Intelligence at the edge

Welcome to the third month in our 12 months of multicore.  This month we highlight the smart camera used in advanced video surveillance and security.  This is not a new application for TI, but it is a very new application for us here in the multicore business.  In fact, a year ago it wasn’t even an application space we were going to focus on.

This is because for most consumer/high volume (i.e. the ones that you focus businesses around) surveillance and security cameras, multicore DSPs have traditionally not been considered in this market for two reasons:

  1. Many of the cameras have very strict power, heat and size restrictions that multicore DSPs could not meet. 
  2. There wasn’t a need for multicore DSPs as single core solutions satisfied all the market’s processing needs.

Both of these statements were true a year ago, or at least we thought they were until our customers educated us.  Turns out, the second statement wasn’t true at all.  Companies all over the world were looking for solutions that would be able to run more analytics so they could “bring intelligence to the edge.”  That’s what we heard over and over: the need for intelligence at the edge - the need for smarter cameras.

It’s a huge, ravenous need.  Companies want cameras that can recognize license plates, count people and vehicles, track objects and monitor behavior patterns.  They want all of these analytics and at the same time!  Oh, and they want them to be able to do this in all sorts of lighting and weather conditions, from odd angles, and even (or especially) when placed up high on a pole that may look fixed, but actually sways in the wind.  Ok, so now we’re talking some serious analytics, requiring some big time processing capabilities.  So there’s definitely a processing need for multicore in surveillance and security cameras.

Reason one was true –until TI introduced their TMS320C665x DSPs earlier this year and brought multicore to the edge by being able to fit within the power, heat and size requirements of advanced smart cameras.  Our TMS320C6657 solution has two TMS320C66x DSP cores that when running at 1Ghz, can deliver 64GMACs/32GFLOPs at 3.5W.  For an even lower power footprint, the TMS320C6654 DSP comes in at under 2W.  You can read more about the multicore devices we have for the surveillance and security market in our product bulletin.

The amazing thing is we didn’t even know how much we had to offer this market until customers contacted us and told us about the need we were filling with these devices!  So this application space has gone from off our radar to being highlighted in our 12 months of multicore.  Makes me wonder what other applications are in need of multicore DSPs.  How about yours?