SAN JOSE, Calif. Startup Stretch Inc. has wrapped reference designs and software around its S6000 configurable processor to build low cost networked surveillance cameras and video recorders. The company is following in the footsteps of another startup, Stream Processors Inc., which announced chips, designs and software for the same market in March.
As many as 30 million standalone, analog surveillance cameras ship each year with humans tracking their output at banks of monitors. Market researchers say by 2011 that will rise to as much as 66 million with half of those systems shifting to digital, networked products. They will be monitored by computers that use sophisticated programs to watch for events that would trigger an alert to a human security agent.
The forecast may be optimistic, but the opportunity is still very real, said Bob Beachler, a former senior executive at Altera Corp. now vice president of marketing at Stretch (Sunnyvale, Calif.).
The startup claims its approach can deliver 30 frames per second of an H.264 video stream at D1 standard resolution for as little as $6.25. Fixed-function chips used in today's digital video surveillance cameras cost almost twice as much, while DSPs also widely used cost about $25 per stream, the company claims.
"We think we are the most cost effective solution," said Beachler.
In terms of power, the Stretch solution requires about 500mW per stream. "We're not the lowest in power consumption, but we are competitive," he said.
Stretch is aiming primarily at a broad group of non-branded manufacturers in Asia, supplying them with all the ingredients for products.