Software bolsters access to video cameras, sensor networks

Augusta software simplifies access to non-IP data on edge devices

iAugusta Systems has expanded the features of its EdgeFrontier middleware, which is used to connect with an array of non-IP, real-time data devices such as surveillance cameras, to more efficeintly collect and correlate the data it collects for use by other corporate applications, such as sensor monitoring or asset tracking.

Among the changes in EdgeFrontier 2.0 are two new applications to the product, EdgeFrontier Manager, running on a server, and EdgeFrontier Interface, running on a laptop. Interface lets a user directly configure and control Manager, which administers data collection, processing and correlation with endpoint devices, such as sensor or RFID nets, actuators, motion detectors and video cameras.

"Before, EdgeFrontier was sent up as an enterprise service bus with limited middleware features," says Patrick Esposito, CEO for Augusta Systems, in Morgantown, W.Va. Customers had to use the company's SensorBridge suite of prebuilt software components for integrating data from various sensors nets or other edge devices. "Now we can integrate this device data directly: you don't need SensorBridge, and we eliminate software coding."

Also part of Version 2.0 are more robust data processing and event correlation, as well as new data-distribution features, such as using messaging or writing data directly to native database formats.

Augusta has added some new management features, including being able to load-balance data processing across multiple EdgeFrontier servers at a single site.

"With 2.9, we have a complete middleware product that can handle an array of edge devices, so you don't need separate middleware packages for each device type," Esposito says. "And if already have those separate middleware packages, you can now use EdgeFrontier to integrate these together."

In addition to EdgeFrontier and SensorBridge, which works with existing Microsoft development tools, Augusta also offers SensorPort, introduced in March 2007, an appliance that handles the processing of data drawn from these various data systems.

The entire product suite is designed to create a single framework that, in effect, homogenizing the data drawn from different types of data collectors, which may use different and proprietary protocols. That data can then be correlated and used by various enterprise applications. For example, EdgeFrontier makes it possible to see the relationship between alarms from adjacent motion detector as evidence of actual movement between points, rather than being triggered by a sheet of paper blown by a wind.

Using the new EF Interface application, an administrator can access EF Manager, and use its features to acquire data or receive files from end devices or gateways, or to read data from their databases.

EF Manager now makes it much simpler to screen the incoming data, detect anomalies and create event processing triggers to correlate them. Linked to a network of environmental sensors, for example, EF Manager only receives and processes the subset of data that require an automated or a human response.

"You don't want to be streaming security video of nothing over your net," Espisito syas, citing another example. "You want to say [via our software] 'when a motion detector gives an alarm, then activate the video cameras in that area, and the data storage buffers, and then send this to the video server."

Data collected by the August products can be sent out to applications and databases as XML or in various database formats.

Among the rivals in this market are Tridium, now a Honeywell division, which has a Java platform for data correlation historically focused on building automation but now expanding into others; and Blue Vector, which offers a RFID middleware appliance and offers services to integrate data from other systems.

EdgeFrontier 2.0 is available for prices starting at US$7,799 for one instance of EF Manager, with as many as 10 administrative seats for EF Interface. The price also includes a year's subscription to Augusta's software support and update program.

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