Were we ahead of our time by initiating our construction webcam monitoring service in the late-1990s?
What you want is simply to see what’s happening on your job site. Our ProgressWEBCAMS capture and deliver periodic images throughout the workday to an online ARCHIVEpics INTERFACE, providing easy access to the latest view(s) of site activity; all you need is your cell phone or Wi-Fi access for viewing.
When you need to review conditions from a previous date, simply scroll back through the archive and look through the images. If you’re signed up for security monitoring options, you can access a live view anytime, or receive an alert if motion is detected at a time when there should be NO site activity. We determine the best installation options, assemble and program the hardware, mount it (or bring it to you on our small-footprint solar-powered trailer), monitor the system, and deliver PICS, plus an edited marketing-quality Time-lapse video of your entire construction build! We do much more than sell you equipment!
Going back 25 years to remember our first Construction Webcam Monitoring installation does NOT automatically make us experts in this field, but it does show that we’ve been involved with this form of Site Monitoring for quite some time. The challenges of that first unit were enormous, and the short deadline to get it up and running for our GC client made for high-anxiety. We were dependent upon telephone providers and their less-than-reliable phone lines (and electrical power) at a remote site with no utilities, presenting huge obstacles. We got the job done, however, and in the end, provided our client with the unique Time-lapse movie they were seeking – showing a building from dirt to parking lot in less than a minute! Take a look! That was our first venture into what is now our P-Tn ProgressWEBCAM Site Monitoring Service.
Technology has advanced light years ahead of the primitive resources and computer systems we were working within the Mid-90s. The cameras were very low resolution, had relatively primitive optics, were bulky in size, and housed in equally bulky and inconvenient-to-access exterior housings. Mounting was entirely left to our ingenuity … and then came the wiring (wireless was beyond comprehension) … from the unit to the telephone line (yup, phone line – no internet access) and this was when cell phones were still in development for practical commercial purposes. We have not even discussed the logistics of mounting that camera on a wood pole or the side of a field office trailer – and be located close enough for hard wiring.
In 2004, we took a photograph of me, and my two sons, Travis & Tim, on the roof of 1201 Walnut in KCMO [our wireless subcontractor, CTC is represented by their installer, John Stover]. The pic was taken right after completion of our first w-i-r-e-l-e-s-s Pan-Tilt-Zoom ProgressWEBCAM, overlooking the H&R Block Headquarters Building, under construction by J.E. Dunn. I can no longer remember all of the units we’ve installed and maintained, putting contractors, subs, designers, developers, and owners in touch with what’s happening on the ground at their project sites, and after completion, delivering a marketing-quality edited Time-lapse video of the entire build.
Today, our systems use powerful hi-res cameras with quality optics; they are smaller and lighter than ever, although the electronics are far more powerful (and more expensive) so we can almost always capitalize on the advantages of wireless broadband internet connections. Our ProgressWEBCAM TMS unit is mounted on a 20-foot mast on a portable trailer, and the entire system is powered with batteries that rely on solar energy to recharge during the day. We also install lightweight units inside structures, so our clients see what is progressing within the exterior walls and behind the windows.
So were we ahead of our time in the mid-’90s? Perhaps. Likely not, but that interest, and continuing our research & development as client interest slowly grew over the years, built an important portion of our small business that now delivers a vital service to a growing number of our clients. What have we learned during the last quarter-century? That technology is only one part of the solution. The service and expertise that we’ve developed is the real value we bring to the table. We don’t sell hardware – there is an abundance of suppliers who do that; in fact, we’ve adopted a rental/leasing approach to this part of our business. With ownership of the hardware remaining with us, we create an added incentive to deploy it safely, in an effective location, then monitor and maintain it, so it will perform properly for our valued clients, and return to us in good condition. We are also encouraged to upgrade equipment as improved features are developed, thereby attracting new clients to P-Tn.
Planning and executing the proper deployment of a remote monitoring system – whether it be for time-lapse and calendar archiving, or security alerts and recording intruders or events – requires both time and experience. The simple decision of where to install a unit can make or break the effectiveness of the imaging you receive; we take into account elevation, angle of the sun ( throughout the entire year ), lens focal length, resolution, and file size, plus the stability of the mounting itself – pole, building, roof, or other structure. We consider all of these factors and make recommendations that will bring you the best possible results with quality images and a marketing-quality edited time-lapse video in the end.
Handling this yourself in-house will consume considerable time, after enduring a long learning curve for both the hardware and software. We maintain a vested interest in the equipment, so we are here to get it all running, and keep it all running. Periodic weekly checks of each camera ensure that we catch most any system failures, power outages, or site problems – if you don’t notice them first. That makes P-Tn part of your project team, contributing to a successful site monitoring program, from site grading to parking lot striping.
We send periodic images during the workday to your online ARCHIVEpics INTERFACE. When you need to review conditions from a previous time or date, simply scroll back through the ARCHIVE. With security monitoring options, you can access a live view anytime, or receive an alert … day or night, if need be.
There are now abundant options available for remote observation, monitoring, security, and video communication, from your phone itself to cheap units at the local discount house all the way up to national and international companies that manufacture sophisticated hardware and software systems for multiple deployments and hostile environments. You will pay the price in wasted time or performance failures with the cheap systems, and you will simply ‘pay the price’ for the complex systems. Neither insures success, and both leave you with the burden of self-managing some part of the operation. Our small but professional staff is here to make things personal, and keep them personal throughout the construction period.
Our base in Kansas City should not mislead you. Please don’t assume that we are unable to help you establish construction site monitoring at your remote location – wherever that might be … we’ll handle it all, or help your site personnel get the job done. We have deployed our ProgressWEBCAMS beyond Greater KC, including most recently in Jefferson City & Kirksville, MO., Nebraska City & Gretna, NE., Oklahoma City, Coffeyville & Thomas, OK., Mayflower & Conway, AR., Illinois, Lebanon & Thorntown, IN., Austin & Ferris, TX., Frankenmuth & Traverse City, MI., South Dakota … and we maintain two units in Montana, one in Gardiner – the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park! You get the idea – we do get around. We can deliver and start-up our Trailer-Mast-Solar TMS units most anywhere for you, or, some of our clients choose to lease and handle that themselves.
What level of visual documentation, photo – digital – video, are you and your project team in need of on your next build? Would a ProgressWEBCAM monitoring or security system be beneficial? Are you familiar with the wide range of services and solutions we provide? We deliver Pre-Construction video, ProgressPHOTOS, 4K Drone Aerial Imaging, panoramas, Owner Training videos for project closeout, and more … including iPlanTables Interactive Workstations.
Might we have an opportunity to meet you and discuss how P-Tn can be of service, or simply answer your questions in a phone conversation?
Please don’t hesitate to call, or email our professional staff thru our CONTACT PAGE!
ERIC BERNDT Founder / 913-384-9369 / P-Tn.com