Video surveillance CMS for carsharing and vehicle rental services
Carsharing (often spelled ‘car sharing’ or ‘car-sharing’) is a kind of car rental by private entities or companies for short periods of time – for example when a type of vehicle needed differs from the usually used one. Carsharing is different from the usual rent model that has been introduced quite a while ago in the way that it can be organized by individuals (shared use of a vehicle), and offers overall more automation in accessing, booking and “returning” the vehicle. Unlike in commercial rental services, the carsharing vehicle is usually not returned to the place it was taken from and is not cleaned or serviced after each use – which puts a challenge for longer runs without care.
From the user’s perspective, carsharing is like getting a taxi and driving it.
Carsharing services are on the rise in the wake of the now trending shared mobility movement where users prefer to rent rather than own. After all, carsharing is an elegant example of quick and affordable mobility.
Let’s be realistic: no matter how prepared you’d think the public is for rental services, carsharing and other vehicle rent services are prone to risks. Risks of getting the carsharing vehicles damaged or plundered (for example, theft of car or its parts), or used to damage other people’s property. Sure, potential carsharing drivers have to undergo a security check, but if there are more means to minimize the risks, why not take advantage of them?
Unraveling the truth with dash cam recordings
Car and truck drivers know that the road can get you in situations where only unbiased witnesses can prove that an accident was or wasn’t your fault. Dash cameras recordings are such witnesses – impartial and reliable, they show events how they really occurred, and can be used as a forensic proof. Following this logic, car dash cameras can be used by carsharing services too.
In carsharing it might be a good idea to have at least two cameras installed inside a vehicle: one facing the road, and another facing the car interior. This way we can get the live and recorded view of the situation outside the vehicle as well as inside. The streams can be pushed to a central management system (CMS) where an operator can be watching them in real time. Better yet, the live streams can be used in combination with automated video analytics capabilities of modern video surveillance solutions like Xeoma so that no manpower is required to be watching hundreds of cameras at any given moment. And of course, the stored recordings can be used as video evidence in lawsuits or compensation claims in case a driver’s actions caused damage to a vehicle.
Moreover, cameras are proved to have a proactive effect too: psychological researches show that in most cases people – drivers and passengers included – tend to behave in a more adequate way when they realize that cameras are watching them. In the face of undeniable video proof sane people naturally restrain from stealing parts of a carsharing vehicle, and intentional damage rates reduce drastically. After all, most of us don’t want to be featured in night news as “the bad guy”.
Sure, a ready-to-use “mainstream” product from bulk dash camera lines can be used in carsharing too – there is plenty to choose from these days. However, mass-produced models are made to fit most “common” use cases and, consequently, lack much on the flexibility front. If there are ones that allow for the needed flexibility – for example of where to store the records so that they are not destroyed with the dash cam in case the wrongdoers understands they are “caught on camera” – they will be probably “one-of-the-kind” models with an out-of-proportion price. For those use cases where flexibility of setup and non-standard functions are demanded, we recommend to create a surveillance solution with Xeoma as its core. Such custom system will provide better control and facilitate usage of special features usually not available in off-the-shelf mass produced products – for example, the “360-Degree Surround View”. Read more about this and some other “smart” features that can be useful in carsharing below.
Advantages of “smart” video surveillance
The “360° Surround View” feature is designed to stitch images from 4 wide-field cameras that cover the whole area around some object to get the bird view picture showing 360° view in one window. “360° Surround View” is similar but superior to the parking sensor technology in the way that it shows the all-round picture with no “blind spots” and can be used all the time, not just while parking. In carsharing, the “Bird View” feature can be used for a more secure parking, or for detection if a rented vehicle has been abandoned by a driver in a dangerous situation that prompts the company to take urgent measures.
GPS trackers that can track geolocation of a car are often used as a vehicle theft counter measure. Geo position information coming from GPS trackers (or date and time, or custom text, or pictures) can be overlaid on camera live stream with the Marking feature in Xeoma video surveillance CMS. With this feature, GPS coordinates of the vehicle can be both in live video and recordings.
Carsharing companies might want to restrict access to vehicles to convicts involved in car-related crimes, or people that the company has had unpleasant incidents with before. The driver’s background check might help do that but it will not be helpful if such a person is going as a passenger and is unknown to the checking procedure. Xeoma video surveillance CMS offers a solution: the “Face Recognition” module. This module does the real-time detection of human faces in camera sight – for example, in front of the vehicle – and can compare them to a block list that has a list of people to pay special attention to. Upon detection of a person from the list, the system can notify an authorized staff member to evaluate the situation. Similarly, the system can also detect faces from the “passlist” – returning or VIP guests – to ensure better service and satisfaction level.
Another intellectual module – “Text recognition” – can scan the camera stream for text and digits, and can react to finding certain pre-set text or numbers. For example, it might send an alert if a “foreign” street/city sign is detected.
The Xeoma-based video management solution has an embedded self-diagnostics system that will keep the designated person notified if a camera is tampered with, system resources are at critical level, etc. so that the technicians can urgently get the system back on without letting the system miss anything important.
And that’s not all! Xeoma VMS has over 100 more features! See all features here
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Safety in bike and electric scooter rental service
Car sharing is not the only trending rental modification these days. Bike and electric scooter rental business has been blooming lately, and this for a simple reason: it’s convenient. Renting a bike or better yet an electric scooter is something not only tourist will do – it’s as convenient for a city’s residents. An easy and fast way to get from point A to point B in the city even in “rush hours”? Just rent an e-scooter! It’s affordable and easy to find a free e-scooter nearby, rent it in a couple of clicks, get to wherever you want – no traffic jams, no driver’s license required, no annoying company – and then just leave the machine wherever you feel like it. The electric scooter rental business is going big, as now many governments impose vehicle restrictions in city center areas.
However, electric scooter and bike rental service is as vulnerable and susceptible to risks as car-sharing. Now and then you could see a rented electric scooter abandoned in dangerous places like in the middle of highway, or a bike-for-rent that has its wheel broken due to aggressively barbarian use. It’s easy to explain: people don’t feel even half of that responsibility for rented things that they have for their own things – so they don’t care much if the rented thing gets damaged. Even more, some feel encouraged to try wildest things with the rented devices that they would be too conscious or accurate to try with their own.
Having a dash cam that records video evidence is a usual thing for a car where there’s plenty of space to fit it in. For e-scooters or bikes it feels unrealistic. But it’s truly hard to over-evaluate how easier life would be for the business owners to have a video surveillance CMS on board! Live video stream and video footage would be invaluable evidence in case the device is vandalized – especially since it helps identify the person who did it, can be used for estimation of the surroundings in case the GPS signal is lost, etc. Although it feels out-of-this-world to have a CCTV system on board of a small e-scooter luckily it is possible! Video surveillance CMS powered by Xeoma software can work with compact cameras that can be processed by a tiny credit-card-sized single-board computer. What about the network connectivity, you might ask? As little as mobile network can work for notification sending with Xeoma – any Internet type is accepted. Besides, Xeoma has dozens of intellectual features that can fulfill tasks like recognition of objects, faces, license plates, text, sounds, smoke and fire and many others!
Is video surveillance CMS a must in car-sharing?
A video surveillance CMS in carsharing and rental services is not ubiquitous yet but it might well become so in the nearest time because it offers so many benefits in exchange for little effort and cost. As many have noticed, the “Under surveillance” sign alone can have a positive impact on reducing negligent behavior. Let alone using footage to get financial and moral compensation for damages.
There’s an ethical side too: a video surveillance CMS can help companies build a better society by protection a carsharing company’s customers and passers-by, as well as not letting malevolent citizens escape deserved punishment.
This all having been said, these a recap of how video surveillance can be of help:
By supplementing your service with a video surveillance system based on Xeoma software, you will make the solution of these tasks easier and more efficient.
Every business owner is worried about the safety of his property, especially when it comes to such an unsupervised service as renting vehicles. Installation of video surveillance is affordable and quite simple, and in return it will provide additional protection, and increase the status of the company. Video surveillance of a car, electric scooter, or other vehicles pays off fast, and even brings additional value to the service.
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July, 13 2021
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