Qualcomm is disappointed with the current range of smart home cameras; criticising them for being too slow to notify customers and alert them to a problem.
The company does have a solution however, noting that its Snapdragon 618 processor could make home monitoring cameras substantially more powerful than what is currently inside the average home camera; it can even go so far as to run two cameras at a time.
To show off its Snapdragon 618, Qualcomm has created a new reference design for new home monitoring cameras, hoping that manufacturers would take note and adopt its chipset over competitors.
Previously Qualcomm has resulted to similar tactics in other markets, including drones, smartphones and tablets.
So what is the additional power afforded by the Snapdragon 618 actually for?
Well, Qualcomm wants the camera to do much of the heavy lifting; noting that many current home monitoring cameras lean on the cloud for far too many tasks, slowing down response times.
Rather than processing the data in the cloud, the Snapdragon 618 should be able to do all image analysis locally, meaning the delay between an event happening and the user receiving an alert is greatly reduced.
“We’ve done a lot of work getting cameras and computer vision optimized in the phone space,” says Raj Talluri, who oversees mobile computing for Qualcomm.
“Typically it’s harder in the phone space – a phone has a pinhole camera and is always moving – but now we’re bringing that technology into this space where the application is a little different, but the technology we built applies perfectly.”
While the increase in speed is a nice thing to have, especially when it comes to security concerns, Qualcomm believes that the Snapdragon 618 could potentially open the door for even more home monitoring applications.
“What you have is a much smarter camera,” Raj notes. “What I’d call a conscious camera of what’s happening in the scene.”
Applications suggested by Qualcomm already exist to some extent – like the ability to ignore a passing car or recognise whether the person entering the house is an intruder or occupant – but Raj says that the power of the Snapdragon 618 means that not a single byte of data needs to be uploaded to the cloud.
There are other benefits to the Snapdragon 618 as well, with Wi-Fi connectivity complemented by an in-built LTE modem – greatly increasing the reliability of the camera; as the Wi-Fi being down should no longer mean that notifications to the user cease.
Of course, Qualcomm is not planning on releasing the reference design to consumers or installers; right now it’s just a proof of concept to manufacturers.
Manufacturers are being encouraged to approach Qualcomm to use and adapt its pre-made design; something Qualcomm is confident they will do, as the company has suggested that the first cameras powered by a Snapdragon processor could go on sale as soon as the first half of next year.
Qualcomm is not just finishing at smart home monitoring cameras however, as the company has also revealed new modems destined for Internet of Things devices.
Dubbed MDM9207-1 and MDM9206, Qualcomm is hoping that the modems will enable more manufacturers to include an Internet connection into their products.
Both modems offer a low-powered LTE connection and are designed to go in pretty much all devices. Qualcomm envisions a future where machines throughout cities are all Internet-enabled, with the company’s modems notifying utility companies if there’s a leaky pipe or how much electricity someone is using.
The modems are also designed to last; Qualcomm claims each one should be good for around 10 years of battery life.