Why Neology is an ALPR partner you can rely on
Police departments need an ALPR like the Neology Helios, which features powerful on-camera processing that provides immediate results
By Ron LaPedis
Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR) help cops solve crimes – by finding people with warrants, locating stolen autos, solving burglaries and cracking homicide cases. The list goes on. You name the type of case, and LEOs have found successes thanks to ALPR technology and innovation.
ALPRs are force multipliers that can free up agency resources so officers can spend time building community relationships, protecting the community, taking appropriate training and solving crimes. But not all ALPR are created equal and pressing the “buy” button without doing your research could come back to bite you later.
It’s a robot!
While you and I have no problem reading a license plate, perhaps with binoculars or a flashlight, ALPRs might not be as lucky. Why? The folks who come up with complicated license plate designs and fancy colors don’t give much thought to how well robots are going to do when they need to read a plate – especially at night.
ALPRs can’t turn on a flashlight to read a plate in the dark without giving away their location, and covert readers are a huge benefit, especially when placed at entrances and exits to town. Rather, they use infrared illuminators that come in various frequencies. Most tend to use 740nm, 810nm, 850nm and 940nm to invisibly illuminate and read a plate in the dark.
Plate designers aren’t spending a lot of time (they aren’t spending any time) lighting up their designs with infrared illuminators, because that just isn’t in their job description. Rather, it is up to the ALPR designers to ensure that their devices can read whatever plate passes by their location.
And if a new plate comes out that your ALPR can’t read, you might as well put the unit in storage. While one frequency might work on your state’s plates, it might not be able to read those from a neighboring state – or the state two to the right and up one, where an Amber alert was just issued with the car believed to be headed in your direction.
This single fact means that you need a flexible ALPR that can be upgraded on the fly. Perhaps even one that you subscribe to rather than purchase, so that you aren’t locked into obsolete tech because you spent your 5-year budget on a device that will leave you in the past in 6 months.
Other concerns surrounding ALPRs are power and connectivity. The best ALPRs, like the Neology Helios, feature powerful on-camera processing that provides immediate results, whether the vehicle is stationary or doing 80 or more on the interstate. But reading a plate is just the start. Wouldn’t you like to know what the plate is attached to?
Neology’s MANTIS 4-D uses the latest in image analytics to determine broad vehicle characteristics including brand, color and type, as well as special features such as roof rack or ride-share stickers. Now your officers have a much better handle on what they are rolling on.
But back to power. Sure, you could run utilities to a pole, like power and network cables, but wouldn't it be much easier if your ALPR came with robust purpose-built solar power and wireless connectivity?
And in addition to heavy-duty full-featured permanent installations, what if you could deploy a completely self-contained ALPR on a trailer for festivals, special events, or VIP visits – perhaps disguised as a speed-enforcement sign? Yup, Neology has those too, giving your agency the portability, independence and environmentally responsible energy of a solar array trailer – providing best-in-class ALPR solutions for use in extreme environments and with extended run times.
Neology’s 20-year history of constantly adding function, features and robust components to their ALPR systems means that you have a partner you can rely on. A partner who will be there to support you when the latest puce-and-purple license plate with a font from hell is released to the motoring public.
Finally, because of Neology’s subscription model, you can save your capital funds for other needs while spending planned-for operating funds to gain the benefits of upgradable technology. Now that’s an easy read. To learn more about Neology, click here.
About the author
Ron LaPedis is an NRA-certified Chief Range Safety Officer, NRA, USCCA and California DOJ-certified instructor, is a uniformed first responder, and frequently writes and speaks on law enforcement, business continuity, cybersecurity, physical security and public/private partnerships.
He has been recognized as a Fellow of the Business Continuity Institute (FBCI), a Distinguished Fellow of the Ponemon Institute, Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP), and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).