Analysis: Windows Chelan For CCTV Cameras
by Security Electronics and Networks | @Analysis Articles | May 16, 2013, 7:00am AEST
ISD’s Ian Johnston said the company’s development team sprinted to market with its Microsoft Chelan – Windows Embedded Compact 7 – camera, a solution it knows will change the world. Time will tell if this observation is correct but it’s hard to dispute the attraction of a camera that will run on Microsoft Windows for some users. Personally, I think the attraction is going to be greatest outside the security industry, at least in the short term.
Chelan was released early in 2011 and it’s actually a tablet operating system designed to drive demanding stuff like smart phones, industrial automation gear, as well as tablets and slates. According to Microsoft, Win7 Compact is a consumption device rather than a creation device like full Win7. What this means is that it allows access to services and its own functions, rather than running demanding creative software applications. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty of creativity in Chelan.
One of the strong things about a Win7 camera like Lynx is support for ARM v7. Because ARM processors are RISC-based they’ve got more bits on fewer processors which means less heat and less power draw. Typically such advanced processors allow low power system-on-chip designs that include memory, interfaces even wireless (WiFi) all on the one engine.
Something that’s a seriously big deal is that Win7 Compact has a bunch of new development and design tools for the IT kiddies to play with. These include Silverlight for Embedded. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, Silverlight allows OEMs, including enterprising 12 year olds, to create their own custom interfaces with XAML and Native C++ coding languages.
XAML is a declarative markup language that is applied to the .NET Framework programming model where it simplifies the creation of user interfaces. That’s interesting. Meanwhile Stroustup’s C++ is a turbo-charged C programming language which boasts features like classes, virtual functions and templates. All this is fun stuff – dangerous in a serious security solution arguably – but fun.
There’s also symmetric multiprocessing, support for x86 & ARM, MIPS, a multimedia player with a customizable UI, a new version of Internet Explorer (based on IE 7 with some performance updates from IE 8. And there’s NDIS 6.1 support for improved connectivity to PCs and servers.
It’s pretty obvious given the rather generic specifications, that Lynx is not meant to be the best surveillance camera the world has ever seen – that’s not what this solution is about. Instead it’s the most flexible video surveillance camera the world has ever seen.
There are other cameras on the market that end users can fiddle with – Pelco Sarix was the first camera I saw with this functionality – but Lynx takes it to another level. Anyone doing computer studies at TAFE can get into this camera and have fun with it.
The fact the camera is IP66-rated is telling, too. You can install Lynx anywhere you like and if your terminations are good you can expect it to be rock solid. There’s a WDR option, though no word on low light or IR support at this point, the latter of which would have really rounded out the unit.
Of course, a lot of installers aren’t going to want to muck about with programming languages, not a bit of it. They want plug and play. They also need a business model that has some profit in it, so how big a splash we will see in our market is up for some debate.
Regardless, the appearance of a CCTV camera with a mobile device operating system embedded inside should not go unnoticed by users and installers. This is the baby step of a powerful new generation of video surveillance devices.