*ARTICLE RELATES TO XE11 BODY CAMERA WHICH HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH THE UPDATED XE22 BODY CAMERA*
3G/4G body camera technology has been difficult to master for manufacturers during the past few years with many failed attempts or unstable solutions being presented to customers. The unstable solutions were caused by manufacturers using cheap components which therefore enabled the body cams to malfunction, overheat and corrupt. This is one of the reasons why many retailers of security products refused to import 4G body cameras and is most likely the reason why you haven't been able to purchase them yet.
OverWatch Security as well as some other retailers have been investigating this space and have partnered with leading manufacturers to develop a stable solution such as the XE11. The internals have been sourced from reputable manufacturers who have credibility in their specific fields such as chip sets, WiFi modules etc. This allows our manufacturers in Shenzhen China to assemble the components and create a workable solution.
How Do 4G Body Cams Work?
The above system diagram presents a general overview of how a 4G body cam would work. First and foremost, you must start with a 3G/4G compatible body camera. From there, you can either choose to record the footage and transfer it via WiFi or using a data based sim to the server. The server then processes the video and moves it to the monitoring platform (such as CSMV6) which you access through an app, pc or web client. This is where you are able to live stream your video.
Every country has different telecommunication companies which support different network bands. It's important to double check that the body cam is compatible with your chosen telecom company by assessing their frequencies. In this example, we will use the XE11:
When purchasing your sim card, you only need a data sim card, you don't need credit!
3G (Huawei MU709s-2 WCDMA module)
HSPA+/UMTS quad-band 900/2100MHz
4G (Huawei ME909s-120 LTE module)
LTE (FDD): B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B20
Make sure that your sim card supports any of these frequencies. If you purchase a card from a virtual network operator (MVNO), be aware because some of these companies such as Aldi Mobile don't use the 2100MHz band even though they are on the Telstra network - so make sure to check beforehand.
Australia in particular has quite expensive data rates and is another reason why 4G body cameras are not too popular here. Other countries such as China for example have unlimited data, even on their sim cards! Therefore, the user would be only paying for the speed of the network.
Some of the sim cards in Australia to offer decent value (as of August 2017) are:
Optus: 100GB for $70/m
Live streaming video over a 3G or 4G network uses large amounts of data. This table is a breakdown of how much data you will use per second:
*The top bar represents the live view quality - The left bar represents the internal quality being saved to the cameras storage
- Recording at 1080P and live streaming the 1080P at a 'Super' resolution will amount to 2,400MB used over 10 minutes (2.4GB).
- Recording in VGA quality and live streaming VGA at a 'Medium' resolution will amount to 210MB used over 10 minutes (0.21GB).
The server is the gateway to live streaming and is used to process the data being sent. Some companies have their own server or they rent one in order to transfer the data, therefore, the body cam is fully configurable and you can use your own URL. Alternatively we also offer a server but do charge a fee.
Lucky body cameras aren't too demanding and therefore, server fees won't be too hefty. This is a breakdown of the minimum server requirements for the XE11 and it should be similar to other body cams on the market which have 4G capability:
At OverWatch Security we offer a free monitoring platform for your body cam called CSV6. It includes a PC client, mobile app and web browser for live streaming. There are many other monitoring platforms available from other third-party companies which you can find by doing a Google search. If you have developed your own monitoring platform, you can use that as well.
You are able to monitor an unlimited amount of body cameras through the platform, however the pages only show 100 units before you have to navigate to the second page etc.
No perpetual license is needed and you can use CSV6 over many different computers. Paid monitoring platforms may require additional upfront and ongoing fees as they usually offer a better platform in terms of appearance, functionality and features.
In order to save the footage, a single user can plug the body cam into the PC via USB cable and transfer over the footage. For larger customers, professional docking stations allow for an easy transfer of footage from multiple cameras at a time. Unfortunately it is difficult to save live video directly to the sever as the file sizes are quite large and therefore the transfer will be slow in most cases.
Body Cam Features
4G body cams offer a range of features that other body cameras may not. Attractive and useful features that you should look out for are:
Built-In GPS: Remote live tracking will be available so you can use the body cam to track the whereabouts of your employees or if an incident occurs, the exact location will be beneficial when dealing with legal proceedings etc.
Night Vision: This allows you to detect faces and your surroundings at night. Most high end cameras support 8-10+ meters with visible face detection.
Accessibility: What live viewing options do you have available? A PC client, mobile app and website are standard.
Body Cam Use Cases
3G/4G units are much more expensive compared to traditional body cams and thus, they are not generally used by regular citizens. The following are some of the most popular use cases for these types of cameras:
Schools: Live streaming may be required in some schools where student safety is paramount. Situations include:
- Teachers taking their students on excursions
- Visitors attending the school
- School emergency such as a fire or shooting
- Security guards
There have also been numerous reports of students (their parents) suing the school in situations where teacher-student bullying may have occurred, student safety was endangered or if the student was injured. Live body cameras will help the school from being wrongfully sued in situations such as those. It can also help principals monitor whether security guards are doing their job properly on school grounds etc.
Military or SWAT: Engaging in tactical operations may require mission operators to monitor the situation visually rather than over a radio. It can help judge the situation that they are in and is also beneficial for training purposes where help or guidance may be required.
Government Operations: There are many government funded operations or government work which involves the use of live body cams. These may be covert or secret operations, dangerous or time precious jobs and many other use cases.
High Risk Jobs: Live cams may be used in order to judge whether the employee is conducting the project in the correct manner with the appropriate safety precautions set in place. This may include skyscraper building operations, tunnel/mining projects, extreme weather conditions, projects in high risk neighborhoods etc.
Often, the body cam may be destroyed before the person makes it back to base. Therefore, all footage of the incident that occurred will be gone. For example, if a criminal destroys it by force (gun, weapon, by hand etc.) or if it's crushed in unlikely events where mines or buildings may have collapsed on the individual.
4G body cameras allow the footage to be viewed and saved before they make it back to base.