The First Windows Based IP Camera - Genius or Crazy?

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Mar 28, 2013

Essentially all IP cameras are Linux/Unix based. Plus, momentum continues to shift to non Windows platforms, like Android. Despite this, one surveillance startup, ISD, is taking a contrarian approach - releasing a new line of IP cameras that run instead on Windows. Indeed, they won the ISC West 'Best in Show' award for 2013. In this note, we examine what they are doing it, why they believe it will work and what pros and cons exist.

Update: Judges Explain 'Best in Show' Award

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Comments (58)

I can see it now.....

This will clearly be one of the more fascinating elements of this device - the tension between those who can't stand Windows and those who embrace it. I will say this - better a product to generate strong, divided affections than be ignored by all.

Hey! That's unfair. :)

I'm not a Windows fanboi, but I am a daily user (like most), and I haven't had the thrill of BSOD since like 1998.

Brian,

I have, specifically when a storport driver didn't play nice with the server's bios.

But wait, there's more! How about memory leaks in misdesigned programs causing system lockups and/or reboots? That is far more common and could be a major problem with third party analytics programs.

Like DOS, Linux is far more stable than Windows. Our Pelco matrix, running DOS, keeps chugging away month after month and could likely run stably years. I have yet to see any Windows system with that reliability.

LOL, the biggest beneefit I can see of using IP cameras with Windows in a Windows environment would be the ability to integrate NAP (Network Access Protection) intot the camera. How do you load an Anti-Virus and Windows Firewall or whatever other policies are enforced in the Enterprise to an embedded device? Also, the contention that it increases security is ludicrous, has anyone ever seen a truly secure Windows system?

Brian, I always warn people I know and Enterprise users who allow Automatic Updates to NEVER select the optional Windows Driver updates. Microsoft does a horrible job with drivers and they can and have still resulted in BSOD even recently. I saw one at a customer late last year, they selected the optional windows driver for their video card during the updates and BAM!!! BSOD on a Win 7 x64 machine.

"Also, the contention that it increases security is ludicrous, has anyone ever seen a truly secure Windows system?"

The second part of that sentence doesn't support the first part.

The first part relates the contention of an 'increase', while the 'supporting' statement makes reference to overall security while ignoring any improvement in securing these types of cameras vs existing non-windows cameras.

I think we can all agree that windows-based anything is at least worth being concerned about, based on all of our past experiences supporting this operating system. But it's also pretty easy to see (as John points out in the article), that there are improved capabilities when it comes to securing windows based cameras that are not available with non-windows based cameras.

Full disclosure, I am the CEO / CTO of ISD.

@Carl, Memory leaks are very much 'cross platform' and the source of them can usually be found between the keyboard and chair (i.e. the programmer).

One of the benefits of using a really good IDE like Visual Studio is there are mature methods for testing for memory leaks. Drivers leaking memory is just as big a problem under Linux and it's something that embedded dev teams have had to worry about for years.

Fortunately, embedded devices are a much more controled environment, making it easier to navigate and lock down than a traditional big metal server.

@Marty You're spot on. Security is an evolving term. MS have spent insane amounts of money providing tools, support and encryption technology to enhance security for the billions of customers that they have. MS System Center comes to mind for configuration and managment of systems.

Security breaches now are most often the result of JAVA, FLASH and questionable behaviour on behalf of the consumer. Since we won't have those wide open technologies on our device, it reduces the attack surface dramatically.

Genetec's Sharp LPR line of cameras run on Windows OS.

Brian, thanks, you're right, Sharp does run on Windows (see datasheet). On the other hand, it is not a general purpose IP camera. They are LPR systems that run $15,000+ (see our Genetec LPR review).

In any event, I added an update to the post with this point. Thanks!

Leaving the technical issues merits aside, imagine the sales possibility if you can get Windows OS hard spec'd for cameras in a large project (or something like 'camera must directly integrate with Active Directory'). This would be a very powerful sales tool (fair or not, useful or not, etc.).

I'm still waiting for a DOS-based camera. Prompt $d $t.

The camera runs on a ARM instruction set. Therefore - you cannot run normal x86 Windows apps on it. You still have to port your application over to Windows Embedded. The main advantage is developers can leverage some/most of there skills with Visual Studio to ease migration.

Contray to the opinions above - from personal experience as a developer I can tell you that Windows is a much more stable and conherent development platform then Linux due to the things like the .NET Framework and stable OS releases that only occur once every 3 years and are supported for 10 years. This is in contrast to Linux - where there are lots of constantly changing libraries and kernels - etc...

Regarding driver issues - I have had SO MANY driver issues on Linux - GPU drivers, NIC drivers, storage controller drivers, etc... JUST LIKE on Windows. With open platforms - you will always have issues. These issues are controlled by testing/validation specific hardware configurations with a particular set of drivers. Updating anything on a production system is a bad idea unless its done to intentionally solve a problem. If you server sits behind a firewall then not patching security holes in the OS is not normally a major issue.

I have fixed countless unstable Windows machines - the most common issues are dust causing overheating, bad drivers (not from Microsoft) and virus/malware/bad program causing headaches (customer's fault).

"If it works don't fix it" is about the only thing that will save you when it comes to an OS - any change may break any kind of system - whether is OS X, Linux, or Windows.

The one unforgivable, long standing issue Microsoft has created with Windows is the development of a culture where most apps run on the administrative account and the fact that up to Windows XP a normal user of their desktop PC runs under the administrative account.

Microsoft is attempting migrate away from this with UAC but what really needs to happen is a Linux style enforcement of non-privileged accounts for normal user interaction. The trouble is Microsoft prides itself on backward compatibility so this is hard because they want to keep all the old customer happy and encourage them to buy the new Windows version.

If Windows enforced non-privileged access like Android most problems will go away. Of course all the application developers will have to change there apps to match.

Microsoft made the choice 20 years ago to make Windows easiest to do whatever the user wants to do by running as administrator by default - this developed a poor, undisciplined user culture that has lead us to the current situation.

@Bohan great comments. Any Linux developer knows the "dependency hell" that you can quickly fall into trying to install software packages. It often just works, but when it doesn’t it can be a nightmare.

Both OS’s have their strengths and weaknesses and there’s definitely no shortage of hyperbole on either side.

Being able to use .NET and Visual Studio is really nice in an embedded environment. Literally re-target to ARM and most stuff just works. The environment is stable and very predictable.

"Embedded" is becoming a relative term... Dual core processors with 1GB of RAM is a far cry from the 6502 processor that I started out programming (hand assembled even!). It's shocking how far we've come and I'm really excited with what I know is coming from the consumer electronic side. Good times.

Microsoft has failed to find any meaningful foothold with any of its embedded operating systems. Nearly all the world's smartphones and tablets run some flavor of UNIX, the cameras of the IP video market leader all run Linux, and so do increasing numbers of all types of consumer and industrial embedded devices. But now, we are told, someone has come to roll back the tide -- with Windows cameras?

The arguments regarding the perceived quality or usability of a Microsoft embedded development environment are specious. Embedded Linux gives you a far more mature, standard toolchain from which you can build and crosscompile applications from nearly any host environment (even Windows), as well as the venerable POSIX systems API -- all without any vendor lock-in. If performance is not of concern, you can use your Linux C compiler to build yourself an interpreter for a higher level language with big-system niceties and overhead like garbage-collection.

Apart from the development environment, the claims regarding ease-of-integration with a Windows network or VMS are equally implausible. A network camera is--trivially--a network device, and that sets an upperbound on the tightness of the coupling between it and its clients. A Linux system (and in turn a Linux camera) can be made to authenticate using Active Directory, communicate with a Windows webservice or Microsoft SQL databases using OData, or nearly any other method of network interoperatability.

At its heart, a "Windows" IP camera seems a rather cynical ploy to sell a dubious design decision to uneducated end users based on little more than the comfort of a familiar name.

Cortland, thanks for the detailed response. While I am skeptical about Windows, well, anything, I did want to push back on two of your points:

  • Leaving aside which development environment is superior, the claim being made is that many security/surveillance applications are already Windows apps, strongly dependent on Microsoft libraries. To the extent that you want to run something that is Windows only inside an IP camera, the claim is that it is cheaper/easier to do so on a Windows one than porting it to a Linux one.
  • It seems that best argument for Windows integration is that it is 'easier', not that it is impossible to do otherwise. Are you literally saying that it's just as easy to integrate any Linux based IP camera as it would be a Windows embedded one? You may be able to make a Linux camera authenticate with Active Directory but is it really as easy and readily available as it would be with Windows Embedded?

Thoughts?

As others have already touched on, simply running Windows on a camera does not inherently allow you to run or even migrate an existing Windows application to the camera. Libraries used for the x86 application may not exist for ARM, and .NET code written without embedded development in mind is unlikely to perform well on a camera due to both the different features available on each platform and the wildly disparate performance characteristics of a camera and a conventional server. Any existing application will require some effort to port from traditional Windows to embedded Windows, and even then that ability is compelling only if you have a legacy application with a large amount of .NET code that is already fast and lightweight enough to run on an embedded device (highly unlikely), or if you have a development staff who can only develop for Windows. For new embedded development, cross-platform POSIX-targetted C (or C++) code continues to offer the most versatility, giving you code that can be compiled and run on far more cameras, mobile devices and traditional servers (including Windows).

I do agree that a Windows camera may appeal to software companies with limited or shallow development resources, but the trade-offs it brings with respect to application performance and reliability, vendor lock-in, and code portability should leave it with an untenably narrow audience.

@courtland The intention is not to put Photoshop, Office, Solid works or other types of "applications" that are highly dependent on an 0x86 processor. Time and time again, we have been told by VMS partners that the reason they can't port their stuff over to Linux is because they make strong use of .net or c# which is not very portable outside the MS Ecosystem.

Yes, mono exists to run .net on Linux and C# can be ported over to C++ and a POSIX style architecture. But that is still work that needs to be done and everyone guards their software resources preciously. What software team *doesn't* have, "limited or shallow development resources" now?!

If you’ve started down the Linux path, it makes little sense to switch back to a MS environment, unless there are specific services you want from the MS Stack. For the vast majority of analytics and VMS partners however, that *started* with C# and .net, it makes it a more natural port for their core services. This simply is fact and we're already making strong progress with vendors now who couldn't easily work on camera before due to architecture limitations.

ISD's assertions about Linux cameras are all true:

  • IP cameras are not usually hardened for security flaws.
  • Holes are found and patched all the time, yet Linux distributions used in IP cameras rarely get patched.
  • Many cameras are based on reference code by a few chip manufactures, so if you find a flaw in one camera, you likely have access to everyone using that same chip.

I don't see how any of those are going to be fixed by a switch to windows.

  • Windows is no more hardened for security flaws than any Linux distro. Indeed, Linux tends to default to more secure settings than windows.
  • How will a switch to Windows suddenly mean cameras are going to be patched more often? They aren't seriously suggesting enabling auto-update and having the cameras reboot randomly every Patch Tuesday are they?
  • The last assertion is the most laughable. If you find a security flaw in a linux distro, you now have access to all distros using the same unsecure module, which is likely a subset of the whole. Windows exploits are likely to be far more universal.

@James:

Good points.

Overall, I question that logic of marketing the OS inside of a camera (or any other embedded device).

Comparing desktop security, exploits, patchability, etc. to embedded devices running derivatives of the same OS is rather pointless. They share very little in common when it comes down to it. Due to the nature of most embedded devices, you are going to be 100% at the mercy of the maker in terms of getting updated code, since the firmware is generally delivered as a bundled package.

Though there may be some exceptions, I'm not aware of anything that can't be done in a Linux stack as it relates to network services (AD, et al), so I do not see a big benefit there. As others have pointed out, software that was built to run on Windows Desktop/Intel isn't just going to drop-in here anyway.

Personally, when looking at Microsoft's struggles in the embedded devices game, and all of their pivots, I would see using a Windows stack on a common device as a risk (from the perspective of a consumer). I do not feel that Microsoft has strong commitment in this area, which coupled to a startup company makes for a product with a high orphan potential (IMO).

OS superiority marketing often leads to all kinds of geek holy wars and I'm not sure there is ever any direct benefit to it. Other than Microsoft themselves, I've never had any large or small organization express more than a passing interest in what OS was running inside of a device (speaking here both from physical security and IT security product lines).

"Microsoft has failed to find any meaningful foothold with any of its embedded operating systems." Maybe it's not meaningful, but almost every Point of Sale system I see in resturants, bars and movies theaters run on Windows Embedded, and our Geitebruck VMS vendors uses Windows Embedded for all their units.

.... oh, and as to Genius or Crazy, well, hard to say. I think with the added cost it makes it a niche and special application use that could be very useful when needed. However, being ARM CPU specific may not be a big problem for a programmer, but it limits my options of what I might possibly like to use it for as a non-programmer.

"Maybe it's not meaningful, but almost every Point of Sale system I see in resturants,"

I agree that Windows has good traction in areas where one of its key strengths (UI) is relevant.

When I used the embedded example here, I am thinking about devices that don't generally have a user interface/keyboard/mouse present.

One of the items to consider here is the performance of the camera when running Windows vs when running Linux.

There tends to be more overhead required to run a Windows system...even the embedded version...vs Linux. Overhead is a large component that limits the performance. (see Intel's white paper titled..."Integrated Network Acceleration Features")

It would be informative to hear from any camera manufacturers about the performance metrics they can share with us.

However, I can imagine that sort of info could be considered proprietary and we will have to wait until John's crew gets its hands on one to do some testing ;-)

Mike, the 'rubber will meet the road' when ISD starts announcing who their analytic / VMS partners are. That's what really counts - How many and how strong will their partners be? Plus how well it run on their cameras?

ISD earlier said their overhead is about equal to Linux based IP cameras and that they have plenty of room for applications (1GB RAM and dual core processor).

Ultimately, we will see when applications are launched (or not) on their cameras.

Would there be any technical benefit to using Windows-based surveillance cameras in a Microsoft DAS like the one in nyc?

The judge's explanation are a head scratcher. Why are they emphasizing affordability and image quality? There are no claims even from ISD about this camera being low cost or delivering drastically different image quality than other 2012-2013 cameras.

"The fact that it could run Windows"

"Now the camera is like one of the other devices on their network and having Windows allows communication between those devices."

It's statements like these that make it clear many journalists do not understand the finer points about the products they cover. I would not be surprised if one of them asked where you connect the mouse to the camera to set it up.

Other people described it better above, but the desktop version of Windows and the embedded version of Windows have very little in common.

Reading these comments from the judges is truly depressing and makes me deeply discount the value of their publications.

Kudos to ISD though for exploiting a weakness in the standard industry publication.

In fairness, this camera does have a USB interface (obviously for a keyboard and mouse) ;)

Not only kudos to ISD but kudos to the Microsoft mafia who masterfully worked the system!

Many DVRs ran Windows 98 for years, and I guessed that was for cost reasons and also because Win98 would tolerate things like memory access errors (from software development programs that were insufficiently "mature"). I encountered plenty of Win98 DVR systems that ran until their hard drives failed, with the customer satisfied with the DVR performance while they lasted.

Industry practice has for the most part matured considerably, as have software development tools, especially for Windows applications.

Since 2008 Netflix has used Microsoft Silverlight, part of .NET, to delivery video securely (i.e. with Digital Rights Management), and I know of big-brand copiers that used embedded Windows NT for user interaction and copier management. So although desktop user experience with Windows® and Microsoft Office® has a checkered history to say the least, there are strengths in the MS “stack” as Microsoft has taken to characterizing its offerings.

Having said that, Netflix is dropping Silverlight for HTML5 and Microsoft may not release future versions.

Given the prevalence of browser-based video applications, and the advances being made in HTML5 video—including for secure video delivery—I think we can expect security video products to increase in usability, security and interoperability. This is where commercial video products are going as well, as The Netflix tech blog stated last week.

So ISD’s move to Windows Embedded 7 and large-capacity on-camera storage could be a very smart move, especially if they design and code their products well and make it easy for developers to utilize their products on desktop and mobile devices, the same path that Microsoft is walking down.

I have not talked to any folks from ISD yet, but I suspect that there is some smart thinking going on there. What I’ve seen in promotional verbiage and company statements—when translated back down into plain English—makes a lot of sense and hints at a solid awareness of the many trends that favor the direction they have taken.

Time will tell but I suspect that the news will be more good than bad.

Too many people on here lack computing knowledge and think that this camera is running Windows XP or before. Crazy!

Do you also think this camera is going to be surfing porn sites and collect spyware on its own?

Do you think the camera will forget to uncheck the box thats states "Free ASK Toolbar"?

Jeremiah,

I am pretty sure NOBODY who's commented thinks any of those things.

I'm pretty sure they do. What I am getting at is that the majority of security flaws, that people relate/associate Windows to, are 99% human made. This camera is not going to have an operator who will be subjecting it to spyware and various other workarounds.

Reading through the comments...I can sense about a quarter of the commenters associate Windows with Security threats from the Windows XP era and before.

"I can sense about a quarter of the commenters associate Windows with Security threats from the Windows XP era and before."

That's ridiculous! Every version of Windows has security problems, hence "Patch Tuesdays".

Above comments notwithstanding (i.e. I won't argue the %) but I can definitively state that the vast numbers of folks that we spoke to at the ISC West show as well as the many people we've spoken to since, assume "windows xp, or windows 7" as the Operating System (OS).

Embedded Operating Systems are not very sexy, nor does the general public really understand the difference between the full blown desktop OS that they are familiar with compared to an embedded one. That is not their fault and is even more understandable now that the lines between these major OS families are getting blurred as the hardware in our hands becomes indistinguishable from what is on our desks.

Windows Compact Embedded 7 is a very different animal from standard Windows 7, but retains many of the core features and functionality for the IT enterprise environments that we targeted for this release.

This is the same version of windows that is often used in critical life safety devices. WEC7 has been certified to be used where problems could result in the death of a patient. To be clear, ISD has not certified this camera to be used in this manner, but it's all the same Operating System.

An embedded OS is far more modular; allowing the developer to elliminate parts of the OS that are not required for core functionality. This means a vastly reduced threat surface and one that is much easier to test against, not to mention lighter and easier to port to a smaller processor and memory pool.

It is also critically important to note that the general attack target surface has shifted radically. Web plugins, user behaviour and malicous websites are now the way most people are attacked.

According to Steve Gibson, an unbiased (and historically very negative about Microsoft and Internet Explorer) states that,

"... day before yesterday, 39 different problems in Java could be exploited with no user intervention, making them critical. So no user intervention is gone because of this change that Oracle has finally made to Java. So this is really, really big. In fact, Kaspersky looked at the statistics and said that Java was the vehicle for 50 percent of all cyber attacks last year in which hackers broke into computers by exploiting software bugs. And that 50 percent was followed by Adobe Reader, which was involved in 28 percent of these incidents. And then Kaspersky says, to give us some more perspective, Microsoft Windows and IE were involved in about 3 percent. So that really shows you how this terrain has shifted." http://www.grc.com/sn/sn-400.txt

A paltry 3% of problems now are shown to be as a result of Microsoft technologies. Microsoft have taken many black eyes over the years, but must be given the credit for migrating 1.25 billion people (!) to an operating system that can patch itself via the "Patch Tuesday" mechanism. Yes, they could have been more proactive from the very beginning, but they have done an admirable job of eradicating and eliminating exploits in their own code. 500 Million Windows 7 licenses have been sold since 2009. That is a huge responsibility that I know they take very seriously.

The IT enterprise community agrees with us and their support for this device has been astonishing.

Wow!!!! What you just said is ridiculous!!! Patch Tuesday started with Windows 98. Other major companies have followed suit every Tuesday. Heck my mac has more updates than my windows 7 and 8 machines now.. Most patching is not due to to security error product. It is done to stay on ahead of malicious people. Most patches are for dip shit users who click on anything that moves. Time to get our heads out of the late 90's to mid 2000's. It is also time to stop thinking that these windows cameras are running this type of human operated software also. Give the damn camera a chance. Too many damned Monday Morning QB's in the damn house. If you don't want to spec a windows camera...then don't. Don't bitch about something you have no clue about.

Ian,

Will it come with the full Windows 7 Embedded stack? (Application Compatibility Template I believe it is called), will it be a limited subset, or is it configurable? How locked down will it be? Will integrators/users (with the appropriate know-how) be allowed to install their own applications?

damn! does Jeremiah have stock in ISD?

Nah, Microsloth...

On my Macbook, OSX has applied 8 updates this month, most of which were nonessential, some of which were Java, or third party software.

Windows running in Parallels is currently applying update #39 right now.

I'm not down on Windows security, but let's at least be realistic here. Windows updates a lot. I don't even think that's a bad thing, but it's truth.

I am not sure security and/or patching is what we should be focusing on anyways. I don't think it is an issue on either side of the fence.

The only obvious benefit I see is easing the creation of edge-based solutions for Windows-only VMS manufacturers. While that is nice for those vendors, its success will depend on the quality of the cameras other characteristics. Will IDS stay on the cutting edge of low-light and WDR performance? I doubt it.

It could have some interesting applications outside of traditional VMS though. Could you install a Skype client on it? Maybe some interesting remote powershell scripts? All this is predicated on IDS not locking the thing down in a way that prevents tinkering.

"damn! does Jeremiah have stock in ISD?"

I have no stock in ISD or have never worked for them. In fact, the company is totaly new to me. I'm just frustrated with people who associate products wrongly. In this case...many of the comments are embaraasingly wrong and off base.

Reading the comments, on this discussion, is like reading the comments on Mashable or TechCrunch whenever an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy article comes out. You have Fan Boys spewing innacurate information. With information coming out like this, it was not fair to ISD. In fact, ISD should probably get a new discusion accurately portraying the operating system like Ian did above. The problem with this discussion is that a person only reads a few comments and instead of going to page 2 to read more comments, and getting to Ian's response,...they are reading another article.

All of us commenters probably need to step back, once in a while, and think what our comments could do to an innocent companies bottom line before we post with innacurate information about a product. Many people come on this Blog forum to get honest product information.

Jeremiah, our original article (did you read it?) stands as is. If you want another discussion on ISD, feel free to start one. Btw, your criticism of other's competence does not help make the discussion better. If you are right, explain why and save the personal put downs.

John,

I am not talking about the article. I am talking about the discusion. As far as me having to resort to put downs...that is just me when I see bully tactis on others. I cannot stand bully tactics and will give my opionion when I feel it is neccesary.

We have to resort to these tactics on here when it comes to the "IPVM Comment Stooges" who do nothing but knock people down for opionions that they do not agree with. Some of these stooges work for IPVM and others must be personal friends. The stooges are an on-going joke in security circles when it comes to coffee shops and bars. If your not part of the IPVM Stooge clan...then you are nothing on here....Right stooge clan? I'm posative the majority of your readers can name the Stooges on 1 hand.

"The stooges are an on-going joke in security circles when it comes to coffee shops and bars." I am not sure what this means...

That said, people have differences of opinions. Regrettably, you are the only one resorting to personal attacks. If you have any factual or technical observations feel free to share.

Here is a fact... You talk about Sexism at ISC West,,,How many woman does IPVM employ? How many women write articles for IPVM? Pretty easy to find out doing a LinkedIn Search and a Google search.

You know how many times a majority of us have been attacked on here by your Stooges?

Feel free to criticize us but if your best counter argument is that a 5 person company is sexist because it employs no women, I'd recommend you try harder.

I will. Thank you John.

I am so turned on right now!

I am sad I didn't make that Stoogerific comment, Luis...

Can someone turn up the AC, my frigging ears are on fire.

Mr. Blonde is not amused...

This thread is making the case for my most recent feature request.

Any further comments on this thread that are not technical or factual will be immediately removed. Let's keep to the core topic here. Feel free to start another discussion on other topics here.

Umm... to quote Anchorman, "That escalated quickly!" :)

@Ethan, it's hard to compare OSx updates to Windows updates. Apple has a tiny fraction of the installed base and certainly not the same pentetration into the enterprise community. This has allowed them to be extremely opaque in what they are patching. Fewer updates, doesn't necessarily translate into fewer fixed (they can be batched) nor does it equate to fewer exploits.

Microsoft are forced to be very transparent about what exactly is being patched and the enterprise community usually studies each patch before they deploy it system wide. There have been bugs and interactions with other software that has caused problems, so everyone is justifiably paranoid about updating. More transparency also means more granularity, which means more individual 'updates', whereas Apple just bundles them all up into one update and labels it, "bug fixes and enhancements".

Neither strategy is wrong. They are just driven by very different markets/masters.

While I personally think that Security of the security camera devices will be / is a big issue, it is a red herring argument. Suffice to say that just because we're running Windows does not bring along the "blue screen of death" or make us more vulnerable. Embedded Compact 7 is not the same as Windows 7. It is far more secure because most things have been stripped out and the remaining items have been tested to death.

@James Your comments / questions were for the most part spot on. Will ISD keep on the fore-front of low-light and WDR imagery? Absolutely. My DNA is creating damn good cameras and we'll keep it this way. Will we have as many housings as Axis? Absolutely not.

Like quality, keeping up with technology and image enhancements is more of a corporate decision than a technology problem. The same is true of customer service. ISD is and will always be a customer driven organization. Companies aren't bad at customer service because they're not able, they're bad because fundamentally they don't care.

That said.... Where I see a huge opportunity is creating an open platform that people can develop towards.

Using Visual Studio and the .Net compact framework, we have created a very familiar development environment in which to code. WEC7 does not have the full Win 7 Embedded Stack (embedded compact versus embedded) but it has all the IT centric and Web / Cloud centric items that make the windows stack compelling and somewhat turnkey to develop on.

We will open up the platform to allow side loading of applications on to the camera without restriction, with the provisions that the IT group / Security group can control / disable access with a group policy. So the answer is yes, integrators / VAR's / Solution providers will be able to develop their own applications that can be loaded onto the camera. There's a ton of stuff you can do with a dedicated Dual Core ARM A9 Cortex with 1GB of RAM, plus a GPGPU that supports Open CL(!).

Like most things in life, a lot of the exciting bits happen if you give people the proper tools and sandbox and then just get the hell out of the way.

This is a bold and waaaay over used statement, but I really do envision a healthy and profit driven app community springing up around this type of platform and device.

Vertical markets can be explored with scripts and apps that tailor the video capture device in order to integrate it with SAP, Azure / cloud based offerings, native access to Oracle Databases, or other commonly used IT infrastructures.

Sentence of the Day Nominee:

"Companies aren't bad at customer service because they're not able, they're bad because fundamentally they don't care."

Ian,

I wasn't suggesting that you wouldn't WANT to stay cutting edge with your low-light and WDR performance, that it will be very hard for you to do so. Recently, Sony has lagged in low-light performance, before that Axis was way behind in WDR performance. Both of these are huge companies with massive R&D budgets. While your intentions to lead in both areas is great, I would be suprised to see you pull it off (though I sincerely hope you prove me wrong).

That said, I am excited by this:

"There's a ton of stuff you can do with a dedicated Dual Core ARM A9 Cortex with 1GB of RAM, plus a GPGPU that supports Open CL(!)."

That is a lot of horsepower!

Mostly though, I'm happy to see a move towards a more open camera platforms. My preference would have been that somebody do it on Linux, but that is based mostly on where my coding experience lies.

@James Yeah, It is a monster and I can't wait to see what people do with it. I too have some ideas of course and there are some accelerators on the camera that we have yet to disclose that make it incredibly compelling for analytics.

I also hope we continue surprising and beating everyone's expectations.

Despite massive R&D budgets, the biggest limiting factor for most companies is as simple as getting decisions made. "We sold it yesterday, therefore it will sell tomorrow" is pretty much the mantra of the boardroom. Hopefully we have a lot of years of kicking ass before we start to crumple under our own weight.

I'm also not attempting to chase after the lowest common denominator. That allows us to build value into our solutions which does not mandate that we use the cheapest sensor on the planet which sucks.

Open systems rock. Don't be surprised if you have options for what environment you want to develop on. As this thread shows, one size / solution does not fit all.

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