Proxim, Hutton Ship Solar-Powered Wireless Camera

By Eric Griffith

August 27, 2003

This high-end surveillance tool combines Proxim's long-range Wi-Fi solution with solar panels, backup batteries, directional antennas, and digital video to keep tabs on remote locations you can't wire.

Got facilities you need to keep an eye on even though they're several miles from your headquarters and, worse, you can't get any electricity (let alone Ethernet) to an exterior location where you'd like to mount a camera?

Hutton Communications of Dallas, Texas, might have the answer, and they call it Solacam.

The Solacam (that's right, no "r") uses a mixture of technologies to deliver a remote digital video signal back to your network. Chief among them is use of the Proxim Tsunami MP.11, an 802.11b-based, point-to-multipoint backhaul solution with a range up to about 12 miles. The Solacam itself is an IP video camera mounted on a freestanding pole in a remote location, powered by a battery that is charged by a solar panel that's also mounted on the pole. A Yagi directional antenna points the low-res video back to home base (assuming it uses the MP.11 subscriber station... the pole could also house the MP.11 base station). The MP.11 and battery are housed in an all-weather enclosure.

Proxim was so enamored with what Hutton is doing with the Solacam, it joined in to help announce this product.

Ken Haase, the director of product marketing at Proxim, calls the Solacam more a kit than a product, since end users can order it from Hutton in various configurations -- say, for example, with a different antenna or sans the solar panel if electricity is already available. The product can come without a power supply at all, or with just an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for backup when the power goes out.

"[This is] not just a product announcement, it's a solutions announcement," says Haase. "It shows what can be done when you truly disconnect."

The solar panels will range in size, depending on the customer location -- they get larger the farther you are from the equator to adjust for differences in sun light levels on a daily basis.

The Solacam will be sold through Hutton's value-added resellers (VARs). The unit with solar power package (including MP.11 subscriber unit, weather-proof camera, solar panel, battery system, lightning protection, directional antenna, and RF cable) has a price of $2999. Without the solar panel, but with UPS for battery backup, is $2099. The most basic package, with no power supply at all, is $1649. To get the MP.11 Base Station unit on any of the above is an extra $999.

Haase says he's spent a lot of time in the last few months getting into the physical security arena and he feels that video is just the beginning for this market. Once other devices, from smoke detectors on up, are made IP aware, they can all have wireless backhaul put on them. "Think biochemical sensors in a military base -- a chemical attack could be detected remotely and warn people instantly. Things are going toward network awareness on many things. Video is the first step."



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