July 29, 2008

Arcturus and Encore Team Up to Deliver Industrial VoIP Solutions

Arcturus Networks Inc. and Encore Software Ltd. today announced a strategic partnership that will help propel the adoption of embedded VoIP (Voice over IP) solutions in three key market segments: health care, building automation and industrial control. The effort has been focused around an existing Freescale ColdFire(R) microcontroller platform and has produced an expanded portfolio of software including Encore voice processing subsystem and Arcturus Middleware.

Arcturus and Encore have worked together since 2006 to deliver bundled solutions for VoIP. The two companies have leveraged this relationship, along with mutual partner Freescale Semiconductor to identify and execute on a joint technology road-map to deliver VoIP solutions for industrial and commercial applications. In 2007, the collaboration resulted in a flexible hardware and software package that gives manufacturers the ability to roll-out feature rich VoIP products without the prohibitive NRE costs or multi-vendor licensing agreements that make other solutions difficult to work with.

The collaboration has further expanded to integrate additional key middleware and voice processing subsystem components that meet the specific needs of applications in health care, building systems and industrial control. Products in these segments include: in-home health care monitoring, patient monitoring/call systems, integrated alarm panels, fire control, access systems, mass notification and over-head paging devices, as well as embedded voice applications for industrial control.

The solution will be made available on the extensible uC53281 (M53281-MOD) VoIP module hardware platform (M53281KIT), co-developed by Arcturus and Freescale and using the powerful MCF53281 VoIP processor. The hardware module, combined with the flexible business model, allows developers to take advantage of the time-to-market savings a proven off-the-shelf component can provide, while still retaining the freedom to leverage the design. The module is easily integrated into end-products with minimal external circuitry and is suitable for operation in harsh environments.

"This system solution makes it easy to add voice functionality to industrial applications, without having to be a telephony expert, and without complex licensing and NRE requirements," said Jeff Bock, global product marketing manager for Freescale's Microcontroller Solutions Group. "In many applications, the ColdFire(R) processor will be able to both control the application and handle the voice functionality."

"We hope that Encore's commitment toward developing quality voice processing subsystems would go a long way in delivering robust VoIP solutions for the verticals such as healthcare monitoring, building systems and industrial control. We are pleased to partner with Arcturus and Freescale in this endeavour," said Vasuki M.P., Vice President, Encore Software.

"We recognize three key opportunities for two-way voice communications: healthcare applications, especially the independent living requirements of our aging population, the needs of next generation alarm and building systems, as well as industrial equipment, where the addition of voice can benefit service or increase process efficiency. Together we have spent eight months talking with manufacturers to identify their needs and build a solution that will help them deliver these realities," said Michael Durrant, Vice President Engineering, Arcturus.

About the Solution

The solution includes Arcturus Management and Voice middleware as well as integrated voice processing subsystem components from Encore. Included are the following enhancements: iLBC, user tunable AEC (acoustic echo cancellation), wide-band audio (G.722), voice support for compatibility with two-way radios and other non-symmetric applications as well as enhanced robust signaling support. Zeroconf Networking using Multicast DNS with support for the announcement and discovery of network services. In addition, the ability to store and trigger predefined audio messages, broadcast audio support using multicast RTP with definable groups, alert tones, priority queuing; intercom functions with privacy and announced modes as well as hot-line functions. The package includes a complete uClinux distribution including NANOx GUI tool kit for the creation of LCD based interfaces. Complete run-time configurable demonstrations are included.

Arcturus Management Middleware

Arcturus Management Middleware is a centralized device management system for embedded products. It provides a simple SNMP compatible set/get API that uses industry standard MIBs (management objects) along with a configuration engine to monitor and control system interfaces, processes and services. The middleware views the system as whole and has the ability to manage configuration changes in a controlled way, maintaining the quality of experience for the user and robustness of the product. The middleware includes a complete set of tools that can be modified or used as is. The tools include: HTTPs based web user interface, interactive voice response, a command line client, an SSL enabled remote provisioning system, as well as firmware management with failover and recovery framework.

Voice and Media Middleware

The voice and media middleware includes a complete telephony application with SIP signaling and RTP media transport. The VoIP system utilizes a signaling abstraction layer to ensure call flow compatibility with a broad variety of infrastructure equipment, service providers and open source PBX implementations. The abstraction layer is configurable at runtime, enabling manufacturers to deploy systems on various networks with different equipment, without the burden of managing multiple firmware loads. The solution supports most standard telephony features and includes a configurable digitmap, and a simple API with reference examples for integration into applications.

About Encore Voice Processing Subsystems

Encore has been developing optimized voice processing solutions for eight years. The solution set comprises of all the ITU-T speech codecs, 3GPP codecs, echo cancellers, and telephony algorithms. In addition to the individual components, Encore has also developed integrated subsystems for VoIP and FoIP products. The voice processing software modules have been ported to a large number of standard DSP and RISC CPUs. Some of the features of Encore's modules that help a system integrator include multi-channel capability, C callability, relocatable data, built-in scratch memory management, interruptability and reentrancy.

About the Freescale MCF53281

Featuring an integrated Enhanced Multiply Accumulate (eMAC) control unit, the MCF53281 MPU provides a cost-effective solution for processing packet-based audio, controlling embedded applications and managing network connections. This high level of on-chip integration helps reduce system cost and complexity, resulting in a simplified bill of materials. The MCF53281 includes an integrated SVGA LCD controller for a graphics based user interface. It also supports a wide range of connectivity including 10/100 Ethernet, CAN, USBs, UARTs, SPI and I2C. In addition, the MCF53281 includes the middleware from Arcturus Networks and the voice processing software from Encore to develop a feature-rich product that does not require an NRE. This easy to use, cost-effective solution helps to simplify development and allows designers to enable more applications with VoIP capability.


The development kit is currently available from Arcturus, Freescale or Freescale distributors for $795.

Demonstrations and training using the enhanced solution were available at the Freescale Technology forum June 16 - 19, 2008, in Orlando, Florida.

About Encore

Encore Software Ltd. is a product development company, based in Bangalore, India. Encore's software products include licensable VoIP software modules, DSP based vocoders and soft modems. Apart from licensing the components, Encore has the expertise to deliver a complete product design solution for OEMs targeting the VoIP product market. The company has been shipping the various software modules to customers in Japan, China, US, Israel, and Europe for more than ten years. For more details on Encore's offerings, please visit www.ncoretech.com

About Arcturus

Arcturus Networks Inc. is a leader in providing embedded solutions for communication and industrial applications. Recognized as a pioneer of uClinux(TM), Arcturus has contributed to the innovation thousands of products globally and helped to establish embedded Linux solutions as a defacto global standard. Since 2002, Arcturus has focused on creating enabling technologies for product developers including a line of product-ready hardware modules, corresponding open source OS packages and middleware solutions. Arcturus middleware simplifies product development by providing complete sub-systems for device management and media. Arcturus middleware is award winning and certified interoperable by leading infrastructure vendors. For more information visit www.arcturusnetworks.com

 Media Contacts:  Arcturus Networks Inc. David Steele Email Contact +1 (416) 621-0125 x233  

SOURCE: Arcturus Networks Inc.