Portable Wireless HD Camera System Monitors Competitive Sporting Events
Big Sky Endurance Sports, an event timing company, uses specialty software & radio-frequency identification chips (RFIC) to record athletes’ finish times at professional racing events. On occasion, RFICs can go missing or become lost during a race. Recognizing this, Big Sky Endurance Sports (“BSES” or “Big Sky”) began its search for a back-up method that could effectively monitor athletes’ finish times. BSES recruited VideoSurveillance.com to design a portable and wireless camera system to capture athletes’ bib numbers at each racing event.
VideoSurveillance.com reviewed one of BSES’s upcoming outdoor race courses as well as its technical needs and limitations to determine what camera system would work best in a remote outdoor environment. Once every detail was assessed, VideoSurveillance.com recommended a cost-effective outdoor wireless video solution designed for maximized portability. This was a critical component to the operation, due to the fact that BSES coordinates racing events in several states.
Big Sky’s racing events are now furnished with a wireless surveillance solution that fulfills every one of its needs, most importantly mobility. VideoSurveillance.com worked with BSES every step of the way to ensure that it had the right power devices for smooth, wireless transmission. The HD cameras included in the system are able to capture clear footage of every athlete at the finish line. On top of that, BSES can now create promotional videos of each race to generate additional revenue.
- System takes just minutes to set up and take down
- Improves time accuracy with back-up video of all athletes
- Enables BSES to create promotional videos of every racing event
Racing Event Timing Services
Big Sky has an extensive history working behind the scenes at competitive sporting events including running events, triathlons, open-water swimming, mountain biking, and paddle board events. For these events, BSES provides a wide spectrum of event timing services, ranging from athletic statistics and pre-race registration consulting to timing chip distribution and bib number listings. As a mobile business, BSES travels from one racing event to the other, in several states like Montana, California, Utah, Nevada, and Oregon.
One of the primary contributors to Big Sky’s solid reputation is its keen attention to accuracy. In order to deliver the most accurate timing services, Big Sky would need another way to monitor every athlete’s finish time as well as the entire race course to watch for any inconsistencies or problems that may occur near the finish line.
Big Sky Endurance Sports Partners with VideoSurveillance.com
BSES was well aware at the onset of its search that it had unique needs to fulfill. After speaking with a wireless video expert at VideoSurveillance.com, BSES was certain that it had found the right company to partner with. VideoSurveillance.com boasts a team of veteran IP video experts, all of whom have extensive experience building custom IP wireless camera systems. When BSES presented its challenge to VideoSurveillance.com, the company’s team worked diligently to provide the best wireless solution possible – one that was portable as well as strong enough to endure the rigors of outdoor sports competitions.
BSES took advantage of VideoSurveillance.com’s free Virtual Integration Program (VIP), which included a virtual walkthrough of one of its running courses, a thorough evaluation of its needs and technical requirements, camera & wireless transceiver location recommendations, and free technical support to facilitate a smooth and easy installation. By taking the time to analyze BSES’s needs, VideoSurveillance.com was able to build a custom HD outdoor wireless system with all the features BSES was looking for and more – high-quality image resolution, wireless connectivity, and a weather-proof design.
Scott Muir, Co-owner of BSES, was impressed with VideoSurveillance.com’s Virtual Integration Program: “I sent VideoSurveillance.com an event map and explained the logistics of how I needed to get signal from one place to another and record video. Your team was then able to tell me what equipment I’d need to make that happen.”
VideoSurveillance.com Designs Outdoor Wireless System
To overcome the challenge of monitoring in a remote outdoor environment, VideoSurveillance.com assembled an outdoor wireless camera system with four weatherproof Optica B102 cameras, a wireless link and transceiver, an Omni-directional antenna, and a DC-battery converter. With no way to run long, bulky power cables to and from the finish line, a wireless IP camera system was critical to the operation. “The fact that I can do it all over IP is nice, because if I used CCTV cameras, I would have to cable everything, and if I’m doing something a kilometer or two out from the base station, it just wouldn’t work.”
As a mobile business, BSES is constantly on the move. Big Sky travels by van to each outdoor racing event where it sets up timing and scoring equipment. Once the race is completed and Big Sky has completed its job, everything must be packed up and put back in its van for the next event. In other words, all equipment, including the cameras, must be portable, easy to maneuver, and fast to set up and take down.
Leveraging its expertise, VideoSurveillance.com was able to design a custom outdoor wireless Optica camera system that was transportable and compact so that Big Sky Endurance Sports could install and take down the cameras, pre- and post-race.
Outdoor Performance paired with HD Video
The Optica B102 bullet camera is armed with a barrage of professional-quality features, including HD 720p resolution at 30 frames per second, day/night functionality with built-in IR illuminators, an outdoor-rated enclosure, digital zoom, on-board storage space, and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). The camera’s outdoor performance is stellar: “We’ve had fog and light rain, and it’s been no issue for the camera,” reported Muir.
Detailed Images Capture Athlete Bib Numbers
With the new system in place, Big Sky now has another way to verify an athlete’s finish time, especially when they’ve lost their identification chip during the race. Further, capturing the athlete’s face and bib number allows BSES to go back and check through recorded video to verify the moment they finished the race. “We wanted to see that bib number on the athlete’s chest, which can be pretty small depending on the event. If it’s off to the side or on their head, it can be hard to see sometimes, but with the cameras in place, I can now see that number and when they crossed the finish line.”
Wireless Network Design
Big Sky had some initial concerns with establishing a camera connection, mainly with the location of these outdoor events including wooded areas or beaches. These types of outdoor environments make it hard to create a line of sight between the camera and the base station, which can make it that much more of a challenge to install a working video surveillance system.
To overcome this challenge, VideoSurveillance.com designed a system with a base station, wireless transceiver and link, as well as an Omni-directional antenna. Without these core items, the system wouldn’t be able to transmit and receive data across far distances. In addition, VideoSurveillance.com included a portable battery to provide power to all four cameras. The battery easily connects to the antenna and PoE injector for a hassle-free setup.
Dependable Technical Support Before and After Installation
Throughout the entire process, including pre- and post-installation, VideoSurveillance.com provided ongoing customer service and technical support to Big Sky to ensure the system performed well.
For unique wireless surveillance projects such as this, partnering with an experienced integrator with a strong background in wireless solutions is absolutely necessary for reliable, high quality video transmission.
Big Sky Endurance Sports Looks to the Future
Since the implementation of the Optica wireless system, Big Sky has been able to improve accuracy and efficiency, two key components that will help draw in more clients. In the event that an athlete ever loses his or her timing chip during a race, Big Sky can go back and review footage to determine their time by identifying them in the image. All this is made possible with HD resolution, which results in significantly enhanced image quality.
Big Sky is also able to provide another service to its clientele -- promotional videos of each racing event. Race directors, as well as the athletes, are always eager to witness the event’s final moments. Moving forward, BSES plans to optimize the use of its wireless video solution by creating eye-catching videos for marketing purposes.
On the whole, Co-Owner Scott Muir is extremely pleased as well as impressed with the IP wireless video system, saying: “I really like the HD image quality and the fact that the system is a plug-and-play setup.”