Connect (ECB): Product Overview

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The Connect™ software (formerly known as ECB) allows users to request videos from vehicles to be transferred wirelessly (Wi-Fi or 4G) as well as review transferred videos without ever leaving the desktop playback software. In addition to managing file transfers, the software can provide live views from the cameras on compatible 4G connected systems. Users can view the current device health status of compatible systems in the fleet or view specific events on each vehicle with detailed troubleshooting steps.

With integrated email capabilities, users can stay informed of the operational status of their systems:

  • Daily Transfer Summary: Shows files transferred from each vehicle in the past 24 hours. This can be sent to multiple preset email addresses. Daily sending time of email is configurable and only sent if new transfers occur.
  • Daily Device Health Summary: Shows device events that occurred in the past 24 hours. This can be sent to multiple preset email addresses. Daily sending time of email is configurable and only sent if new health events occur.
  • Request Confirmation Emails:  Used to notify users that video requests have been completed.

Software Install Preparation

The software requires an application to be installed on a server to handle the device authentication and file storage processes. The server running the software must be accessible to the DVR units and have either a large internal storage disk or access to a network storage device to store the video files that are transferred.

Once the software is setup and DVR units are configured, each time the DVR unit establishes network connectivity through Wi-Fi or 4G, it will connect to the server and the uploaded files. The software utilizes a web-based (HTTP/HTTPS) transfer protocol to handle the file transfer process and can be done over a local network or over an internet connection.

Each client PC that will be reviewing and requesting video will need the PV Player software installed and the server URL set within the settings. The client PC will also need permissions configured to the file storage location on the server.

Hardware Install Preparation

Prior to the installation of the hardware in the vehicles, this document should be provided to the IT professional who handles software installation and network configuration. Assistance from an IT professional (or equivalent) is required for the installation and configuration of the transfer software. Advanced technical knowledge of the existing computer hardware, software, and network configuration is required. It is recommended to prepare and have the server software installed and network access confirmed prior to hardware installation to allow the installer to register the devices to the server and provide a turn-key solution when the installation is completed.

Setup Process

The customer’s IT professional will need to complete some steps in preparation for the product installer:

  1. Customer contact will receive an email containing a License Key and instruction guides. This should be forwarded to the IT contact to read and understand the guide.
  2. IT will follow the guide to install the PV Transfer server software on the computer/server per the instruction guide:
    • Ensure the server has a fixed (Static or DHCP Reserved) IP address.
    • Enter the License Key provided in the email.
    • Configure the Server URL, typically the server’s IP address unless a domain name is to be used.
    • Configure the storage location and check permissions.
    • Start the PV Transfer service.
  3. IT will determine which Wi-Fi SSID the DVR unit is to be connected to and ensure its location is adequate for performance and its configuration meets the DVR unit’s Wi-Fi AP requirements (next page).
  4. Connect to the Wi-Fi SSID and ensure that the server (“Server URL”) is reachable.
  5. Document the SSID, security credentials, and Server URL information on the form provided by the installation coordinator (if using Pro-Vision Installation Services).
  6. Installer will install the DVR unit(s), including the mounting of the Wi-Fi or 4G antenna(s) required for connectivity.
  7. Installer will configure the DVR’s Wi-Fi Client to connect to the customer’s Wi-Fi Access Point
  8. Installer will program the Server URL and register the device
  9. IT can verify system operation after vehicles exit and return to network coverage by checking the status and connection history in the PV Transfer software.

Note: If the network/server is not configured before installation, the IT professional must complete steps 7 and 8.

System Operation 

When the DVR establishes network connectivity (upon arrival to the yard or parking area for most Wi-Fi applications, or upon bootup with 4G connections), it contacts the server, transfers requested videos, and then transfers any event videos (oldest first). The server automatically stores the transferred files in the configured storage location in an easily identified and recognized folder and file naming structure.

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If file transfer is interrupted before completion (due to loss of network connection, or system power down), the transfer is paused, then will attempt to resume upon reconnection. If the file transfer cannot be resumed, it will be restarted automatically. To ensure data integrity and prevent file loss, the file transfer is executed using a file copy process. The original file is always left intact until the duplicate file is uploaded completely and verified on the cloud server before the original file is removed from the device.

Computer/Server 

The Connect™ software utilizes the PV Transfer 2 server application that runs as a service on a Microsoft Windows operating system. The services host a web interface on a port of the server, the port number is configurable and can be made accessible through the firewall for remote uploads over the internet. The service must be configured with user permissions to have read/write permissions to the desired storage location. The software must be installed on a computer running either Windows 10 or newer, a server running Server 2016 or newer, a minimum of 2GB RAM with a 3Ghz processor and 300 MB disk space available for software and database, and a large storage device connected to the computer directly or through the network for video file storage (see below for storage requirements).

Client/User Computer 

Client computers will review transferred videos using the PV Player software, they can also make video requests for videos that were not marked as events. To access the transferred files, the client computers must have permissions to the storage destination for the transferred file used by the transfer server software. They must also have access to the same web service/port that is required for a DVR connection. The PV Player software requires a computer running Windows 10 or 11 with a minimum of 4 GB RAM. It is recommended that the client computer has a 1080p display and speakers.

Device Compatibility

The Connect™ software supports all current PRO-VISION recording products including the DR-200v2, DVR-906, DVR‑908 Ranger, and BC4 body-worn camera systems. The DR-200v1 and DVR-808 systems are partially supported. They are capable of all video upload functionality but have fewer device health updates. They give an indication of operational status (on/off, video uploads functioning properly) but not the full range of health indicators available for newer products

Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) 

Wi-Fi is used most often as the primary method of connection for DVR systems. Wi-Fi can be used to connect a vehicle to an in-vehicle hotspot or gateway for internet access, or more commonly, to connect to an Access Point (AP) mounted in or around the parking area of the vehicle to get internet access. When connecting vehicles to a fixed AP on a building, having the best possible antenna positioning with line-of-sight to vehicles is critical in providing the best coverage and fastest transfer speeds. Whichever Wi-Fi connection is used, it must be compatible with the following DVR systems:

  • DR-200v1/DVR-808 Systems:  These units contain a 2.4GHz 802.11n radio. It is recommended to use an AP with 802.11n 2x2 MIMO (Dual Antenna) to achieve the fastest transfer speed (up to 300 Mbps).
  • DR-200v2/DVR-906/DVR-908 Systems:  This unit contains a 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11ac radio. It is recommended to use an AP with 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO (Dual Antenna) to achieve the fastest transfer speed (up to 867 Mbps).

IMPORTANT!  WPA/WPA2 security using AES or TKIP encryption is supported on most devices. WPA2 Enterprise is supported on the PD-1900 and PD-1902 only. Unsecured networks are not supported.

The Wi-Fi SSID name must contain only letters, numbers, underscores, or dashes. The password must contain only letters, numbers, and special characters, except for a semi-colon.

Unlike most typical client devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones) that use mostly a download bandwidth on the Wi-Fi connection, the DVR systems use mostly upload bandwidth. Some brands of Wi-Fi Access Points do not perform as well in uploading as others. Contact Pro-Vision support for recommendations and to understand hardware limitations.

Network Requirements (Wi-Fi Connected Devices)

The DVR units connect to a Wi-Fi network using an IP auto-assigned through DHCP; they can also use a static IP assignment, but it is not recommended as it adds complications to the setup process and requires additional attention during future maintenance (such as loss of connection if an IP address changes). If having a fixed IP is desired, we recommend documenting the device's MAC address during setup and then using MAC address reservations for assigning IP addresses. It is also recommended to first connect a computer to the network and check access to the server’s configured URL before connecting a DVR. The system uses HTTPS for encrypted file transfer by default, however, it can be configured to use HTTP transfer for a significant improvement in transfer speed on older devices (DR-200 and PD‑1800), this is recommended for local network transfer only.

Firewall (Wi-Fi Connected Devices)

The software uses port 80 for HTTP traffic and port 5004 for HTTPS traffic. The software installer will automatically open these ports on the server computer’s firewall, but any network firewall will also need ports open.

Important URLs that need to be unrestricted to allow proper use of features:

4 G Connection Requirements

If a 4G capable product is purchased, it can be activated on a 4G network and used for uploading videos. Each product includes a pre-installed Verizon SIM card that can be activated on the Verizon 4G network either directly through Verizon or through an authorized reseller. To activate a device with a carrier, the device’s modem IMEI number and its matching SIM card number need to be provided to the carrier. The carrier also has multiple IP connection configuration options, the default (recommended) configuration is to use a Dynamic IP address that provides access to the internet through Verizon's "vzwinternet" APN. If additional security restrictions are required, a static IP address or a private network can be used, but will require changing the default, preconfigured APN within each product during setup.

4G Data Usage

If a 4G connection is used, it is most likely a metered connection. Although some unlimited data plans exist, most providers will charge a fixed amount per device for a fixed amount of data transfer, and multiple devices will be pooled together into a data usage total for the account’s monthly billing period. If the total usage of all devices exceeds the pooled total, overage charges will most likely apply. Ensure the terms of the provider agreement are understood. If needed, contact a Pro-Vision representative to help understand how it may affect product usage. To determine estimated base device plan size (typically 5GB, 10GB, 20GB, etc.), each specific vehicle's product and usage must be factored into a calculation with a Pro-Vision representative.

Storage 

The following factors are needed to calculate the required storage space:

  • Recording quality (Bitrate) in GB/hour/camera/vehicle
  • Expected number of hours of video to be saved per day that will be transferred
  • Number of cameras per vehicle
  • Number of vehicles
  • Number of days each week vehicle operates
  • Number of weeks to retain transferred video.

All models of PRO-VISION DVR units record 1080p HD video at up to 30fps per camera. On average, the storage rate is approximately 0.32GB/hour/camera/vehicle recording at a low quality (bitrate) setting of 1Mbps. At a high quality (bitrate) setting of 4Mbps, video can use as much as 1.2GB/hour/camera/vehicle.

Example: 4 vehicles each with 2-camera systems, storing 2hrs of video per day, 5 days a week, for 52 weeks would equal about 1332GB (1.3TB) at a low setting of 1Mbps, or about 4992GB (4.9TB) for a high setting of 4Mbps.

Formula: 1.2GB/hr/cam/vehicle x 2hrs x 2cams x 4vehicles x 5days x 52weeks = 4992GB

Maintenance and Updates 

Software updates to the server application are done periodically. The server will not automatically update, but it will notify users when a new update is available for download. Client applications will update automatically when running the launch of the updated version when completed.

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