved with the storage of the data if it is done through the cloud.

Limited range: Restricted to areas with WiFi coverage, limiting mobility and functionality in areas without accessible WiFi networks.

Usually Fixed to Single Network: Most WIFI body cameras will be preset to use an individual WIFI network. Some systems may require reprogramming in order to u

Network security risks: Vulnerable to network security threats, such as hacking or unauthorized access, particularly when connected to public WiFi networks.

Upload delays: Dependent on WiFi availability for data transmission, which may result in delays in uploading footage to cloud storage or servers.

What is a Bluetooth Body Camera?

A body cam with Bluetooth will connect, most commonly, to a mobile phone app and stream footage across. The footage may or may not be stored on the app. In these cases the mobile app is often used to control the settings of the body camera. The reliability of these apps vary wildly. We normally don’t recommend the use of these unless the APP comes from a reputable company. The Transcend Body 30 is a well known example of this kind of body camera.

Advantages of Bluetooth Body Cameras:

Immediate Streaming of Footage: Having the mobile device next to you means you can watch it immediately.

Lower Cost: Bluetooth cameras generally don’t have licensing fees or cellular data costs.

Disadvantages:

Reliability: Most apps we have tested have not been very reliable with only reputable brands being useable. Most non-named brands do not properly support their apps.

Requires Mobile Handset; You will require a mobile handset in order to use the body cameras’ full functionality which adds to cost.

, Understanding WIFI, 4G, Cloud & Steaming Body Cameras

What are 3G or 4G Body Cameras?

This refers to body cameras that have cellular connectivity, as discussed above. A 4G body camera simply refers to a body camera that connects via cellular data to either a streaming platform or cloud storage system. Most streaming body cameras will also be 4G body cams.

What are cloud body cameras?

Cloud body cameras store recorded footage directly in cloud-based servers, eliminating the need for physical storage devices. These cameras typically rely on WiFi or cellular networks for data upload and remote access to footage. They can also be streaming body cams but the majority simply use the cloud architecture as a storage function.

What is a locally installed body camera software?

A local installation means that the full scope of the body camera software is installed on to a physical PC or server. It is distinct from a cloud based system in that it will normally use a cabled connection rather than WIFI or Cellular and the PC or server will be controlled locally and not through a data centre. An example of a locally installed body camera solution is The Partner DEMS. These kinds of systems will normally not have ongoing software or storage costs outside of the physical devices that you use.

What is a Cloud Based Body Camera Software?

A cloud based software will be installed on a server in a data centre. Your 4G or WIFI body camera will connect to it remotely and upload any footage you record either in real-time or when it moves into better signal. These systems will generally have license fees and cloud storage costs which can be billed monthly or annually.

What are Mobile Body Camera Apps?

These apps will either be for iOS or Android and integrate a body camera’s functionality with your mobile device. The connection between the two devices will usually be made through Bluetooth. While some companies may charge for the app, most bundle it with the camera as an extra. As mentioned above, reliability of these systems may vary.

Original price was: £180.00.Current price is: £150.00. (ex VAT)

Original price was: £7.00.Current price is: £5.00. (ex VAT)

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