Live wildlife network video system

Solar and wireless technology enable live hive viewing

Live wildlife network video system
Client: National Bee Keeping Centre for Wales
Brief: Design a system to allow visitors to the centre to view live footage of bees in a remote apiary.

DSW have completed work on a complicated live streaming project for the welsh national bee keeping centre. We were asked to provide visitors to the new national food centre with live images from a nearby apiary. The apiary is separated from the centre by part of the Conwy estuary so the cameras were required to be wireless and solar powered.

About the technology

High definition cameras

The cameras are full high definition IP cameras using dedicated macro lenses. Both cameras are mounted on a post close to one of the hives.

Camera 1 is viewing the hive entrance. It is focused only a few inches from the bees and delivers stunning close up images. To ensure smooth motion the video stream is made up of 25 high resolution static images captured every second. Standard video codecs were not suitable as they often display blurring or distortion with fast movement over such a large percentage of the screen.

Camera 2 provides an overview of the apiary where customers are able to visit and try out bee keeping first hand.

Solar power

Power comes from a polycrystalline solar panel that is housed in a custom made wooden box. The box was designed to house the solar panel and the necessary electronics and was built using FSC timber to ensure it suited its surroundings. The system only runs during the centres opening hours allowing the panel to re-charge the battery while the centre is closed.

Digital wireless

The Conwy estuary separates the apiary from the visitors centre so the video had to be delivered using wireless technology. A 5.8ghz 300mbps wireless link was installed to ensure sufficient bandwidth between the locations. The aerial on the centre is coloured to blend in with the listed building it is mounted on.

Interactive media display

The images are decoded by a media server and displayed on a large high definition screen. The screen forms part of the display within the centre where visitors are able to switch between the cameras or select a pre-recorded information video.