Bob's Adventures in Wireless and Video Headline Animator

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bluetooth 3.0 - Might be something here

Bluetooth has been a low power short range solution for lower bandwidth connectivity between keyboards, mice, microphones and speakers. While operating on 2.4GHz it does not use the same protocol as 802.11 WiFi. Recent advancements in WiFi chipsets support Bluetooth coexistence so that interference between the two protocols is minimized. Bluetooth was made for short range, lower bandwidth applications.

What makes Bluetooth of interest for video is it's ease of use, low power consumption, and master-slave architecture.With the release of Bluetooth 2.0 bandwidth went up to 3Mbps. This was enough for limited video, but now with Bluetooth 3.0 the bandwidth goes up to 24Mbps.

Right now there are two very interesting products on the market which demonstrate where Bluetooth may go in the near future. One is the BT-1 camera. This camera costs $150, runs a respectable 4 hours on a charge, delivers 640x480 H.264 stream at 15fps and the reviews say that it has great image quality. The down side is that the range of the camera is only 30 feet and the only drivers that are available are for Macintosh. But for the price it seems to be a great deal. It even works with IPhone.

The other Bluetooth product that caught my attention is AirCable which claims to extend Bluetooth range up to 10km at very low power consumption. This solution is a low cost, low power, long range system of components that enables the creation of various wireless devices.

Their long range hub controller costs about $129 and they have a camera for $99. I did not like their camera specs very much as they had short run time, low resolution, and slow frame rate.

Assuming that the BT-1 camera generates about 256kbps of video stream, pre-compressed in H.264, then you could expect to be able to get 8 or more cameras per Bluetooth Aircable hub.

Now combine the two technologies into one and you get a good quality camera with VGA resolution, the ability to run 4 hours on a charge, a range of a thousand feet, point to multi point operation with support for up to 8 cameras per hub, a fast frame rate, small size, and really low cost. An entire system could be had for less than $300. Plug that into a netbook NVR or a smart phone and you have a very low cost long range wireless system.

All of the above is based on Bluetooth 2.0. Now just think about where this can go with Bluetooth 3.0 and the ability to have 24Mbps in bandwidth available.

Of course I am relying on the accuracy of the information on the vendors web sites. So there certainly could be something here that derails the usefulness of these products for surveillance, but they are very close to what the market is looking for.

I might buy these, kludge them together and see how they work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April is Almost Over...Summer of Wireless Surveillance

April is almost over. Trade show season is winding down and we are all focusing back on work. This summer is going to be busy.

After the wonderful response that we saw to our product direction at ISC West, I made a decision to stop working on  MicroPower Technologies and focus full time on HauteSpot Networks. With our new microNVR, the recent orders that we received for the eWRAP emergency router platform, partnerships that we have now formed with military prime contractors, and general expansion of HauteSpot Networks success, there just was no time to work on MicroPower.

We have been working diligently with our partners to get a variety of different VMS software servers and clients running on the microNVR including exacqVision, Network Optix EVE and others. We have also been working on software for migration of video files from the internal disk drives or SSD to USB attached drives or wireless transfers. This is pretty easy to do, we just have to detect the presence of the target (ping it) and then zip up the files and do a batch transfer. This process can be completely automatic and scheduled in the microNVR.

The orders for the microNVR keep coming in and we are working to fulfill them as quickly as possible. Please be patient. Our backlog is about 3 weeks right now. We expect this to improve as we get forecasting and production in alignment.

Some of the applications that we expect to have closed, shipped and installed by the end of May will include:

Transportation - The microNVR is perfect for trains, buses, trucks, and other fleets. By combining an NVR with a full function router and supporting both Gigabit Ethernet, MIMO wireless (up to 80Mbps actual TCP throughput) AND 3/4G cellular, the microNVR locally records up to 8 2MP cameras at 8fps or faster, the microNVR replaces several separate devices with one ultra small unit. We have a fleet of buses at a major city evaluating the system for broad deployment. We have several commuter train systems looking at the system too.

Public Safety - The microNVR is perfect for pole cameras, covert remote surveillance and nomadic emergency applications. One major city police department is in the process of installing and testing several of the microNVRs in small enclosures mounted on poles, combined with PTZ megapixel cameras for narcotics and other investigations. We expect some other applications in the DOJ shortly.

This is a great time to install, since the weather is good and the economy is turning around.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

HautSHOT microNVR at NAB Show 2011

Jim Jachetta at VidOvation is a busy guy. He arrived in Las Vegas on Friday so he could meet with HauteSpot, get some training on the new microNVR and set up his booth at the National Association of Broadcasters show.

Jim has been in the broadcast industry for a long time is one of the innovators in the industry. He has worked with Wes Simpson, our Directory of Business Development for many years. Jim is looking to bring more flexible technologies into the broadcast business, and HauteSpot is one of his partners.

Press Release On NAB, VidOvation and HauteSpot

The microNVR is a great product for broadcasters who want to gather content from remote locations. With it's ability to backhaul over pretty much any wireless technology (WiMAX, LTE, UMTS, EvDO, HauteSpot TLP, 802.11a/b/g/n, BGAN or whatever else you have available), its intelligence to determine what links are best to use, its large capacity internal storage, its integrated H.264 acceleration hardware, its small size, and its relatively low power consumption, it is a fully self contained remote edge content gathering platform.

We think broadcasters will want to use this for remote fixed cameras (traffic cameras, view cams, etc), live to air IP applications like web streaming of high school and college events, as a backup to large ENG operations, and who knows what else.

In an innovative application you could take up to 4 USB H.264 1080p web cameras, attach them to the microNVR and then start streaming back using the integrated web server or unicast push over 3/4g wireless. For less than $2000 you could have a complete ENG system in your pocket with 4 1080p 30fps camera heads. Yes, the optics are weak, but other than that, it is HD from a 4"x4"x1" box. Visit Jim at his booth #C7248 to see the microNVR.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

ISC West Recap

We just got back from Las Vegas and this years ISC West show.

Before anything else, I have to first thank our team: Mike, Max, Charlotte P, Charlotte C, Crystal and Wes all did a great job at the show supporting both myself and our many customers. Great Job TEAM!!!

We had overwhelming positive reviews of both our new HauteShot microNVR. Among customer comments:

"HauteSpot Rocks!"
"You have to get up here to see this stuff, it is exactly what we need."
"It does all of that?"
"No way!"
 "That is the most amazing thing I have seen at the show."

We had one officer from LAPD travel all the way from LA to Vegas just to see the microNVR and then turn around and go back. After showing him the product and giving the demonstration I asked him if it was worth the trip, and he said that it was even better than he expected. "Definitely worth it."

To sum up the HauteShot microNVR:
  • Its a full feature multi-protocol intelligent router
  • Its a full feature video management server (choice of several server software options)
  • Its a full feature network health manager
  • It supports 3G, 4G, 802.11b/g/n, HauteSpot TLP, USB cameras, GPS, external USB storage
  • It runs on 12VDC at only 8W
  • It comes with either HDD or SSD
  • It is only 4"x4"x1" and weighs less than a pound
  • It has 1080p video out with H.264 hardware acceleration along with AES crypto off load
Cudos also go out to Ulrich Newman and Kelvin Chung for their presentation of Sentinel AVE 3D visualization software. Customers from several large security integrators had nothing but great things to say about Sentinel AVE.

It was a great show and a great showing by HauteSpot. Thanks everyone.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Recap on Autoclub Speedway

 Last Sunday I went to the races with Tom Zeeman from MicroPower. As chronicled in last weeks blog, we were there to get an idea of how to make wearable wireless video work in this challenging environment.

We walked the entire raceway from the pits, to the garage, to the grandstands. Throughout the walk through we recorded all of the wifi traffic and spectrum analysis.

What we found was that NASCAR is very dependent on wireless. There were 43 teams, each had some radios for voice communications, a backhaul data link to the trailer from the pit. Satellite downlinks and terrestrial rebroadcast to many monitoring stations was common. Wifi was used for cameras and telemetry, although surprisingly infrequently.

It is very noisy, both in the audible range and in the RF range. We found that most of the teams had given up on wireless video from wearable cameras. There were two teams that had something that worked, but pretty much everyone else had given up on it. We found over 150 SSIDs being broadcast from almost 280 APs. That was just the 2.4GHz band. Then go up to 5GHz and we found another 60 SSIDs.

The photo on the right is a great example of what you see in the pits. Look at all of those hot sticks with antennas on top of them. Every one has an AP.

The upshot of all of this is that wireless is a challenge. But we have a plan. Of course I cannot tell you here how we are going to overcome the noise and make the Mini-i work. Suffice to say we are expecting that within this race season you will see MicroPower cameras on one or more teams. Look for our stickers, hats and jackets coming soon...