What software is included with AgriCamera?
Most CCTV camera systems, especially those that use internet connected cameras, are tricky to setup and most people never get them working properly. When AgriCamera first started we realised that in order to be able to support our customers long term, we needed to absract away a lot of this complexity or we would drown in a sea of technical support calls.
Our solution to this was a web based CCTV mamagement application called the AgriCamera Dashboard.
How does the software work?
- Each camera system has an Inteface Unit (IFU). This is a small, lower power computer that runs a custom Linux operating system maintained by AgriCamera. The IFU’s purpose is to be the gateway between the cameras on your local network and the AgriCamera Cloud.
- As soon as the IFU is plugged in to your broadband router, it will attempt to connect back to the AgriCamera Cloud and report it’s status. It will also scan for any cameras on the local network and make these available to view.
- The IFU streams all footage using a technology called WebRTC in H.264 format.
- To view the cameras, you need to first create an account on the AgriCamera Dashboard. Each camera comes with a ‘license key’ in the box with it. Once you are logged in to the Dashboard, you simply enter the license key of each of your cameras and wait for them to come online.
Local or Remote Viewing
If your phone or computer is connected to the sanme network as your camera, there is no need for the video from the camera to go via the internet. Instead it can be relayed directly from the camera, through the IFU (to convert it into a suitable format) and straight to your phone or computer. The system will automatically work out whether it is possible to get a local connection or not, and it will always favour a local connection where possible. The benefit of a local connection is that the speed of your intenet has no bearing on the video quality.
If you are viewing when you are ‘away’ from home, or if your phone is connected via a 3G or 4G connection, the footage must be sent via the internet. When you try and view the camera remotely, the IFU will start sending video footage to the AgriCamera Cloud, and the Cloud will then relay that footage to your phone. As soon as you stop watching, the connection will be closed again. Whilst we try to compress the footage as much as possible, the quality of remote viewing will be dependent on your internet connection. We recommend a minimum of a 1Mbps upload speed for remote viewing to work best, but it will still work over a slower connection at reduced resolution.
Commonly Asked Questions
In short the ansewer is yes, and we have proved this hundreds of times. Whilst the Dashboard itself is loaded from the internet, once it has been loaded the first time, it is ‘cached’ on your computer, and subsequent requests are much faster. The images themselves come directly from the camera when you are in your home, so they do not need to travel over the internet.
The internet connection is only important when you are viewing the camera when away from home, for instance on a mobile or 3G. We have put a lot of effort into optimising the system to work even on the slowest of connections. We have a clever system to minimise ‘lag’ and reliably get a high quality image to you.
In the default configuration, if your internet connection goes down it will not be possible to login to the Dashboard to see your cameras. However, if you frequently have problems with your internet going offline, there is a workaround we can implement that makes it possible. Please ask us for more details.
You won’t be able to view your AgriCamera remotely if you don’t have an internet connection.
The AgriCamera Dashboard supports just about every operating system in existence. We have customers using everything from Windows 98 to Windows 10. We also support Mac computers as well as computers running Linux operating systems (Ubuntu etc).
The system is entirely web based, so quite simply, if you can view YouTube or Facebook on your computer, you will be able to view the cameras. If you don’t believe us, why not try out the Dashboard Demo?
Of course! The Dashboard is a responsive website so it will automatically resize to fit well on even the tiniest of screens.
We also have dedicated mobile apps for Apple iOS devices and Android devices developed in house.
Software Updates and Support
Unfortuantely, software is like any other machine and needs almost constant maintenance and updates to keep it running smoothly. The main problem is that the goalposts keep on moving – new mobile phones are released, new version of Windows get released and technology evolves. The systems we had in place when we started have had to be updated to keep those cameras usable.
We are able to remotely update the software on all of our equipment, and generally we role out changes to our userbase as soon as we are happy that they work well. This does not require any intervention from you and will happen automatically. If any upgrade fails for any reason, the device will roll back to it’s previous state to prevent any downtime.
We also have to constantly update our mobile apps as mobile phone operating systems evolve. Our mobile apps are available to everyone and are free of charge.
We do not charge for software per say – your equipment will always be updated to the latest stable version. However, you do need a valid AgriCamera Care subscription in order to receive updates and technical support from us.
From time to time we may make changes to the hardware to enable new features that are not compatible with older version of hardware. This will mean that the frequency of software updates for your hardware will slow down, and there will not be any new features. However, we will continue to keep existing features working for as long as possible, or offer you an upgrade path to newer hardware if that is not possible.
Still not sure?
If you still are not sure whether AgriCamera will be able to do what you need it to, why not give the team a ring and chat it through? We love a challenge!
Alternatively, why not drop the team an email with the form opposite? We look forward to hearing from you!