District surveys benefits of digital video system

Posted on October 1, 2004

NORCROSS, Ga. — School bus operations looking to upgrade or change their analog video surveillance equipment need a reliable product with superior storage capacity, little or no maintenance and minimum data management. Bus Vision, whose parent company is Digital Security Vision (DSV), offers that and more with its range of digital video surveillance equipment.

With multiple systems to offer, the company aims to augment the traditional view of passengers with those of the driver, stairwell and bus exterior.

”Digital video is state of the art,” said Robert Scott, executive vice president at DSV. “It’s circuit board technology. There are virtually no moving parts within the units themselves, so they’re much more stable in a mobile environment.”

Patti Waites, maintenance supervisor at Hamilton-Southeastern (Ind.) School District, has a fleet of 160 buses. About 30 of the buses are equipped with analog recorders, but problems with keeping enough tapes in stock, tapes stopping because of voltage shortages and below-zero temperatures prompted research into digital technology. The district now has 30 buses with Bus Vision digital surveillance systems installed and has plans to purchase 17 more in the next year.

The unit’s zoom features make locating particular footage easy, Waites said. “You just take the cursor and block a square on the screen and it’ll zoom right in.”

She reported only one problem. “The sound in the back of the bus is poor,” she said. Waites tried using separate microphones, but the engine noises were still audible. “That would be the only downfall,” she said, “but noises from the rear are hard to avoid with any system.” Barring the rear noise problems, Bus Vision’s digital surveillance offers several benefits, including having video after a bus incident to control liability and claims against the transportation department.

”Just having control over one claim per year is going to pay for a lot of video systems,” said Scott.

Data management is another core value of going from VCR to digital, Scott said, but it has to be easy to operate.

Waites agreed. She said she appreciates the manageability of Bus Vision’s docking stations and the hard drives available on new school buses.

”I pull the hard drives out of the buses, put them in the docking station, download what I need and send it to the schools,” she said. “It makes my life a lot easier.”


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