How does your Body Worn Camera store and manage crucial video evidence?

Police agencies around the country are ramping up their Body Worn Camera (BWC) policies and procedures. High profile police assault videos have continued to surface on the internet creating a public outcry for reform, training, and accountability. Federal grants to help fund policing services need for BWC deployments are rapidly expanding.  These subsidies have created a whirlwind of new manufacturers into the BWC business looking to take advantage of federal grants and a growing market. BWC cameras have a variety of features including high definition video capture, night vision, and ruggedized housing.

BWC cameras record video evidence on an SD card similar to what you would use in a standard camera. That is part of the issue, most agencies and BWC manufacturers use off the shelf consumer SD cards to acquire and store video evidence without even realizing it.  These types of SD cards are at very high risk of corruption. Consumer cards do not offer extended temperature support and are at risk of failure in both hot and cold climates.  Standard SD cards will fail in several instances including being left behind in a hot car for just a short period. Most standard SD cards do not offer a Power-Fail feature or robust video acquisition firmware to keep from having corruption or overwrite issues. The testing and components used by consumer card manufacturers are not to the standard needed to provide a secure and robust BWC video storage solution.

The real question is how to protect crucial video evidence best on Body-Worn Cameras and ensure the proper video evidence gets from the camera to the courtroom? Agencies, BWC manufacturers, and surveillance companies can solve a lot of support and security issues by asking their current BWC supplier specific questions about the storage onboard their BWC camera. The first step is not to be so caught up on speed; these cards are all very fast. That said all SD Cards are not all equal, so it is important to design a card for your particular application. A few important questions to ask your BWC provider and ensure you have the best possible secure storage for your BWC application.

What operating/storage temp is your card supported, both heat/cold?

Does your SD card have a locked Bill of Materials (BOM)?

Does your SD card use TLC, MLC, or SLC flash?

Can you lock your SD card to one specific camera for security purposes?

Can your SD card protect against accidental deletions?

Do you have a power-fail feature?

Again be sure to look deeper than basic specifications such as read/write speeds, sometimes the fastest card may not be the best card for your application. Understanding your overall application and how it accesses the flash within the SD card itself is much more important. Understanding your overall BWC application demands and lifetime expectancy of your BWC camera is crucial to both protecting key video evidence as well protecting the agencies investment. Securing the video until transferred to a more secure and permanent location is the biggest question facing the BWC community, and they don’t even know it yet.

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Anyone can build an SD card, but not all SD cards are created equal

SD cards and microSD cards of all varieties permeate the consumer market. The price is continually dropping. They’re mass produced in huge factories in Asia. The cost of materials is so low you may start to wonder is there a way to ensure you receive a high quality SD card for your automotive, medical, body worn camera or other demanding product?

Do you really want consumer SD or microSD cards for these projects? Not if storage is a critical component of your solution. You’re dealing with narrow requirements, and you don’t have room for mistakes and equipment malfunctions. Home users of electronic equipment like SD cards can work around the occasional dud or random defective piece, but working in a professional industry is a different ballgame. What to a causal user is simply an annoyance can make the difference between success or failure, and the odds aren’t small. You need to get things right the first time.

That’s why industrial SD and microSD cards aren’t an option for those working in certain industries—they’re a necessity. All SD cards are not created equal, and comparing your industrial SD card with one bought off the Walmart shelves is like comparing a grocery store hot dog with fine Paris cuisine. The cards you buy off store shelves are produced with minimal quality control, and there’s no consistency even among cards that come from the same manufacturer. You might test a hundred and find one you really like, but there’s no guarantee that the next one you buy with the same labeling is made of the same components or has anything like the same capability. There’s no guarantee for what’ll happen when you put it under stress.

What about DIGISTOR industrial SD cards? These come with a price tag, but there’s nothing arbitrary about the price: you get what you pay for. In this case, it’s high quality MLC/SLC NAND, a wide temperature range, and Consistency spelled with a capital C. It means you don’t have to worry about the bill of materials (BOM) changing on you—and that’s huge. If you build an application around one of our SD or microSD cards you can have the confidence to know that these cards will continue working in future instances of the application: no unpleasant surprises, no need for frequent retests.

Using an industrial SD or microSD card means you get quality and you get control. You get to utilize the resources within the controller. You have control over the BOM. Nothing can change without your say-so, and you know exactly what the capabilities of your cards are in every instance.

We’d be happy to share more with you about our industrial quality SD cards—just call us for more info. DIGISTOR stands for reliability and quality, and SD cards for your industrial application is one case where those two things really do matter.

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Your microSD Card: Is Cost All That Matters?

They look the same and have the same capacity.  For consumers shopping for a microSD card, the only difference might appear to be their price. Does it really matter which microSD card you buy? Should you go with the cheapest option?

Turns out, there’s more to that little plastic chip than you can see on the outside.
It may come as a surprise, but choosing a microSD card is actually an important decision that affects the performance of your phone or other mobile device. Pair a cheapo microSD with your top notch smartphone and you’re setting yourself up for a whole range of problems, ranging from memory failures and corrupted files to crashing your entire phone OS.

“The fact that there are a lot of fake cards out there,” reports Richard Lai of Engadget interviewing Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s Vice President of International.

The market abounds with SanDisk that is not really SanDisk, Kingston that is not really Kingston, and other major manufacturers that are possibly just cheap Chinese fakes. It’s not hard to print out a name-brand sticker and put it on a generic microSD. Barra elaborated on the problem:

“You think you’re buying like a Kingston or a SanDisk but you’re actually not, and they’re extremely poor quality, they’re slow, they sometimes just stop working, and it gives people huge number of issues, apps crashing all the time, users losing data, a lot of basically complaints and customer frustration. It’s gonna be a while before you finally accept that maybe the reason why it’s not performing is because you put in an SD card.”

Because of the prevalence of sub-quality microSD cards on the market, the problem has many smartphone manufacturers choosing not to put microSD slots in their high-end, flagship phones at all. There’s just too much potential for disaster and the problems that come up usually get blamed on the innocent phone, rather than the tiny memory card hiding inside of it, jamming up the works.

But despite the concern from big brands, microSD slots are still a big selling point for shoppers.
If you do value the ability to increase your smartphone’s memory beyond its out-of-the-box capacity, make sure the card you’re slipping inside is a quality product – not a phone-debilitating enemy in disguise.

It’s important to not only choose a brand you can trust, but also with a reliable distributor; preferably, an official partner of a top-quality brand like Panasonic or Kingston. Our official partnership with Panasonic is just one reason DIGISTOR is a preferred retailer for high-end, quality microSD cards you can trust. If you’d like to learn more about our quality control and microSD card compatibility, call up one of our sales associates for more information.

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