How To Select ALPR

The Most Viable Solution

Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR), also known as License Plate Recognition (LPR), Plate Reader or Automatic Number Plate (ANPR) in the UK, is a network of cameras, processors and software systems working together to read the optical characters of license plates and deliver analytical results.

While the technology has been available for decades, emerging innovations in the Internet of Things (IoT) and worldwide threats on homeland security have pushed ALPR solutions to the front line when it comes to choosing preventive products for safer communities.

Whether you are a law enforcement agency looking to monitor criminality; a military station patrolling borders and controlling access to secured locations; or a business center implementing parking management systems, ALPR is the most viable solution. But how do you chose which ALPR solution is the right one for you?



The first is usually a pretty easy one depending on your industry. A powerful investigation tool for law enforcement; a zone enforcer for parking management; or access control for buildings such as, hospitals or entertainment venues. The list has grown pretty extensive in the ways ALPR can be utilized.



Where and in what capacity you want to use the system will determine whether you need a Mobile (in-car), Portable (trailer with hitch) or Fixed (secured to a road fixture) system. Depending on the use, you may find you’re in need of more than one type of ALPR. Lighting conditions, speed of vehicles in the area of interest, public point-of-view and duration of the hardware or software are a few examples of what to consider when exploring ALPR options.


Once you’ve decided on which type of ALPR best meets your needs, consider what will be needed to continue supporting the technology from the back-end. Maintenance costs, software upgrades and manpower to resource the technology are often overlooked. Will a central monitoring team be in place and ready to support the new technology if needed? Do you have access to an IT professional who can assist with your systems network and set-up? Or will you need to add these services on to the ALPR provider’s contract? Whose server will host your data? Most leading ALPR providers offer full support capabilities. Look for an ALPR vendor, like NDI, who can help set-up and maintain the solution throughout the duration of the products life-cycle.


Making the Decision

You’ve considered all the avenues and investigated the products and suppliers and come to a decision to purchase. ALPR systems vary in cost, especially when it comes to the software and features. It’s important to not only research your use of ALPR technology, what you want to purchase and how you’re going to deploy, but also how much you can afford. For law enforcement and military, there are grants that can help with the purchase of ALPR technology.  However, remember to include the ongoing maintenance and systems upgrade costs and ask the vendor to list that out in the quote. If the price is substantially more than what you were looking to spend, share your ideas and even locations with the vendor and request a no-obligation site survey. It may turn out what you want in an ALPR solution is more than what you really need. A trusted ALPR provider will offer this service and work with you in partnership to find the right solution.

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