In February 2006, RealityVision was deployed to assist security at the Super Bowl in Detroit, Michigan.
The official-in-charge of FBI security at the 2006 Super Bowl considers RealityVision a force multiplier. "The software allowed us to communicate directly with teams and then appropriately respond depending on what we saw," he says.
Acting as an intelligence gathering tool, the software allows law enforcement to handle issues they previously were unable to, he adds. The potential for in-field identification arose through the use of integrated technologies, such as facial recognition software, that would analyze the transmitted still image or video for suspects. If the software identified a suspect, law enforcement would then be able to take appropriate action based on more informed decisions.
RealityVision's software begins behind an agency's firewall. Installed software couples the agency's server to a cellular phone or computer. Video from the phone or computer device, such as a USB Web cam, is transmitted back to the server enabling the live feed.
"RealityVision takes advantage of whatever 'pipe' is available for the user," says Geoghegan. Data can be transmitted through an officer's phone or laptop via a wired or wireless Internet connection. "Reality Mobile didn't build RealityVision to a particular device, but built it to the instrument's operating system."
For example, he explains, an officer in a hotel room in Idaho can view the live feed from New York with the broadband speed of the hotel's wireless. RealityVision also can be viewed via any cellular Internet network. "If an officer is on a commercial cellular network with our software, he can view the live feed," Geoghegan adds.
As with any wireless-based communication connection, bandwidth will affect the speed of data transmission. Higher bandwidth technologies, such as wired computers or WiFi networks, would better receive a live-video stream. Lower bandwidth technologies, such as phones, would more likely receive images at a slower rate. Geoghegan explains that "we're generally seeing video transmission speeds of one to three frames per second over commercial cellular networks, depending on the particular device and the network. WiFi hotspots are great when available, but we also wanted to leverage the ubiquity of the cellular networks to provide cost-effective, global coverage."
The security agents in the 2006 Super Bowl utilized Reality Mobile's software to its full extent within Detroit's dome. As well as having the capability to view live video feed from cellular phones and other IP computer-based devices, the software also can utilize fixed security cameras. RealityVision allows law enforcement to view a variety of happenings in one place, says the FBI official.Play-by-play management
To manage the flow of information from the field, the Management Console provides agencies control over the incoming data apart from viewing video. The console application can create groups to share video or image feeds and to collect various types of data.
Using COTS products, a tracking position can be displayed onto a visual map on a computer screen. With this capability, law enforcement not only sees the action as it is happening but also where.
"RealityVision is a proven means to communicate voice, imagery and location data from the field to a central operations center, or to communicate this information between field elements," says Kurt Snapper, chief technology officer of ManTech International Corp., a technology partner of Reality Mobile located in Fairfax, Virginia.
Technology will never replace the dedicated agencies and personnel of law enforcement — it can only help. "Since we want to detect and disrupt attacks with limited resources, there is no substitute for field imagery communicating a situation and managing response," says Snapper.