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The business demands for live video streaming over cellular are tremendous. While we typically think about consumer-generated video via social media, there’s a fast-growing need for high-quality, real-time video streaming for use cases in almost every vertical—from traffic management to retail security to monitoring utility infrastructure.
But there are several obstacles to achieving reliable, robust, and resilient video over cellular. “Cellular by itself is inherently constrained,” says Kunal Shukla, Senior Vice President of Technology at Digital Barriers, an AI-based video compression technology and solution provider. “There are challenges in terms of bandwidth, congestion, and packet loss.”
Through a combination of military-grade video compression and AI technologies, Digital Barriers empowers organizations with the full potential of live video over cellular. “We want to ensure a robust, reliable video stream from point A to point B without sacrificing quality,” Shukla says, “and do it at a disruptive cost.” The company’s technology can compress video by up to 90%, providing tremendous bandwidth savings and reducing the overall total cost of ownership for customers.
“#Remote monitoring and traffic #surveillance are important use cases in transportation, and our solution can help reduce operational costs and save capital costs in terms of bandwidth and #data.” – Kunal Shukla, @DigitalBarriers via @insightdottech
Streaming Video from Remote Roadway Cameras
One example of the Digital Barriers platform in action is with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), which needed to stream video from roadway cameras in remote locations where fiber connectivity is not feasible. In one locale, DoT wanted to bring in video over cellular technology that could transmit via 4G and LTE back to a network operating center, allowing it to monitor all the live feeds without interruptions. “Technology like ours brings reliability, robustness, and resiliency to use cases such as this one,” says Shukla. “It doesn’t matter what your radio conditions or cellular environment is—you will get a stream from your cameras to a network operating center without losing quality.”
The Company’s EdgeVis software allows the department to run AI analytics on top of the video encoding and streaming, applying logic such as object, people, and wrong-way detection. For example, if a camera senses a stalled car or a collision, the system will relay an alert to the control center. “Remote monitoring and traffic surveillance are important use cases in transportation, and our solution can help reduce operational costs and save capital costs in terms of bandwidth and data,” Shukla explains. “Using the solution, the transportation department has seen a savings of 70-80% in data costs along with improved reliability, reducing the need for costly truck rolls.”
Construction Site Monitoring and Surveillance
The solution’s unique compression and AI capabilities, along with flexibility to connect via satellite, enable other use cases such as construction site safety and security. Case in point, a UK-based construction company wanted to use video over cellular for remote monitoring and surveillance of sites, for worker safety and nighttime security. The operations team brought in cameras connected to Digital Barriers’ IoVT edge computing platform, which performs real-time analytics and streams compressed video back to the video management system.
“As a result, they’re seeing improvements in operations, lower insurance and other costs, reduction in theft and losses, and better worker safety,” says Shukla.
Building a Secure Ecosystem with Multi-Industry Appeal
Since its inception a decade ago, Digital Barriers worked with federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, UK Ministry of Defense, and other demanding high-security government organizations. “It was essential for our platform to keep security, privacy, and confidentiality at the center as it was built,” says Shukla. Yet the rapid development of AI brings new challenges. Shukla explains, “There are several ways to approach security for video analytics applications, including encryption, access control, and anonymization tools for facial recognition. Our solution uses all three to ensure security at all layers.”
The solution’s edge processing equipment also acts as a firewall, preventing less secure hardware, such as cameras, from relaying data to bad actors. “By default, our hardware will only transmit information in one direction,” Shukla says. “That’s a big advantage, because it means we can control rogue devices.”
Digital Barriers relies on valuable partnerships with systems integrators for implementation. “We work with the major SIs, but also with niche players who are specific to verticals such as oil and gas or federal spaces, where only a few people are certified,” says Shukla. “When we bring in the best-of-class ecosystem companies, we can accelerate the time to value.”
The company’s partnership with Intel is instrumental in its evolution outside the defense market. “We’re transitioning from a custom solution to an Intel-based platform [that] can go into manufacturing, retail, healthcare, smart cities, and more,” Shukla says. “It’s opened up a lot more verticals we can enter at a competitive cost point, bringing technologies that drive business outcomes.”
Video as a sensor will continue to drive the growth of video over cellular in the future, and in cooperation with edge analytics and AI, will play a key role in digital transformation across industries. “Video over cellular is going to change our individual lives and how we live, work, and operate as a society,” Shukla says. “It’s already doing that, and I see it becoming more important as the future unfolds.”