Recently I accompanied a few coworkers and deployed the Scout alongside a competitor’s solution which includes a camera for traffic data collection. I’ve only deployed the Scout VCU so I was happy to compare my experience to a different system.
In this blog, I will review a few different areas of each piece of equipment, the Scout VCU and the competitor system (which will remain anonymous).
Some video data collection competitors like to boast that they are a cheaper option with comparable quality to Miovision’s Scout VCU. Once you consider all the costs and functional trade-offs, most data collectors will find this is not the case.
Initially the camera was cheaper than the Scout, but once you start adding on the other components that you need in order to set it up in the intersection, shipping and duties the cost was a little under $3,000.
At this price point, we received one camera head, a simple metal pole with no base, handheld screen, control box and the necessary wires to connect it all.
With the Scout VCU, we had a polemount to attach to a light pole, the control box and two locking ratchet straps to secure everything in place.
Setting up the Unit
Once in the field, I realized that there wasn’t a simple way to connect the camera to a pole, so we just used the Scout VCU ratchet straps. The wires were also exposed that attached to the control box and camera. This could potentially pose a problem.
Scout VCU setup was fairly straightforward. All of the components provide the ability to securely deploy the unit into the field. There was some back and forth as we initially forgot to take off the camera lens and needed to fix the angle of the camera. However, once those minor fixes were made, the Scout VCU was securely setup on the roadside, attached to a light pole.
Recording the Intersection
The competitor system was setup and ready to record, however, after multiple attempts, the screen was blank. We restarted the system and fiddled with the wires to no avail. After several tries, we gave up and packed up the system with no recording.
Luckily we were able to capture video with the Scout VCU. Although we had a couple of user errors with the camera cap and wrong angle, we collected video of the intersection that was clear and processed into traffic data reports.
We Believe in Second Chances
We initially weren’t able to capture video using the competitor system but decided to redeploy in order to complete a direct comparison between the technologies.
Good news: we were able to successfully capture video of the intersection with the system.
Bad news: the screen is so small and split in two, we didn’t realize the video was crooked until we reviewed it in the office. In order to capture the data from this video, we would have to deploy a third time.
Competitor System Overview
Based on the experience we had, the competitor system is hit and miss. We were able to purchase it for a bit less than the Scout, however, we had issues with setup and recording.
The unit itself was easily transported and portable. The exposed wires were a bit of a concern as they could be easily unplugged or tampered with. We also had to use the Scout VCU ratchet straps to secure the equipment to the pole.
It was fairly easy to deploy however, with the small screen, it was difficult to tell that the camera was setup crooked. It would have taken three deployments in order to get acceptable video for processing (through Miovision) or to manually count in house.
It is not likely that technicians would enjoy three deployments for one video, especially if they have to spend hours manually counting in the office later on.
Scout VCU Overview
Although we experienced some user errors, the deployment of the Scout VCU was pretty simple. We had the appropriate equipment to ensure a safe and secure setup. As a result, were able to capture clear video of the intersection.
The Scout VCU is setup for easy use. Unlike the competitor’s system, the screen is a good size and you can clearly see what is being captured prior to recording. The camera head also screws into the polemount, eliminating the chance of crooked video.
The deployment was just for a few hours, however, the battery life for the Scout VCU allows for recording up to 72 hours. If additional time is needed for a 7 day count, a power pack is available which provides extra battery life. Miovision has other accessories in addition to the power pack, including a travel case for easy storage and transport and a tripod which is used in place of street furniture.
If you are interested in using Miovision’s Scout VCU for your traffic data collection or would like more information, contact a specialist on our team. They can answer your questions, give insight into the additional value the Scout VCU provides your count program and price quotes.