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June 28, 2022

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Body-worn cameras

How bodycams have been used by Channel 4’s ‘Hunted’ security operatives

IFSEC Global hears how bodycams from Digital Barriers have been used for the hit Channel 4 series Hunted, and why live streaming is adding value to security operations and intelligence in the wider commercial space.

In the popular Channel 4 series Hunted, teams of civilians or celebrities are pitted against a team of professional hunters, tasked with tracking them down across the length and breadth of the UK. Anybody who has watched it will appreciate just how important technology is to ensure a successful “catch”.

Hunted-Bodycams-DigitalBarriers-22

‘Hunters’ on Channel 4’s hit series, Hunted, using EdgeVis Bodyworn cameras from Digital Barriers


Most notably, in crucial moments live video and audio is vital in ensuring constant and effective communication between the ground teams and Hunted HQ. Without it, their ability to respond to new leads, seek expert advice and react to unfolding events in real-time would be significantly hampered.

Enabling a successful catch

With teams of Hunters stationed and moving around the country on any given day, the team needed confidence in the ability to stream continuous live video in any environment. For example, the latest series saw ‘fugitives’ dropped off on the Isle of Wight and eventually extracted from Loch Lomond. In between, we saw contestants spanning out towards all four corners of the UK.

Initially developed for specialist military and law enforcement – and field-tested in remote and challenging locations – Digital Barriers’ bodycams have already proven capable of delivering live video, audio and GPS data in real-world conditions without latency or corruption.

They are designed to reliably stream over fixed and cellular networks and require up to 75% less bandwidth than other providers. For many end users a key benefit here is the ability to save vast amounts on data transmission and storage costs, whilst still maintaining quality live streaming. For the team at Hunted, complete coverage and the ability to monitor operations in real-time were crucial, adding an important dimension to enabling a successful catch.

Hunted’s ground teams wore the bodycams and at key moments used the alert button to begin streaming live video and audio directly into Hunted HQ. With a 24/7 staffed operations centre, live video feeds were displayed on a video wall for instant analysis, coordination and review. Within the commercial space it is also common for users to stream live video directly into a video management solution, such as Genetec or Milestone, or on the move through a mobile device.

Although the EdgeVis Bodyworn is principally a bodycam to be worn on-person by the Hunters, its versatility also appealed to the team as a device that could be deployed in a number of innovative ways to catch out, and catch up with the ‘fugitives’.

When mounted in a vehicle, the camera serves as a live streaming dashcam and monitoring unit, enabling Hunted HQ to have eyes on the scene and keep track of the location of its mobile assets. And for covert operations, wearers can deploy other types of bodycams such as a pinhole camera or concealed camera in the straps of specially designed backpacks. This proves especially useful when tailing or observing the ‘fugitives’ on the show.


READ: The pros and cons of body-worn cameras


Finally, battery life was a further key consideration in the selection of technology used by the ground Hunters. The bodycams provided by Digital Barriers are capable of continuous recording for around 12-15 hours per day, ensuring they support the team throughout an entire shift. This has translated well to the needs of other field-based staff such as security guards, engineers and delivery drivers.

Versatility across multiple industries

For lone workers, the bodycam’s versatility when mounted enables a variety of use cases across the utilities, transport, retail and delivery sectors, amongst others. The emergency alert button with GPS-enabled location and mapping provides valuable peace of mind, allowing organisations to support wider initiatives around staff welfare and risk mitigation.

In utilities, the bodycam has been deployed as a front facing camera, while a connected USB-C camera mounted on a helmet provides rear-facing visuals for more comprehensive surveillance of an area and better-informed support from remote support teams.

In retail, the bodycams have proved to help de-escalate conflicts, increase positive customer engagement and assist in monitoring curbside pickups, delivery and point-of-sale transactions.

A further common use case is as a rapidly deployed overwatch camera. For example, a utility worker arriving on-site may attach the device to a nearby object using an added accessory before commencing a repair or inspection. This ensures they can consult with remote colleagues to seek approval, supervision or communicate with specialist engineers before commencing work.

Finally, as demonstrated on Hunted, the camera also works as a GPS-enabled dashcam, which is proving very useful for delivery drivers and others operating within the shared economy. The flexibility to operate as both a body-worn device and dashcam, even in remote locations, is simplifying duty of care obligations for headquarters and providing better real-time info on a driver’s current location and ETA.

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