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WatchGuard Helps Police Data Storage for Video Evidence

WatchGuard is a line of high definition in-car video systems that sit inside the vehicle and record activity outside. Some people use these types of devices to constantly record their drives for insurance purposes. However, the WatchGuard is specifically designed with law enforcement in mind. The police can mount these cameras to their screens and dashboards to record everything, These videos often come in very useful for providing evidence; perhaps showing a risky move that a driver pulled or the number plate of someone who got away.

Captured video like this used to be recorded and turn out grainy and low-resolution. If you’ve ever seen store security footage then you get an idea of what sort of quality was offered. Of course, when trying to pinpoint specific details in a video, having low-res footage doesn’t help. Unlike in some TV shows, the police can’t simply just say ‘enhance’ to clear the footage up.

That’s why there has been demand for HD video and where devices like the WatchGuard come in. However, the problem with recording in HD is that storage can become an issue. Recording in HD means that there is a far higher pixel count, thus the data that makes up the file mounts up very quickly.

The WatchGuard 4RE in-car video systems records simultaneously in two resolutions – the version that needs to kept can be selected afterwards and only that version will be uploaded. However, the officer isn’t actually choosing between SD or HD. Instead, they select what type of incident it was and the WatchGuard will choose from there. For example, an arrest is stored in HD while a basic traffic infraction is SD.

Storing all video in HD adds costs to storage and makes exporting (to court or for external review) a slower process. As such, it has stopped some agencies from making the move to HD. For them, the downsides are too much of a hindrance.

“We discovered that most police agencies record at the lowest resolution in order to minimize file sizes and data storage costs,” said Robert Vanman, WatchGuard President and CEO. “So we decided to develop a recording system that handled routine events (that do not go to court) differently than the critical events (about 10 percent of recordings) that stem from ‘arrestable’ incidents.”

“We simultaneously record all events in both 720p high definition and a lower resolution, and then after the recording is stopped, we automatically determine which resolution to keep based on the event type classification. Each agency sets up their own list of event classifications and configures which event types they want to keep in high definition,” he continued.

Captain Michael A. Patrick, the assistant director of Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol said that they will be using the system as the ability to choose the resolution output is a great cost and time saver.

It’s a simple solution, but it’s an elegant one and it solves a legit problem that the police force had with their data storage. Check out WatchGuard’s official website for further information.

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