Security gateways, an entirely new class of security systems from the telematics system integrator M2M Solution (M2M), allow end users to view real-time video of homes or commercial facilities on a mobile phone or PC, giving them full monitoring control and eliminating the need for expensive surveillance services.
These devices can read data from motion or smoke detectors, scan the status of doors and windows and interact with individuals inside the monitored area to determine if they are intruders. All this is possible with the compact Homebox unit powered by the OMAP3503 processor and development infrastructure including evaluation boards, software and services from Texas Instruments (TI), which allowed M2M to design the system in only nine months. M2M serves as a business-to-business supplier and develops complete security concepts, from hardware to ongoing services, for major companies in the telecom, insurance and industrial security fields.
“TI provided a complete system level solution with the OMAP 3 applications processor, RF transceivers, audio codecs and power-management devices,” explains Arnaud Duclap, chief operating officer, M2M Solution. “Additionally, the TI development tools and Linux board-support package allowed us to save time and money using open source codecs for MPEG-4 and H.263, so we were able to modify our base concept to meet unique customer requirements.”
TI’s OMAP3503 processor with its 600 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 core provides all the computational power and I/O needed to run this unobtrusive appliance, which measures just 14 x 14 x 8 cm. The unit features a built-in 5MP camera that works in low light with a 140-degree angle that also accepts signals from WiFi cameras. The processor then transcodes camera data so users can watch real-time images optimized for their mobile phones or PCs.
Other integrated I/O includes Ethernet for a hardwired link to a broadband router, GSM for homes or facilities not equipped with a broadband connection or as a backup to a wired connection, WiFi for external cameras and broadband routers, plus an 868 MHz RF link to various security/safety sensors and even external sirens. Future features will take advantage of the Homebox’s Bluetooth and Zigbee ports.
With OMAP 3 technology implementing all these interfaces, the Homebox will typically only need one cable connection – power. Because of the low power consumption of the OMAP 3 processor, less than 1W in this case, all functions are housed in a plastic enclosure that operates silently without any fans or even heat sinks. This low power consumption is also important if an intruder cuts off the power supply. In this situation, a backup battery runs the Homebox for four hours so it can send an intrusion alert, either with an e-mail message, text message, MMS or voice recorded call, and then respond to the owner’s instructions. In addition, recordings of audio/video data are sent to the service provider’s server bank so they cannot be permanently destroyed by an intruder.
“M2M has done a great job adapting our technology so they can break cost barriers and create a first-of-its-kind home security gateway that is exceptionally powerful, yet one that almost anyone can afford,” comments Elizabete de Freitas, DSP Catalog business development manager, TI. “The high level of integration in the OMAP 3 processor results in a lower total bill of materials for the Homebox and M2M can quickly upgrade to more powerful OMAP 3 processors to add new features and tune systems to match the particular requirements of every customer.”