Wireless video camera patrols

DO NOT be surprised if there are miniature airships hovering over your head at next year's Chingay parade.

If used, these miniature spy planes may well be carrying a security video camera beaming its signal back to a control centre via wireless technology.

This dream has been conceived by Mr Christopher Murty, a researcher with Security Links & Management Services, who successfully tested the first outdoor mobile wireless security-camera system in Singapore at the Woodstock Revisited concert at Fort Canning on Wednesday.

Though still attached to the ground, the wireless security cameras kept watch on the two metal-detector-equipped entrances, recording every entrance and exit of some 800 people at the event.

'The beauty of this system is that it is portable and inexpensive,' said Mr Surajpal Singh, a sales and marketing manager with the company.

'Up until now, wireless security systems have been too expensive to consider for most events.'

In addition, wireless cameras, which can run off batteries, are 'perfect' for one-off outdoor events as they are simple to set up and flexible, he said.

Wednesday night's set-up took only two hours for the two men to erect and network.

A simple outdoor set-up costs between $800 and $1,500 to rent. Those looking to buy a system can expect to pay between $2,000 and $7,000.

The lack of cables and fast installation reduces costs by up to 50 to 70 per cent over the non-wireless alternatives.

The Eagle Eye, which has been developed, manufactured and designed locally, centres on a processor connected to a wireless receiver and a hard drive that can record up to a month's worth of footage.

Each camera connected to a transmitter can be placed anywhere at an event up to 1km from the receiver, without the need for lengthy and inconvenient cables.

Systems can be customised to include zoom, to be disguised or to function in low light with infra-red capabilities.

The applications are endless, said Mr Larry Lim, the managing director of Portek International, which has installed wireless security systems on land reclamation dredgers, new condos, construction sites and car parks.

The wireless systems installed in car parks even had character-recognition software that can read number plates, he said.

Mr Dennis Foo, managing director of Devils Bar, immediately saw the potential in the system.

'The freedom of not having wires adds a new dimension to security. No longer would I have to worry about cumbersome and unsightly wires,' he said.

'The mobility would make it a lot easier to move the cameras around. By repositioning the cameras, potential troublemakers planning to deactivate them wouldn't know where they are.'

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