Every remote camera system is designed to fulfill a specific set of criteria. Often businesses opt for the wrong system as they do not understand their inspection needs or have not considered the limitations or strengths of various systems. We will look at considerations we feel are key when investigating an inspection system’s suitability.
What do you need the system to achieve? Many businesses are attempting to utilize conferencing platforms and mobile phones for inspections and technical support. These systems were never designed for inspection and simply do not have the features to conduct inspections remotely. Given the importance of Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) and Final Inspections (FI), allowing Test Engineers to conduct their tests undistracted should be a priority – and the system adopted should allow this.
Not all cameras and platforms are created equal. Mobile phone cameras and embedded cameras found in augmented reality sets use small sized sensors that struggle in low light. The low light performance and lack of stability of portable cameras often results in blurry and dark images with insufficient detail for project documentation. No optical zoom and dependence on the test Engineer for placement and stability often yields poor results. For quick support and trouble-shooting tasks a mobile phone or head mounted camera can work. For documenting an inspection, a camera with a large sensor, optical zoom and a stable mount is recommended.
Many platforms being pressed into service do not have the functionality required for the Client to witness a test while also observing the test procedure or test software and capturing critical information. Many conferencing platforms are simply too complicated or lack the core functionality needed to document testing, resulting in re-work and late deliveries.
Many small businesses are looking for a cheap or free alternative to replace travel. Unfortunately, system stability often suffers when trying to utilize free conferencing software for inspections. These software programs try to work with the broadest range of cameras and operating systems which often results in system instability and crashes. Software that boast high resolution streaming capability will often be resource hungry and can cause powerful laptops to crash due to heavy CPU load. Additionally, the current demand on national internet networks and strain on business networks can also cause bandwidth issues and further instability.
Who do you want to control what can and cannot be seen during a remote inspection? From the Host’s point of view, employee privacy and other customer’s intellectual property is critical. However, the Client still needs to ensure that they capture all the relevant details. The Host should be able to restrict what can be seen outside of the test area, while the Client can still focus on key points of interest independent of the Client positioning the camera. Remote camera control allows the test Engineer to conduct their tasks efficiently, while the Client can focus on witnessing the test without the typical motion sickness from shaky mobile phone video.
Many Test Engineers are placed under a huge amount of stress during testing. By adding the responsibility of being a cameraman during the test, workplace accidents can result and shut down the test or even the site for days or weeks. If using a head mounted camera, the Test Engineer or Technician will often be required to place their head closer to machinery and equipment than they otherwise would, increasing the risk. Data privacy regulations also need to be considered as a breach can result in sizable fines. This alone excludes the use of Internet Protocol (IP) security cameras and other wall-mounted camera systems.
Very few businesses implement remote video inspection to check a box on some paperwork. The quality required for product delivery needs to be according to specifications and failure to deliver this will result in problems down the line. In some instances, a mobile phone, laptop webcam or augmented reality set may be sufficient. In most cases though, a purpose-built system is a better choice and will add far more value in the immediate future.
Seebird systems are purpose-built for remote inspection and support in industrial applications. With excellent optics, far-end remote control and an intuitive software platform, the Test Engineer is free to work while the Client has full camera control within the frame the Engineer has set. Functionality, system stability, control and OHS have all been considered.
Our systems have been built to make inspections faster, easier and travel free. Request a demonstration and see why leading Norwegian manufacturers are using our systems.
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