How Audio Can Add a “Second Sense” to Security Cameras

IP technology is radically expanding the home security business. In a report titled “360 View: Residential Security and Smart Home,” market research firm Parks Associates found that nearly 20 percent of U.S. broadband households plan to acquire a networked security camera in the next 12 months. That suggests annual sales of roughly 16.7 million IP-enabled security cameras. Clearly, consumers appreciate what IP brings to home security.

However, a camera can monitor only a small part of a home. Adding microphones, audio digital signal processing and an artificial intelligence system allows a camera to monitor everything around it, not just what’s in front of its lens.

By processing and analyzing an audio signal from a microphone, a IP camera can identify specific security-related events, such as gunshots, glass breaking, forced entries and screams. It can detect these events even if they occur in other rooms, beyond the view of the camera. It can also learn the “normal” sounds of a home, and sent out alerts if any abnormal sounds occur. This added functionality provides the homeowner or a security monitoring service with a much more complete idea of what’s going on than a simple video image can.

Adding more microphones to create an array allows the DSP to detect the direction from which a sound is coming, a process called beamforming. This capability makes it easier to differentiate between events that pose a threat, such as a break-in, and those that do not, such as construction work on a home across the street.

One of the many applications of DSP Concepts’ Audio Weaver® software is optimizing audio DSP chips for security functions quickly, with no need for coding skills. With Audio Weaver®, any audio engineer can use standard hardware to achieve all the functions described above—and greatly expand the utility of the increasingly popular IP security camera.