Over the years, we’ve heard from clients who, before using an OxBlue construction camera system to monitor their projects, considered doing it themselves. With the availability of relatively inexpensive webcams, it seemed like a reasonable proposition and a lower cost alternative to working with a construction webcam service provider. What they didn’t consider, but learned along the way, is that it takes far more than a camera to capture a construction project. Ordinary webcams provide neither the image quality, the tools, nor the support and service needed to effectively document, manage, and promote projects.
Consumer webcams don’t have the resolution needed for high-quality job site images.
The webcams available to would-be do-it-yourselfers are of two types: video and time-lapse. Neither of these produce images with the clarity and detail offered by a megapixel construction camera. Video for example may be fine for general surveillance and for recording footage of the work being done, but it does not give you the level of detail required to see if the work is indeed what is on the latest set of drawings. The same goes for time-lapse cameras.
Another consideration is what your audience will see if you want to market your project on your website or present a time-lapse movie to prospects and investors: Grainy, poor-quality images do a disservice to your work and your brand.
Whether mounted on a job site trailer or on the rooftop of a nearby building, our megapixel construction cameras and adjustable optical zoom capabilities allow you to capture the detail and clarity you need to really see and understand what’s happening on the build. The high-resolution images are also the foundation of professional-quality high-definition time-lapse movies that represent you well and do justice to your work.
Ordinary webcams are not built for the job site environment.
The job site camera needs to be able to stand up to rain, wind, temperature extremes, and changing seasons. You wouldn’t leave any of your personal electronics exposed to the elements for even a day, much less the months or years it takes to complete your project. Our construction cameras are built with a rugged, weather-proof aluminum enclosure and environmental controls to protect them from demanding construction-site conditions.
Using job site images effectively requires reliable transmission and robust tools.
Image quality aside, there remains the issues of transmitting, archiving, and accessing the images you capture. Among the benefits clients get from our construction camera systems is the ability to remotely monitor and manage projects. This requires both high-bandwidth transmission and a well-designed user interface. Internet connections at the typical job site simply don’t have the speed or bandwidth to handle the massive amounts data. Instead, we use a reliable cellular network that enables our construction cameras to continuously update and send high-resolution images that document virtually every moment of construction.
That raises the issue of storing, organizing, and accessing all the job site information you’ve captured. Visually documenting your projects is of little use if you can’t easily find the images you need to track progress and verify the work that has – or hasn’t – been done. This is where our construction camera interface and archiving come in.
An effective user interface takes time and experience to develop.
Our construction camera interface enables users to view both real-time camera images and all archived images and provides the features and functionality project managers and stakeholders need most. For example, a click on the Visual Calendar instantly brings up images from the selected date and time. Multiple images can be displayed and compared on a single screen; zoom and overlay features enable you to see fine details and changes over time. These and its other features have been developed and optimized over time for functionality and ease of use. Creating an effective DIY interface for an upcoming project would definitely be a tall order.
Speaking from experience…
It’s easy to begin to see how a DIY construction camera is not as practical or cost-effective as it appears on the surface. The technology and infrastructure it takes to do it effectively is beyond the resources of most construction professionals and other stakeholders.
That’s precisely what OxBlue client Chad Nugent, Director of Project Management for CIRI’s real estate department, discovered: “Once we got into the weeds of trying to do it ourselves, we decided to go with a proven solution. [Your system] is plug-and-play, your storage is backed up and easily accessible, and you can create a very good time-lapse movie. We knew it might be a bit more expensive than doing it on our own, but it is worth it.”