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Qualcomm Targets Smart Cameras with Fast Semiconductor Chip

Wireless technology giant seeks to leverage processor expertise in security, safety markets.

Spencer Chin

March 24, 2022

3 Min Read
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Qualcomm's CS7230 processor chip aims at VSaaS (Video Surveillance as a Service) applications involving surveillance.Image courtesy of Qualcomm

Qualcomm is best known for its semiconductors used in mobile applications, but the company has in recent years also moved into surveillance applications for security and industry. Now, the company has introduced a processor chip, the QCS7230, as part of a strategy to penetrate the IoTaaS (IoT as a Service) market for smart cameras.

The Qualcomm QCS7230 chip expands the Qualcomm Vision Intelligence Platform portfolio, driving the digital transformation of enterprise security and public safety segments, designed to help safeguard environments with smart devices at the connected intelligent edge. The solution delivers AI inferencing at the edge, improving security and operation effectiveness with real-time edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and analytics, to enable safer and more protected spaces, cities, and enterprises.

Smart cameras have risen in popularity during the pandemic as operators explored new surveillance strategies. “With plug-and-play cameras, one can get a live feed from anywhere, and can reconfigure the camera’s settings as needed, without sending a technician to the site,” said Siddhartha Franco, director, business development, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., during a conference call last week.

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This capability is a far cry from traditional VMS (video management software) for surveillance, which is installed one time-on-site and is limited mostly to manual monitoring with limited fixed analytics. Traditional VMS offers limited remote management capability and requires IT overhead for maintenance, upgrades, and repairs.

VSaaS

Smart cameras lend themselves readily to hosted cloud-based video surveillance, also referred to as VSaaS (Video Surveillance as a Service).  VSaaS provides dynamic upgradeable services that scale with AI and machine learning models. Much of the data can be located on the edge, noted Franco.

“You want to process the data locally or at the edge, not in the cloud,” said Franco. “This reduces processing costs. As the edge becomes more important, so do camera capabilities on the edge.”

According to Franco, the processor will enable users to accelerate Edge AI services with the building blocks needed to support businesses and entities looking to deploy smart cameras and intelligent IoT devices to support video collaboration, access control, enterprise, and home security, 360-degree viewing cameras, dash cameras, wearable cameras and more.

The QCS7230 is positioned at the high end of Qualcomm’s camera processor line and is aimed at applications requiring data-intensive processing, such as public safety, collaboration, fleet management, and contactless retail. Qualcomm is offering the chip for OEMs who are designing their own video surveillance systems, or as part of a systems integrator solution.

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The chip has a dedicated computer vision hardware block and Qualcomm’s Hexagon processor, handling 4K 120 UHD (ultra-high-definition) cameras. The chip supports up to 8K video encode/decode and 64-megapixel capture, and can handle seven concurrent cameras running multi-AI models. The chip supports 5G and Wi-Fi 6 networks.

For systems integrators, Qualcomm is also offering an AI box that accepts data streams from existing cameras and processes the data. This will help support customers that plan to transition from traditional Video Management Software (VMS) models to end-to-end service-based capabilities with IoTaaS.

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor with Design News, covering the electronics beat.

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