4G Camera Capabilities and Applications

Security cameras have up to a 100 percent rate of deterrence on crime in certain sections of Honolulu, according to city CIO Gordon Bruce. Traditionally the city installed cameras where it could wire them back to a central location for monitoring. Sometimes digging trenches and performing other expensive, disruptive work was necessary to reach potential sites.

Honolulu is addressing its blind spots with mobile IP broadband cameras that switch between 3G and 4G wireless functionality. Police can position the cameras temporarily or permanently wherever they’re needed. The 4G bandwidth increases the number of visible frames of action that a camera can relay, offering approximately 20 frames per second. The industry’s 3G technologies are slower and leave lapses in footage. Honolulu has a patchwork of different surveillance camera networks, mostly 3G, but some are 4G and use WiMAX. The Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division attaches the cameras to long booms hooked to vehicles to monitor surfers. Beach surfboard lockers also utilize 4G surveillance functionality, as do cash boxes on city buses. 

In addition to placing the cameras in any public place necessary, Honolulu hopes to mount the devices in police vehicles. The city has already deployed more than 300 security cameras, most of which are wired.

The current nationwide rollout of 4G wireless is enabling high-quality IP-based video surveillance. Jurisdictions with 4G wireless service available, including parts of Atlanta and other major cities, are already seeing an increase in mobile cameras.

Honolulu will use wired, wireless and mobile IP cameras to secure the city in November when it hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, which will draw leaders from 20 nations. In the past, the city would have struggled to provide the surveillance needed for such an event. However, mobile 4G cameras offer the level of surveillance the conference requires quickly, temporarily and more cheaply than permanent camera installations. The cameras easily sync with existing wireless IP networks. Because the devices are mobile, they can be deployed quickly to assist officers in the field as events unfold. As new officers arrive at a crime event, those already at the scene can share video they are recording or have already recorded.

Existing camera systems around Honolulu, from Chinatown to Waikiki, are divergent and incompatible, making it difficult to see all camera views from any one location. As a solution, Honolulu identified an enterprisewide access control and monitoring system, which will be used as a citywide standard. As the older systems break down, cameras will move over to this system. Honolulu plans to use a few compatible vendors or just one vendor so the system will interoperate citywide.

Honolulu sees great potential for cost savings from the 3G/4G cameras. For example, if a suspect falsely accuses an officer of inappropriate behavior, the city may have camera footage to refute it. This can save Honolulu funds that would have been spent defending lawsuits. The city also plans to mount the cameras in prison cellblocks and staging areas where convicts are processed.

Responder Communications and Data Sharing

Many local governments enlist help from agencies in neighboring cities or counties to address fleeing felons who cross jurisdictional lines, fires that rage out of control and other natural disasters. Given that dispatchers and responders have no immediate view of the assistance available, help may be too little, too late, too much or the wrong kind. Franklin County, Mass., is responding to this problem by deploying a microwave network to extend 4G wireless broadband from fiber-optic cable. Across that network, police officers, firefighters and paramedics will use mobile devices to see data that’s available to dispatchers, including responders en route or at dispatchers’ disposal. Various agencies and jurisdictions will communicate in real time with one another on a single, interoperable 4G network using mobile devices like ruggedized handhelds and laptops. This will save time and increase the accuracy of coordinated responses during emergencies. Through the mobile devices, responders will have access to multiple databases they previously couldn’t access from the field. The devices will connect to the National Crime Information Center database and the Criminal Justice Information System in Massachusetts. Law enforcement officers will immediately be able to check identities and search warrants when dealing with detained people who resist being identified. Rather than trying to identify people by describing them to a dispatcher, officers can search the databases themselves, which may include images of tattoos, scars and other distinctive characteristics.

Advanced broadband capabilities are essential for firefighters who may be at the scene of a fire for an extended length of time. They need to see streaming information that will help them track weather patterns and other data. Using 4G video capabilities in mobile devices, firefighters can send videos of the fire and its environment to other agencies and personnel who need the information.