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PacketHop releases their Communication System 3.0, with new secured mobile video surveillance options; and hardware: The PacketHop system is aimed at first responders and others involved in public safety and general security. The latest system supports robust streaming video from surveillance systems for users as they move towards a scene of interest—what PacketHop dubs “drive-up surveillance.”
The company has also added two hardware devices. While originally a hardware firm with a software overlay, the company reorganized itself around applications that could run over many systems, using techniques to improve the quality of service and throughput. They’ve now introduced hardware again: the Mobile Router for vehicle access, which can handle up to three radios (802.11a/b/g, 4.9 GHz public safety, and cellular), and be used to broadcast video as well. The Mesh Exchange is a mesh node designed to connect to a video camera to push traffic to the rest of a network using 802.11a/b/g and/or 4.9 GHz.
Motorola now supports video surveillance over wireless through its ecosystem: The firm has integrated its various mesh, point-to-point, point-to-multipoint (Canopy), and pre-WiMax gear with applications supplied by a variety of vendors. This is a growing trend, seen with Cisco and Nortel as well. Their announcement today highlights wireless video surveillance, with a quote in the release from Sony. The notion is that on an integrated platform, customers don’t have to figure out how to get a camera or other device that’s been certified as part of the system to work across the network. Rather, you plug it in, and use a standard management interface or other tools to get it running, requiring less training and less third-party integration expense.
The Justice Department’s inspector general gives national law enforcement wireless network poor marks: $200m has been spent with little to show for it. The majority of the $772m allotted to the program was used to support the older, existing networks. The system’s overall cost will be $5b and take until 2021 to complete; 81,000 agents of the Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury departments are to use the network. The Department of Homeland Security can’t wait for progress and is charting its own course.
Private analysts now peg the full cost at $30b, according to The Washington Post. The project is 15 months behind at present. In-fighting among departments, a long-standing problem in federal law enforcement, is one of the factors, the inspector general found.
A number of large-scale federal projects have been abandoned in recent years after hundreds of millions or even billions being spent, including an FBI project mentioned in this article, and the next-generation air-traffic control system. Software projects don’t scale, and integrated software/hardware projects are always orders of magnitude greater than expected.
For a great book on why projects like this fail, and how to avoid some of those problems, read Scott Rosenberg’s Dreaming in Code. He explains how software complexity has outstripped program management capability.
Firetide powers the mesh network in Dallas created by local firm BearCom for crime reduction: The system covers 30 percent of downtown with live video monitoring carried over mesh Wi-Fi connections. The system has 40 cameras, 32 Firetide mesh nodes, and seven long-range wireless bridges from BridgeWave. The system uses 4.9 GHz.