A new mobile product called HT 4Sight promises to bring live, encrypted aerial video feeds directly to smartphones on the ground.
Initially marketed to law enforcement officials -- but clearly valuable for the military, broadcast media, rescue organizations and any major exercise that requires ground and air teams to coordinate with each other -- the technology takes footage shot by helicopters and streams it live to mobile smartphones.
Currently, footage shot in the air must be sent to a ground station where it's redirected to television sets and computers. Until now, mobile phones didn't have the connectivity and bandwidth to handle such live streams.
But Van Nuys, Calif.-based Helinet Aviation says its product can stream that live video to smartphones using a downloadable mobile software client that syncs to a computer.
The new capability enhances the ability of ground personnel to accurately assess and respond to crisis situations by providing them with anywhere, anytime access to real time intelligence. Users can monitor an unlimited number of live video feeds on a single device, allowing them to manage large scale surveillance operations comprised of multiple camera systems operating simultaneously. Additionally, HT 4Sight allows users to take active control of the remote cameras in their system to direct the zoom, tilt and pan functions all from their handheld device.
How does it work? On one end, the system uses a helicopter-mounted Axsys gyro-stabilized high-definition camera system that can be controlled by an operator. Helinet takes the 1.5 Gbps live video stream and compresses it to 18.3 Mbps to send via a data downlink, as microwaves, to a ground station.
A directional antenna can transmit images at distances of up to 120 miles without interruption. Once the signal is terrestrial, it's expanded back to 1.5Gps, down-converted to standard definition, cropped to fit a smartphone screen and streamed over the web using the JPEG 2000 compression standard.
Though the initial downlink of data introduces a 100-millisecond delay -- additional processing could add up to two seconds -- the feed is almost real-time.
In fact, Helinet says users can watch up to four live video feeds on a single device. HT 4Sight is available for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com