Traditionally, all communication from remote locations like ships at sea have been as words, as bandwidth limitations restrict uploading images. Now an app is set to change that.
eviid, an app created by the Liverpool, UK-based YRFree Technologies, has a patent-pending technology that can compress video and audio up to 15-fold, making it possible to transmit them even in low-bandwidth circumstances.
The company has partnered with Mike Williams, a leading marine security consultant heading the business consultancy SRM and specialist security services company MIRIS International, to launch the app in the maritime sector. Williams will introduce eviid to Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs), insurers, ship owners and government agencies.
“In simple terms, eviid stamps date, place and time onto footage, puts it in a tamper-evident wrapper, compresses it and sends it to a safe place,” Williams said. “Eviid provides a means of transmission for recorded audiovisual information from a remote location, over low-bandwidths. At sea, for example, this enables an event to be captured on video/audio as it happens, providing accurate evidence for incident reporting.”
Most modern ships and boats are already equipped with surveillance cameras, but these provide only fixed views. Since eviid is used on smartphones, it can reach where fixed cameras cannot. In that respect, it is particularly useful during inspections, according to Williams.
“eviid helps staff prove procedural compliance,” Williams said. “For example, providing footage of firearm serial numbers during on-board security checks. eviid becomes a crew member’s portable video surveillance camera, with in-built photo, video, audio, bookmarking and reporting abilities.”
When in areas with mobile network coverage, eviid can provide a direct line of communication between the person carrying the device and the control room. If there is no signal at all, the app will record and store the footage, and automatically transmit as soon as an uplink can be established.
Alternatively eviid can switch to satellite directly if the device has a satellite sleeve or by connecting to the Wi-Fi on the ship that connects to the satellite. And all this can be done without draining the phone's battery any more than a regular app would, Williams pointed out.
Indispensable in the long term
Williams expects the app to become an indispensable part of marine security in the long run.
“It’s about having a better, more immediate method of getting time-critical information back quickly from areas where previously that data could be unavailable for days - until, for example, a vessel returned to port,” he said. “The fact that data provided through eviid is of evidential quality and enriched with important metadata, also makes it highly useful for insurance and compliance purposes.”