The difference between what would be considered consumer grade and what would be deemed commercial grade can sometimes be hard to define. In most definitions it comes down to being fit for purpose, but what does this really mean?
Commercial grade equipment tends to require higher quality parts designed to withstand heavy usage and temperature extremes. In our experience there are very few dash cameras that truly live up to this grade. Most are simply repurposed consumer grade cameras with little consideration for their intended purpose.
For example, using SD cards as a means to record video is fine for the average consumer use case, however SD card memory inherently has a limited number of write/erase cycles. Inevitably, electrons get trapped where they’re not wanted, and the voltage levels shift, which eventually causes read or write failures. Any given bit of flash memory is specified for a certain number of cycles before failure, but in reality, it’s a random process and there could be a problem long before the numbers would predict it. With video files being so large and SD cards not having a particularly large storage capacity, the amount of full capacity overwrites can very quickly add up, meaning the odds are stacked against you. On top of this extreme temperatures can also cause a card to corrupt and fail, something which can render it completely unsalvageable.
The main issue is that you won’t necessarily know your SD card is corrupted until something happens and you go to retrieve the footage. It is only then that you will discover that the footage you needed to rely on was not recorded. At this point the whole purpose of having it there in the first place is debatable.
For this reason, SD cards are not a great recording medium for the ongoing recording of footage in the first place. Let alone in a high temperature environment such as a car, especially for commercial applications.
Digicore’s latest commercial grade dash camera solution addresses this by using high-grade, high-capacity, Solid State drives. These drives are built to operate at higher temperatures without failing and are rated for far more overwrites. As the hard drives are being used in vehicles, it is important that they don’t have any moving parts that could be affected by vibration. Solid state drives as such are deemed the best solution currently available.
The second consideration that separates consumer vs. commercial cameras is the aspect of tampering. As commercial applications usually involve fleets of vehicles and as such multiple drivers and personalities, it is important that our chosen camera cannot easily be tampered with. Our solution addresses this twofold with the addition of an anti-tamper case, as well as tamper detection and alarms as standard.
Another issue that we discovered when researching the existing market was access to the video footage. For a single consumer it is easy enough to remove the SD card and download the video data to their computer. This however changes significantly when one applies this to a commercial fleet of potentially hundreds of vehicles. Our solution addresses this with a live interface which allows a business to not only remotely access the video, but to also view the cameras live, both in-cab and externally (handy in the case of an accident or impact, to immediately assess the condition of passengers and send appropriate help if needed). This live aspect also allows us to change setting on the camera over the air, which can then be pushed to an entire fleet of fitted cameras.
Our camera is also fitted with a GPS chip and a tri-axial accelerometer, allowing a business to get a full picture of exactly where the footage was taken, the speed throughout the trip and also if there were any harsh events. These harsh events are highlighted and a short clip is uploaded to the interface’s timeline for review. This allows a business to quickly review what happened at the point of the event and to decide if further investigation or action needs to be taken, without trawling through hours of footage.
A commercial application should also mean that OH&S benefits are considered. Our camera has the ability to add a fatigue detection unit with in-cab alerts, detecting micro sleeps and distracted drivers, thus ticking some OH&S boxes and addressing driver fatigue on a measurable and impactive level.
Another important consideration when looking at in-cab video monitoring for fleet management, is that the light in-cab is usually limited, especially at night. Digicore’s dash cam solution addresses this with infra-red night vision cameras so you’d always have a clear picture, even in full darkness.
Considering all the added benefits our dash camera offers without any added distractions, we firmly believe that we have what may well be the best solution for fleet dash cameras available in the market today.
Call us now to discuss if this option may be right for your fleet.