Motorola and Sony Electronics recently announced the development of two Sony IPELA cameras that can be integrated into a MotoMesh network via a new wireless card, making deployments of surveillance cameras within the network a quicker, easier and cheaper endeavor.

From the outside, the SNC-RX550N/W-MT and SNC-RX550N/B-MT look like other Sony IPELA cameras, but new software lets the cameras become part of a MotoMesh network with the insertion of a Motorola modem card into the camera's PCMCIA slot, said Yoshi Hirano, senior marketing manager for Sony.

“It looks the same and the basic functions are the same [as a previous IPELA camera], but the compatibility with Motorola is new,” he said. “That is the beauty of this solution — just the camera is needed to workin the mesh.”

Indeed, IPELA cameras have been deployed in numerous wireless networks — not just Motorola networks, but also those from vendors such as Tropos and Firetide — but they have required a hardware connection from each camera to a wireless router, Hirano said.

The new solution results in a smaller footprint, uses less power and can reduce total deployment costs by as much as 50% compared with the hardware-based solutions, a Motorola spokeswoman said.

“Previously, if you wanted to mesh-enable a camera, you needed to attach an … enhanced wireless router, and the cost of those is a few thousand dollars,” she said. “Now, inserting a mesh PC card costs just a few hundred dollars.”

Unveiled at the ISC West show in Las Vegas, the mesh-enabled cameras will be sold by Motorola as its mesh camera video networking system designed for security and video surveillance. The cameras are designed for outdoor environments, can be deployed for fixed or mobile applications and include Sony's Real Shot Manager software, which lets users remotely control capabilities such as a 26-times zoom function, a 360° “endless” pan and tilt from 0° to 90°.

In addition, MotoMesh customers also can make the cameras act as a router/repeater in the network by inserting a 2.4 GHz or 4.9 GHz card into the PCMCIA slot of the device, the Motorola spokeswoman said.

Municipalities implementing Motorola's mesh camera video networking system in beta programs include Buffalo, Minn.; and Chatham County, Ga.

“By pairing Motorola's mesh technology with Sony cameras, we now have a cost-effective way of adding live video surveillance to our current mesh network, while extending wireless coverage,” said Mitch Weinzetl, chief of police in Buffalo, Minn., in a prepared statement. “Since every new camera adds an additional router to the network, our officers now have a higher level of wireless connectivity.”

An IPELA camera with a mesh-enabled PC card will cost about $5800, the spokeswoman said. Requests from customers with existing IPELA cameras wanting to mesh-enable the devices with the PCMCIA card will be considered on a case-by-case basis, she added.