Vehicle Cameras for Fleet Management

Vehicle Cameras for Fleet Management

Vehicle cameras are becoming more and more popular as a fleet management tool.

Rosco vehicle cameraAs with any new tool, it takes time to understand the best ways to leverage camera use on your fleet vehicles.  When selecting and setting up your vehicle camera system, managing consumption to avoid data overage needs to be considered. Ask yourself some questions when you begin.  What information will be most beneficial to you in video format? How do you plan to use it? Who will be responsible for reviewing it?

There are several different types of camera systems, designed for different purposes, and it is important to select the system that will record and deliver the specific type of video record you need.  No longer are cameras just a risk management measure to have a record in case of an accident.  Forward-facing cameras monitor the road and potential hazards in front of the vehicle.  They can stand alone, or be used with peripheral cameras.  Some systems also have an interior view of the cab to record what the driver is doing.  Adding side, rear, and cargo area cameras can provide valuable information as well as security. Our camera systems  integrate with the Geotab tracking platform for fuller functionality.

Automatic Event Recording

Vehicle cameras designed to record events are primarily used to document the conditions an event occurs.  Events may be predefined by the camera system or you can define them yourself when integrated with your vehicle tracking system.  Being selective about how many of your rules generate email notifications helps to limit unnecessary email overload.  In the same way, be selective about the rules you choose to trigger video downloads to avoid data overage. Speeding is a common rule that you may want to trigger a video download, but if you have several speed rules, choose carefully the one that triggers the video. A rule like 5 mph over the posted speed limit can trigger often and use up your data plan in a hurry.

 

Vehicle camera

Cameras with AI

Other vehicle camera systems use artificial intelligence to identify events.  They can identify speeding, lane drift, following too closely, even road obstructions.  Combined with a smartphone app, these systems give feedback to the driver to avoid potential hazards.  With an in-cab view, cameras with AI can also identify and record cell phone use and smoking events.

 

 

Live Feed

Some business models such as the Security industry may benefit from live feed capability from vehicle cameras.  Supervisors can view live video to consult with and advise the field employee. Managers can view job site progress and several jobs without leaving the office.  Live feeds need to be used responsibly.  If you forget to turn off the feed and leave for lunch, extreme data overage is the likely result.

You can see examples of video from a variety of cameras as well as installation tips on our YouTube channel.

Monitor your Data Consumption

If your system offers a feature to monitor how much data you have used, check weekly to see that you are within your data plan limits.  Becoming familiar with how much data you are using will allow you to get the most out of your vehicle camera system without incurring costly overages.

data consumption

 

In-Cab Video by Rosco Vision Systems

In-Cab Video by Rosco Vision Systems

Rosco-Dual-Vision-Camera

Snapshots by Exception

The Rosco Vision System Dual Vision video camera can be operated as a fully integrated solution with the Geotab GPS tracking device or as a standalone system. The integrated solution utilizes the Geotab rules engine to trigger snapshots which are automatically uploaded to the cloud. Fleet managers have a variety of options from this commercial grade video safety system. 

 

  1. Up to 3,000 hours of rolling video
  2. Forward and interior facing camera on the Dual-Vision camera
  3. Add an interior dome camera to monitor cargo
  4. Backup camera to reduce collisions
  5. Up to 8 exterior cameras
  6. Audio recording option
  7. Utilize with or without Geotab

In-Cab Video Data Management

Data File Size

Be careful what you change to avoid expensive data overage fees

Controlling Costs

Understanding how camera settings impact your video quality and monthly cost will ensure you find a balance between the two. In general, the default settings have been found to be the best for the average customer. Changing these can increase your cost exponentially so be careful. In-cab video (ICV) is all about data transfer cost. The smaller the video files and the fewer you transmit, the less chance there is for expensive overage fees. These variables also determine how much data can be stored on the SD card in a looping memory. If you normally get 300 hours of recordings, you would only get 150 if you double the size of the data files. Learn more

File Sizes

There are 3 primary variables that impact the data volume used from the monthly data plan. Testing should be done on 1 camera before making changes to all to avoid expensive overage fees.

 

  1. Frame-rate-per second (fps) – The number of images that are captured per second. 7 fps is about what the eye can see. Moving this to 14 fps will double the data being transmitted and consume more of your data plan.
  2. Resolution – The quality of the images captured can make a big difference in the file size. This impacts the data transmitted as well. A standard resolution image is often good enough and produces a file of 2 megs. Going to HD might make the same file 8 megs or 400% more data.
  3. Exception settings – Video exceptions should be for the most important exceptions only. Exceptions such as accident detection or movement after-hours should produce video clips. Creating video exceptions for speeding events could create an excessive amount of exception videos that have no real value. Each in-cab video deducts from your data bucket so choose wisely. If you opted for the live streaming service, leave some data available to stream a few times per month without going over your data plan.

 

Live Video

Live video is an option for some in-cab camera systems. This enables a user online to “see” through the camera and view in the cab or outside the vehicle. This can be handy in specific applications but it consumes a lot of data. Live streaming should be limited to special situations or spot checking. Live streaming cannot be run continuously due to the cost so most cameras timeout after 60 seconds. You can then enable it over and over if needed.

SD Cards

The in-cab video cameras contain an SD card to store video continuously. The number of hours that can be recorded depends on the above variables as well as the size of the SD card itself. 64 gig cards hold a lot of data. If you use a slow or smaller SD card you can run into issues. If an event is not captured as an exception video clip, the SD card can be inserted into a computer and the looping video reviewed to find a particular date and time.

Learn More

Dashcam Catches Flying Car

Dashcam Catches Flying Car

Upper Deck Parking

Dashcam Catches Vehicle Crash
Car jumps median, caught on dashcam
“Recreational marijuana slows response time and will lead to increased accidents.”

A Car Somehow Crashed Into the Second Story of a California Building

Source: Time.com

A dash camera caught a car traveling at a high rate of speed crashing into the second story of a dental office. The car hit the median at a which acted as a ramp, launching the car into the second story office. The passengers were relatively unharmed and one person was able to escape from the vehicle before fire rescue arrived. The passengers admitted to being literally high on narcotics.

Dash cameras are about the only defense a fleet operator has to combat a wild story such as this. The Fleetistics GPS tracking system, includes telematics and HOS but can also be integrated with in vehicle camera systems to capture exact information during an accident. GPS tracking is great but there are behaviors and situations that a dash camera can prove invaluable. When it comes to proving your innocence, there is nothing like having dash camera video. The flip side it, dash camera video can be subpoenaed and quickly be used against you. If your company is focused on fleet safety, a dash camera system is a good investment.