How to Install a License Plate Recognition System in a Gated Countryside Community in 3 Steps
Some time ago, we launched a license plate recognition module that allows for detecting vehicles. Our customers use this system for a variety of tasks: control and automation of entering and exiting gated parking lots in residential complexes and business centers, traffic monitoring on city streets to automate the deployment of specialized equipment (for example, for snow removal), and video analytics.
At the same time, our employees watched the implementation of the license plate recognition system and began to apply it in their daily life. One of our colleagues, Max, spent almost all the quarantine in a secured community of dacha cottages used mainly as second homes out in the countryside, regularly making trips to the shops by car. At the entrance to the village-like community, there is a barrier, which is opened with a magnetic key card. This system has always caused inconveniences for the residents of the village. The card was periodically lost, forgotten, it would break, or be passed on to third parties, which made it difficult or impossible to enter and leave the village.
Eventually, Max decided to save himself and his neighbors from these troubles and implemented a license plate recognition system to automate the opening of the barrier. The system implementation process took only a couple of weeks. Let's take a look at what this process consisted of.
Step 1 - Equipment Installation
The first stage of the system implementation was the installation of cameras with Flussonic Agent to automatically connect them to the cloud server. In order to set up a communication channel, a modem was installed, which provided a stable Internet connection at 10 Mbps. Each of the two cameras generated about 1 Mbps of traffic.
Step 2 - Connecting to the Сloud Service
As a cloud server, we provided the colleague with access to our VSAAS.IO platform, where possible, including our license plate recognition service. The convenience of the platform lies in the fact that its user does not need to purchase and install any special equipment in order to use video analytics. In addition, on the platform, Max stores archived video from installed CCTV cameras for when needed by the village chairman or residents.
Step 3 - Creating a White List of Numbers and Setting up the Barrier Control
The cameras were connected, license plate recognition service initiated, and the next step was to create a white list of the vehicles and turn on the automated control of the barrier.
Our system is able to send recognition events to an external URL. Each recognition event was sent to the local server URL in the form of a RaspberryPI installed in the security house in the village.
Max created a simple application, which he deployed on the server in the village. The application consisted of a simple database and a web interface. All the occurred events with car numbers were displayed in the interface. From these events, it was possible to take the recognized numbers and add them to the white list, indicating there the full name of the car owner and the house number. You can also add the license plate manually, without waiting for its preliminary recognition.
There was only the final touch left - to give the command to open and close the barrier.
Initially, the barrier was controlled by the access control system, which has an input for a “dry contact” for connecting the enter and exit buttons. We needed to send a signal to the controller input to automatically open the gates for the vehicles whose recognized license plates were on a white list.
This required a relay “dry contact”. A USB relay with a simple operating principle was purchased from an online store: the device connects to RaspberryPI, receives an HTTP command over the network, and closes the output relay. The command was sent by a server installed in the village, where the application with a white list was running. The relay closed the input of the controller of the barrier, and the barrier opened in front of the arriving car.
So, the license plate recognition system was successfully launched, and now all residents of the village enter its territory without using a key card. Now Max plans to improve the system created with his own hands - in particular, to make it so that by the time the car approaches the barrier, it is already open.
Our license plate recognition system is available to any user - you can try it too by leaving a request for a free trial:
Graphic Plans in Flussonic Watcher, or How to Navigate Video Feeds When You Have a Lot of Cameras
Video surveillance is now becoming a very popular service. Many subscribers get this service from their Internet providers, renting cameras, placing them at their facilities, and getting access to the video stream. Small and medium businesses are one of the main subscribers of cloud video surveillance services today. And in many ways, it is their needs that tell us what a video surveillance service should be.
The interface of the video surveillance service itself is very important. It should be intuitive and user-friendly. This is especially important for those subscribers who have dozens of cameras installed at several locations.
Today, I want to tell you about the approaches to placing camera images in our Flussonic Watcher.
Let’s begin with a chain of small coffee shops, whose branches are located throughout the city. If the coffee shops follow the common interior style, then all branches would appear to look the same on camera. Each of them has video surveillance cameras to monitor the barista-cashier area and the sitting area in the cafe.
Let’s imagine that this coffee shop has ten branches. The manager enters the personal account of the video surveillance service with a simple task - to find out what is happening at a given point located at a given address. A couple of dozen approximately identical images from cameras open in front of them, in which it would be very problematic to quickly navigate. In a situation like this, it is very convenient to place cameras on a graphic map with a background from Google Maps or OpenStreet Maps. You could then find the desired point in the cafe by name, connect to the camera, and quickly find out what is happening there.
Now let’s think about warehouses. Each of them would have several dozen cameras. The camera views would be almost identical due to the fact that all cameras look at similar shelves with goods. Several cameras would be directed at the loading and unloading gate. If we use the same approach as the previous example, all cameras would be represented by a point on a graphical world map. This is not very convenient. Using a regular mosaic display of the camera feeds wouldn’t be very convenient as it would be very difficult to navigate the location of each camera. So, a better way to manage the many cameras and video feeds is needed.
To solve these problems, Watcher provides special floor plans that are also used by architects and designer’s software. There are camera icons on a map of the building, and when you click on them, windows with that camera’s video feed open.
Many CCTV cameras installed in warehouses are monitored by a security service to prevent theft, as well as to monitor the activities of the warehouse workers. Having in hand a plan of the premises with the designation of cameras and with the video feeds displayed, you can instantly orient a warehouse employee or security guard on the location of the intruder or any other situation requiring attention.
National Retail Chain
Now let’s imagine we have a chain of stores that are located throughout the country. The number of cameras would grow significantly, along with this, the complexity of placing them on maps would also increase.
We can combine the ability to place objects on a world map from the small retailers’ example with the placement of the layout of individual rooms from the warehouse example. Then, if we want to see the cameras of a particular store, we just click on the map. Additionally, you can open its layout, which contains cameras available for viewing.
Residential Complex With Several Buildings
Let’s use several multi-story residential buildings that are part of a fashionable and modern residential complex as our final example. In these complexes, residents would have access to cameras located in the courtyard area, playgrounds, parking lots, and on floors in common areas of the home property.
It would be good to place some of the cameras on the master plan of the residential complex, and some on the layouts of individual floors. We have provided this function for our users. By opening a map with camera icons on it, residents can easily find their building. By opening the map, they get access to the master plan for the entire residential complex premises. On this camera map, residents will see all of the areas of the complex (parking lots, shops, playgrounds) and camera icons. Then, by clicking on an icon, they can start watching the video online. When a resident wants to see what is happening behind the vestibule door on their floor, they can select the layer on the map corresponding to the floor. Then the layout of this floor opens, on which all available cameras are marked, and the footage can be viewed.
Thus, we have provided our customers with the necessary and user-friendly tools for convenient access to a large number of cameras. We have taken into account the interests of owners of small retails scattered across the city streets along with the interests of global corporations with several multi-story real estate properties in different parts of the world.
See how our graphic plans work by signing up for a trial access plan