Companies known for producing traditional two way radios are, for what it seems, forever releasing new and improved products to keep up with modern technology. Hytera have recently taken a plunge and entered into the body-worn camera market, releasing 4 different cameras with a range of accessories to boot.
Continuing to become a much needed requirement for a variety of working environments, instant radio communications allow for workers to continue operating both safely and efficiently. In recent years there has been a shift within certain industries highlighting the deterrence of crime whilst also collecting evidence to bring conviction towards guilty parties. Up until recently there has been a lack of products that were directly compatible with two way radios for video recording purposes, but now with the release of Hytera’s Remote Video Microphone (RVM) it has bridged the gap.
The Hytera RVMs are designed to perform two vital roles with the obvious being to capture, store and share vital evidence collected whilst working and secondly to be integrated seamlessly with Hytera two way radios as a remote speaker microphone. Built to perform in the harshest of weather environments, the lowest Ingres protection rating that you will find on any of these Hytera products is IP67 meaning that not only is the radio completely protected against dust intrusion but also is submergible in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
The 4 different camera’s that are available are named the VM550, VM550D, VM685 and VM780. All differing in shape, size and functionality each RVM have been designed to use with certain two way radios apart from the VM780 which doubles up as a PoC radio. The VM550, VM550D and VM685 can be used with Hyteras PD6, PD7, PD9, PT580H, PDC/PTC760 and X1 radio ranges.
The fact that the VM550 model is the most basic RVM camera that Hytera have released speaks wonders for the quality of the range. Capable of recording in both 720 and 1080P, with up to 60 frames per second in the former and 30 frames per second with the latter this will provide exceptional video quality to ensure that the target of your recording will be clear to view.
Standing at just 86.5mm in height, 58mm in width and 25.7mm in depth whilst weighing just 145g when the battery is attached the VM550 is extremely compact and lightweight. Aesthetically there are many physical features that help with usability for the operator, from programmable buttons to the 5344 x 3000 pixel fixed HD camera. Due to the VM550 doubling up as a remote speaker microphone there is a textured push to talk button on the left hand side of the radio, this allows for quick access to communications should your connected radio be kept at your hip. Below the PTT button are both a button to begin video recording and to capture an image should you need a still of the ongoing situation. An emergency button on the right hand side of the radio will allow for an alert to be sent to radios within your network should you be in trouble, these cameras are most effective when used as a security feature and should a safety issue arise this button will allow for your colleagues to act fast should you be in trouble.
Alongside the many tech features that the camera holds there is also a screen present on top of the VM550. A lattice 0.9” OLED black and white display shows call signs and current battery life to the operator, letting them know should there be any issues with recordings or when the camera is close to dying due to a low battery. The VM550 is supplied as standard with a 2500mh battery, this allows for up to 7 hours of continuous use whilst also being able to remain in standby mode for up to 250 hours.
We’ll keep this section short and sweet due to the VM550D being a slightly upgraded version of the previously mentioned VM550. The D version of this camera/remote speaker microphone replaces the 0.9” OLED top display with a 2” display on the rear of the unit, this allowing for you to view any images or videos you have taken moments after it has happened. Other call signs that are displayed on the screen of the VM550D include the time, battery percentage and current connectivity status.
The VM685 is one of the more advanced RVMs that Hytera have released. With a completely different look to the previously mentioned VM550 and VM550D, the VM685 still has a similarly small stature. Standing at a slightly larger 106.55mm in height, 60mm in width and 24mm in depth whilst weighing 170g.
The camera unit within the VM685 is capable of high quality recording with a fixed focus (0.1m – Infinity). Recording at 720P at up to 60 frames per second and 1080P up to 30 frames per second, the VM685 has a 16 Megapixel camera providing crystal clear video and images. The attached lens is 180° rotatable meaning that it can record at a variety of angles with 140° diagonal, 106° horizontal and 78° vertical. Due to the capability in movement of the camera this allows for simple positioning of the camera, meaning that should you be in a compromised position with a simple turn your camera can be angled to see exactly what you’re seeing.
The VM685 comes as standard with a 2500mAh battery that will allow for up to 8 hours of continuous use whilst also being able to be placed into standby mode for up to 250 hours. The 8 hours of continuous recording that the BP2501 Li-Poly battery provides to the VM685 will be more than sufficient to cover the average working shift of the operator. Should you require additional hours on top of the 8 hours supplied by a single battery a secondary battery can be purchased for easy change over. Although not to worry as a second charger won’t need to be purchased, this due to a secondary slot on the RVM’s pod charger that allows for the charging of a battery on its own.
The VM780 differs massively from any other RVM that Hytera have released. Doubling up as a push to talk over cellular radio, due to this the VM780 doesn’t require an external two-way radio for communications. A SIM card slot allows for connection to already set up 3G/4G cellular networks, meaning that no matter where in the world you and your colleagues are providing there is coverage your communications will be sent and received instantly. With the VM780 also operating as a PoC radio a higher capacity battery is required, supplied as standard with a large 3500mAh battery this will allow for up to 9 hours of operating time to ensure that more than a usual working shift can be covered.
Pretty much doubling up as a mobile phone, the VM780 has a 2.8” 240 x 320 QVGA touch screen that will allow for navigation through various menus and options. In a similar fashion to a mobile phone the VM780 has a bar running across the screen that displays pieces of information such as Bluetooth, time, battery status and signal strength for both WiFi and cellular. The home screen can be adapted to display applications that you require quick access too, allowing for simple and efficient usage. The screen can also act as a monitor to view both current and previous recordings, this allowing for playback of an incident instantly whilst still images can be viewed so that a person of interests appearance can be viewed repeatedly without having to look through endless footage.
A massive feature difference between the VM780 and the other VMR’s within the range is the fact that this model can live media stream. When used in collaboration with the HyTalk application this will allow for a live feed of both audio and video to any location you would like. This can be effectively used in situations where a large crowd needs to be monitored, with a second team monitoring a live feed they are able to look for people committing crimes or offences without the ground staff having to move away from their current position to deal with a situation, this can help with the application of justice in both the short and long term.
The VM780 has a 16 Megapixel camera that is capable of recording in both 720P at 60 frames per second and 1080P at 30 frames. Recording up to a distance 10 meters when in low lighting environments the VM780 can be used just as effectively whether during daylight or night time. The camera itself doesn’t actually remain stationary, a 216° rotatable lens (116° diagonal, 101° horizontal, 57° vertical) means that the user can angle the camera to wherever they see fit, ensuring that even at the most awkward of angles no important pieces of video evidence will be missed.