Pool safety camera
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2010)|
Aquatics video monitoring systems are broken into two categories:
Passive systems are primarily a means of addressing the physical limitations of viewing blind spots in the swimming pool tank. Active systems are designed to address the physical limitations imposed by the human factor. Additionally, these systems include all the benefits of a passive system.
Monitoring systems are further broken into three broad classes:
- Viewing aids
- Remote monitoring
- Computer-aided drowning detection.
Viewing aids are underwater video cameras for lifeguards to see various views underwater simultaneously without having to move. They can be used for all types of swimming pools. Cameras can view areas which would otherwise be obstructed. These systems are not favored by the aquatics community because they do not record.
Remote monitoring is the next step in video surveillance of swimming pools. It uses the same technology as the viewing aids class, and includes recording and storage capability. Remote monitoring is effective in documenting the chain of events surrounding any questionable situation. If used as a location from which to actively monitor the pool, these systems face limitations. Users must remain alert, viewing the screen without distraction for hours at a time. Screen placement for active monitoring means that response time may be increased due to the nature of a single location from which to respond. Active monitoring with this system also means an increase in manpower costs, as the majority of US state's aquatic safety laws will not authorize using this system in lieu of lifeguards on the deck.
Remote monitoring includes the recording of video for insurance purposes, to prove that there was no negligence on the part of the pool operator, or the staff (e.g. evidence of horseplay, drunkenness, etc., leading up to an incident). These systems are primarily limited to documenting the course of events for later review due to the difficulties of adapting to active monitoring usage.
Computer-aided drowning detection
Computer-aided drowning detection systems, such as the Poseidon System and Drowning Early Warning System (DEWS) are the most technologically advanced category in aquatics video monitoring. These feed the video from the cameras into a computerized monitoring software package capable of tracking the activity of swimmers and alerting staff if swimmers exhibit known behaviors associated with drowning. These systems are mainly limited to static water pools, and are not yet operational in the chaotic environment of a wave pool, whirlpool, jacuzzi, or other motion-based novelty rides. Being video-based, neither system is capable of operating in dark-water environments such as lagoons, lake-fronts or beach fronts.
Active monitoring systems such as these are preferred by aquatics operators who want the benefits of the video monitoring and remote monitoring classes of systems coupled with the additional benefit of another "set of eyes" watching over swimmers. Drawbacks to this system include the virtual impossibility of calibrating such a system to recognize all possible activities of pool patrons. As a result, these systems tend to generate false alarms.
As of November 2010 there are five main manufacturers of pool safety cameras: