In order to stop theft of materials, construction equipment, and vandalism is to catch the perpetrator(s) in action or pursue them with documented pictorial evidence. The only way this can be accomplished is by having a construction site with security cameras installed that have the ability to trigger the camera upon motion detection and capture images with infrared night vision technology.
The construction industry is a market that has not evolved with technology as much as other industries have to prevent against theft and vandalism. Eye Trax, the leading manufacturer of wireless security cameras, has designed the best jobsite surveillance camera for today’s construction industry by considering all the factors involved from high definition time-lapse video, security camera measures, web-based software, mobile-based applications, infrastructure requirements and installation.
The Ranger Series Construction Camera is Eye Trax’s solution to this challenge. It is a wireless, solar-powered system that is able to be installed in various locations of the construction site throughout the building process. The Ranger Series cameras are triggered by motion, have night vision capabilities and are controlled by a web-based User Interface or mobile phone application.
Remote Site Monitoring System Options
Up till now, the only options construction contractors have in today’s market are either a modified hunting camera or high-end time-lapse video camera that does not offer motion-sensing technology. A hunting camera is a cheaper alternative but lacks the picture quality and motion-sensing area because it is designed to watch a deer trail and not a large construction site. Most hunting cameras require the contractor to view the pictures by picking up the internal SD card to view the pictures on a computer. The method of using a hunting camera is the least expensive option and also least effective because, by the time a contractor has realized a construction site has been vandalized, it’s more than likely too late to catch the perpetrator. The SD card will show images of the perpetrator(s) but more than likely it will not be enough detailed evidence to pursue and arrest them. This is when frustrating to a contractor who has lost equipment, materials, time and money on setting up the hunting camera and actually captured images of the perpetrator but can’t do anything about recouping their losses or capturing the person or people who entered the construction site.
The design intent of the time-lapse construction cameras was for the purpose of taking high-resolution pictures on a timed interval in order to create a time-lapse video of the construction process. The designers of these systems mistakenly left out the ability to use the time-lapse construction camera as a jobsite security camera by not offering a motion sensing technology or night vision capabilities. They also did not consider the portability, installation and power considerations of the time-lapse video camera that the contractor would need to effectively use the camera.
Security cameras offer “motion detection” with their systems, but it is very important to understand the differences in types of motion detection technology and what the security camera does with the pictures once the motion detector is triggered. The most common method of motion detection used by security camera systems uses a method of change in pixels in the viewing area as a trigger. This method is most common because the technology was shared from indoor camera systems into the design of their outdoor camera systems. This type of pixel change to trigger the security camera is 100-percent software driven. Indoor motion detection cameras very rarely have any movement that was cause a false alarm unless a window was left open or the air ventilation system causes paper or drapes to move. When the image sensor inside the motion-activated camera sees a percentage change in pixels, it triggers, and takes pictures resulting in an “event.” This type of trigger causes many false alarms because anything that changes in front of the motion-activated camera is considered an event. Wind blowing leaves on the trees or trash blowing around a construction site will cause this type of motion sensing technology to trigger. When the motion activated camera creates this many false alarms, the contractor has the tendency to not pay close attention to the pictures received because they receive so many and eventually stop the system from sending the images because of the annoyance factor. This ultimately eliminates the reasons for installing motion-activated security cameras on a jobsite.
The Engineers at Eye Trax considered these issues with motion sensing technology when designing the company’s solar-powered, wireless, motion-activated Ranger Series Construction Cameras. The Eye Trax Camera system utilizes an integrated passive infrared sensor that measure changes in “thermal activity” in the camera viewing area. A passive infrared sensor (PIR) creates an invisible thermal grid in front of the construction camera viewing area. A human, vehicle, or a large animal emits their own heat source that the PIR sensor can see and immediately triggers the motion activated construction camera to start taking pictures. Events captured using PIR motion sensing technology are very important to the contractor because they are only concerned about human or vehicle activity on the jobsites after hours. All events captured by the motion-activated construction camera are time and location stamped, and then these events are immediately sent over the secure cellular network to the Eye Trax cloud-based servers, where notifications via SMS to any mobile phone and emailed are sent to designated recipients.
Installation and Operation
Installation and operation of a construction camera is another topic of analysis between the product offerings from the various construction cameras manufacturers. Most construction sites will not have temporary power poles installed until the site has been cleared and graded. The Eye Trax Ranger Series Construction Cameras are solar powered and transmit over the cellular network therefore eliminating the need for any infrastructure. They can also be installed anywhere, at any time, to begin the capturing of high-definition time-lapse photography and offer security camera features to the construction site.
Mounting of the construction camera system is also very important when considering a contractor’s investment. Traditional time-lapse constructions cameras are very heavy and if they do offer a solar panel option it is on average 36 inches by 48 inches in order to produce the required 110V for the system and required a very large and heavy car battery bank in efforts to keep the system operating on cloudy days. The result of all this weight is the requirement for a 10-inch pole to be professionally installed on a designated spot on the construction site. This not only makes the installation expensive but also very difficult to remove and re-locate the construction camera to a new location when required.
Eye Trax Ranger Series construction cameras are designed to operate on a 12V system and utilize a small internal battery that is powered by a small 14-inch by 14-inch solar panel that keeps the system running indefinitely. The battery located inside the aluminum housing of the construction camera allows the construction site security camera to operate for a full five days in the event of inclement weather. And, the system will send out battery level warning emails in the event the voltage levels are low and the solar panel needs adjustment. The lightweight design has allowed for smaller mounting pole requirements, which has given Eye Trax the opportunity to offer a unique, quick deploy and removal mounting pole system.
Eye Trax has designed a patent pending Barrel Mounting Pole system for quick installation and removal without the need of digging a hole or hiring a third party for pole installation and removal.
The Barrel Mounting Pole system is comprised of a 55-gallon plastic drum and three steel poles that bolt together forming a 12-foot mounting pole for the Ranger construction camera. The design height of 12 feet is the calibrated height for use of the integrated motion detector and infrared lighting system in the construction camera. The 25-pound Barrel Mounting Pole system is easy to pick up and move to any location on the construction site. Once a designated spot has been determined for the construction camera, the Barrel Mounting Pole system can be filled with water through the top with a garden hose. Once filled with water the system weighs nearly 500 pounds and can withstand hurricane force winds.
When the requirement for the construction camera has been fulfilled in the designated locations on the construction site, the removal of the system is just as easy as putting it up. Simply remove the construction camera from the mounting pole surface and reverse the pole installation process. The water is emptied out through the bottom of the Barrel Mounting Pole system via a spigot. Now, the Barrel Mounting Pole system and construction camera can be relocated anywhere with very little effort
Viewing events is also very important when considering security on a construction site. The most effective way to capture a perpetrator on a construction site after normal working hours is to catch them while they are still on site. The only way to do this is by receiving live images that can confirm the presence of perpetrator.
Pictures are sent via SMS or email from the Eye Trax Construction Camera’s User Interface 24/7, or after normal business hours, between 6 p.m.-6 a.m., by programming the web-based or mobile phone based User Interface accordingly. The contractor can review these live images and can determine if action is required. If action is required, contractors can dial 911 to alert the police that there is a “crime in action,” and the police will use every effort to immediately descend to the construction site to apprehend the perpetrator.
The Eye Trax web-based and mobile phone application User Interface is the “hands on” controls of the solar powered wireless outdoor security camera system once it has been deployed to the remote area(s). From the User Interface, contractors can perform the following functions:
- Alter Picture Acquisition Settings
- Change Camera Name & Location
- Set Time Zone Of Camera Location
- View All Pictures By Date & Time
- Request A LIVE Image
- Send Pictures To Email Accounts
- Turn On/Off Auto Email Function
- Send Pictures To Mobile Phone Numbers
- Turn On/Off Auto SMS Function
- Save Image To Desktop
- Create And Edit Time-Lapse Videos
- Place Text And Draw On Pictures
- Overlay Two Pictures For Detail Comparison
- Add/Remove Users On The Account
- Modify User Privileges
- Modify User’s Camera Viewing Options
- View Time Lapse Video Archive
- Delete Pictures
- Capture Camera Snippet Code
The Camera Console is the first page the contractor sees when they log into the User Interface from a web browser or the mobile phone application. The Camera Console is designed to be the “command center” for viewing multiple cameras from one window and having the abilities to make quick changes to settings of the wireless outdoor camera system.
Companies that are set up to allow for monitoring of the wireless outdoor cameras for security purposes, this is the page that would be active most of the time. The security professional will easily see when the wireless outdoor security camera has acquired a new picture because it will appear on this screen with a red box around it until the security professional has clicked the green check mark to indicate it has been reviewed. Each outdoor camera will have a small picture on this page that will be arranged by three outdoor cameras across in infinitely down as they are added.
When the contractor clicks on one of the small images on the Camera Console page, the software will open the User Interface, which provides expanded features and controls for each individual solar-powered outdoor webcam. The User Interface will open a new browser window so that the view of the Camera Console is not lost and can still be monitored. The User Interface provides a much larger viewing window of the pictures acquired by the solar powered remote webcam.
The need for remote security monitoring on construction sites is greater than ever, yet many contractors continue to struggle with finding the right method or equipment to successfully protect their investments. What makes Eye Trax products stand out from other surveillance systems is that they are the only truly outdoor wireless cameras on the market. The company’s products accomplish this by utilizing the available cellular network in order to transmit pictures, eliminating the need for the infrastructure of a computer, phone line, internet connection, router, and power which is required for the traditional wireless cameras. Eye Trax wireless, solar-powered construction cameras make remote area surveillance an inexpensive reality.