Onboard digital security surveillance (DSS) systems help authorities monitor passenger safety and enable them to quickly act with a well-informed response in the advent of an incident. However, railway DSS systems must overcome a number of performance and environmental challenges. They must be robust enough to handle and analyze multiple streams of video while drawing little power. And they must withstand wide temperature extremes, vibrations, and different atmospheric pressures.


Well-versed in dealing with these challenges, Axiomtek, an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, continues to evolve its tBOX series of fanless embedded systems in lockstep with the latest Intel® processors. An excellent example is the tBOX322-882-FL railway PC featuring the new 5th generation Intel® Core™ i7-5650U and i3-5010U processors.


The tBOX322-882-FL is built from the ground up to handle the vibrations and shock of railway applications such as onboard network video recorder (NVR). The unit is certified with EN50155/EN50121 for rolling stock and complies with EN45545-2 for fire resistance and power interruption to ensure system performance and reliability.


Designed with an IP40-rated, rugged aluminum extrusion and steel case, the tBOX322-882-FL can operate in harsh environments with temperatures ranging from -40C to +70C when equipped with SSD drives (the range is slightly smaller for HDDs). The unit also includes lockable theft deterrents to prevent tampering and preserve evidence (Figure 1). When HDDs are specified, the HDD’s more sensitive structure is protected through a state-of-the-art suspension.



Figure 1. Axiomtek tBOX322-882-FL front. Note drive lock to prevent tampering.


Since video surveillance files can be large, the tBOX322-882-FL supports gigabit LAN technology. This enables the unit to reduce the time needed to upload video to the cloud or a data center from hours to minutes. Axiomtek systems support cloud storage, enabling solutions that store and stream to the cloud whenever a connection is available. Wireless transmission capabilities enable authorities to quickly discover the location of a moving transportation entity, use GPS tracking to precisely pinpoint suspicious activity, and then view real-time video to determine an appropriate response to an event and its circumstances.


The tBOX series supports most operating systems, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux, and WES7. The units offer rich I/O alternatives – including USB 3.0 ports – to provide flexibility and expansion. Three PCIe Mini Card slots and two SIM slots can be used for a variety of applications, including wireless communications (WiFi*, 3G, Bluetooth*) for remote downloads. M12 type LAN, audio, power and USB connectors add to the robustness of the unit (Figure 2). The M12 screwed-in type cable connectors help prevent damage and interruption from rolling stock vibration.



Figure 2. Back of unit features the rest of the I/O, including M12 type LAN, audio, power and USB connectors.


Performance Boost with 5th generation Intel® Core™ i7/i3 Processors

The tBOX322-882-FL offers a choice of 5th generation Intel® Core™ i7 or i3 processors U series with processing speeds of up to 3.2 GHz and capacity for up to 8GB of onboard DDR3L-1600 memory for lightning quick video capture and transfers. Based on Intel’s new 14nm process technology, these processors improve upon the previous generation Intel® Core processor’s success with 35 percent more transistors on a 37 percent smaller die.


The new process technology combined with architectural enhancements enable 5th generation Intel® Core processors to deliver significant performance gains. In particular, for DSS systems the on-chip processor graphics provide a low-power, high-density performance solution for media processing while minimizing power consumption and maximizing performance. Applications can realize up to 24 percent better graphics performance and up to 50 percent faster video conversion (Figure 3) in a smaller thermal envelope – just 15W for both processor and platform controller hub.


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Figure 3. 5th generation Intel® Core™ processors deliver yet another significant advance in Intel® HD Graphics performance.

The latest Intel® HD Graphics deliver additional codec support – including VP8 and HEVC codecs for decode – and 4k support. Intel® HD Graphics 6000 (available on 5th generation Intel® Core i7 processors) includes 48 execution units (EUs) and an additional VDBOX unit (multi-format video codec) for extremely fast media transcode performance (Figure 4). In addition, Intel® Quick Sync Video 2.0 provides hardware-accelerated decode, encode, and transcode support at lower active power.


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Figure 4. The 5th generation Intel® Core processor die map reveals a larger space allotted for the processor graphics than previous generations.

The result of all these advancements is more efficient video processing of simultaneous video streams from edge devices. DSS applications get smoother visual quality, an improved ability to decode and transcode simultaneous video streams, and outstanding HD playback thanks to visual quality and color fidelity enhancements in Intel® Clear Video HD technology and Intel Quick Sync Video. When it comes to video surveillance, this can make an enormous difference in the quality of evidence collected.


One other important feature is Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (Intel® AVX2). For DSS applications that use onboard video analytics to identify specific incidents such as packages left behind, Intel AVX2 can provide faster performance for digital signal and image processing workloads. Such analytics are an important tool in reducing the amount of video that needs be saved and transferred to the cloud.


All Aboard for Advanced Railway DSS

Products like the Axiomtek tBOX322-882-FL s provide advanced, scalable choices for railway DVR and NVR applications. To keep up with these and other DSS solutions, be sure to regularly check the listings in our constantly updated Solutions Directory.


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Axiomtek is an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine