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Monitoring & Documenting Your Jobsite Made Easy: A Q&A with TrueLook Product Manager Jimmy Hodson

As 2021 gets underway, your firm may be preparing new jobsites and gearing up for a busy year. And there’s more to monitor than ever: On top of things like project progress, worker productivity, deliveries and the weather, firms must enforce procedures related to Covid-19 prevention and coordinate complex logistics resulting from the need to stagger trades to adhere to social distancing mandates. 

But with remote working now the norm for project managers and other back-office personnel that may otherwise travel to the jobsite regularly to supervise, it’s more challenging to keep an eye on what’s happening at the jobsite. TrueLook construction cameras offer 24/7 jobsite visibility wherever you are, along with a host of other key benefits, such as simplified documentation and compliance, improved collaboration and access to timelapses, videos and photos to use for marketing purposes.

In a recent conversation with TrueLook’s Product Manager Jimmy Hodson, we asked him how customers are using TrueLook cameras to monitor, track and document their projects through TrueLook’s intuitive interface. And he answered some important questions about using the cameras. Here’s a summary:

Q. Why should construction firms use TrueLook Cameras?

There are three critical values we bring to customers. The first is live jobsite viewing. Being able to see your job site from anywhere in the world — as long as you have an internet connected device like a mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer. The second is our custom timelapses that create a beautiful movie of your project from start to finish that you can use for marketing and promotion. And third is our 24X7 intelligent security recordings with motion alerts, so you can monitor and protect your jobsite around the clock. 

Q. What’s the advantage of having the combination of the camera technology and web application?

First and foremost, you have visibility into all your projects —  whether you have one or 100 projects you can see them all from within your TrueLook dashboard. Many of our customers use multiple cameras per project and our new dashboard groups cameras by project, which makes team collaboration even easier. Project managers or other stakeholders within your company have one place to go to see everything that’s going on. You can easily and efficiently collaborate with team members anywhere in the world, right from your dashboard by sharing and marking up images, and our application integrates with leading project management software such as Procore and Autodesk. All the photos and videos captured by the cameras are automatically stored in the cloud and kept there indefinitely —even if you decide to stop using the TrueLook cameras, you have access to your photos and videos forever. 

Q. How difficult is it to set up a TrueLook camera on the website? 

All you have to do is plug it in to power, whether that be 110V or solar. The camera has the modem and everything already configured. Once you power the camera, it communicates with our servers and it just starts working and capturing the images. You have immediate access to live jobsite viewing, the ability to mark up and share photos, and create photo albums. Everything is automatically uploaded to the application and saved in the cloud.

Q. Are there different kinds of cameras?

Yes, we have fixed cameras and pan-tilt-zoom or PTZ cameras, as well as cameras that are tailored for indoor use. We also offer mobile camera trailers with solar-powered cameras. Our PTZ cameras can create gigantic 360° time-lapse images and offer up to 32X optical zoom. 

Another thing that we’re able to do with PTZ cameras is set preset views, so if you have a large job site, and you want to keep track of multiple areas of interest, you can set a preset view so that you don’t have to adjust the camera every time. Just select the preset and the camera instantly returns to the saved coordinate. 

Q. Explain how TrueLook cameras capture timelapses, and what they can be used for.

A time lapse is really just a series of images, put together. We take images throughout the course of a project and convert it into a movie. You can set the camera to capture an image at specific time intervals, for example every 15 minutes between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. throughout the duration of the construction project. Depending on the length of your project, you could end up with a series of 20,000, 40,000, or more images that are always available through the TrueLook app. You can go in and select a subset to create a timelapse of a particular phase of the project, or use all the images to create a movie of the project from start to finish. Then, it’s available to download to use on your website, to share with stakeholders or to use in presentations.

Q. What are some unique features of TrueLook cameras?

One cool feature is our panoramic photos and time lapses. This feature takes multiple pictures and stitches them together, so that you end up with one big picture that can capture all 360-degrees of your jobsite (or any portion of the site that you would like to select). 

Construction Camera Buyers Guide

Another cool feature is our infrared, which helps you see in the dark. When there’s no light, it’s hard to see what’s going on, so we offer some cameras with built-in IR sensors that are activated when there’s less light. This feature is particularly useful for security recording, because it provides a clear view of the jobsite even in the absence of proper lighting. 

TrueLook cameras also enable you to set up access levels and permissions, create email subscriptions to share photos with stakeholders, configure motion alerts and perform a number of other automated tasks that streamline your workload and improve collaboration.

Q. How can firms learn more about TrueLook cameras?

We’ve got lots of great resources available on our website, including our recent webinar which includes the live demo. You may also want to download our buyer’s guide, which will help you decide which cameras are right for your projects.