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15 October 2017

Arcturus Launches Industry’s First Dedicated VoIP Microcontroller Solution for Intercoms, Telephony and IP Audio Distribution

Arcturus Networks today announced the availability of a microcontroller (MCU) based solution for the creation of VoIP and distributed IP audio end-points. The solution specifically targets two-way, full duplex voice communication, hands-free intercoms, speakerphones, public address (PA) systems, mass notification and IP speakers.

The solution, developed in collaboration with Freescale Semiconductor and Consilient Technologies, consists of a Freescale Kinetis K60 microcontroller based on ARM Cortex M4 technology combined with an audio subsystem specifically designed for voice communication.

The microcontroller is preloaded with VoIP and Mbarx-M2M (machine-to-machine) middleware which runs on the MCU’s internal flash and SRAM with no need for a co-processor or additional memory components. The solution is available as development kit, a production board, a module or a pre-programmed MCU.

"An MCU-based solution achieves a simpler overall design, better system integration, a lower cost bill-of-materials and reduces boot time," said David Steele, product manager. "By enhancing the VoIP capability with our Mbarx-M2M stack we can voice-enable ‘Internet of Things’ applications including home control and multi-service intercoms, two-way voice security applications and healthcare devices for assisted living."

The voice middleware includes a full SIP/RTP VoIP stack using peer-to-peer or PBX/proxy infrastructure modes with additional firmware supporting multicast IP audio distribution and mass-notification.

Audio encoding supports narrow-band (G.711a, G.711u) and wide-band (G.722) vocoders along with the necessary audio intelligibility and psychoacoustic enhancements to support full-duplex, hands-free intercoms and speakerphones including; Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), noise reduction, Auto-Gain-Control (AGC) and optionally, beam forming and far field microphone pickup.

The system is low-power and ready to place a call in under 6 seconds from a cold start -suitable for remote or solar powered call boxes or other "wake on demand" applications.

The system is operated using a dedicated I/O interface or over-the-wire using the Mbarx-M2M protocol. Dedicated I/O directly support common push-to-call functions, features and status notification, while offering integration options to connect legacy or external equipment.

The Mbarx-M2M protocol supports configuration and operation over a network or serial interface, including a network-to-UART pass-through mode that allows a remote host to address a connected serial device over the network. This flexible mix of peripheral, host and slave options, simplifies system-level integration for IoT applications and highly supervised workflow systems.

"Freescale’s Kinetis K60 32-bit MCU is powerful enough to run two-way real-time voice communications as well as M2M control signaling, providing small-form-factor, highly-integrated VoIP solutions," said Freecale’s Rudan Bettelheim, Business Development manager for Freescale’s MCU business. "Today, voice is becoming an increasingly popular HMI option in traditional building security, public safety, home control, and residential security applications."

Access to an eco-system of Mbarx-M2M tools is provided with the kit, including the Mbarx-System Manager for site-wide maintenance and configuration, and the Mbarx-Virtual Control Panel, a host-side reference implementation designed to help with using and integrating the protocol.

All run-time software is preinstalled on the MCU, there is no costly NRE, complex BSP to install or expensive tools to buy.

Development Kit and Reference ImplementationThe development kit includes the full-featured uCMK60-VoIP System Solutions Board hardware to evaluate the capabilities of the board, module or MCU. The development kit is supported directly by Arcturus and includes:

  • uCMK60- VoIP System Solution Board – hardware
  • AC100 headset with microphone
  • Cables and power supply
  • One year of dedicated support site access
  • Getting started guide (download)
  • Documentation (download)
  • Schematics (download)
  • Mbarx-System Manager (PC eval) – site wide maintenance and monitoring tool (download)
  • Mbarx-Virtual Control Panel (PC) – reference implementation (download)
  • How-to’s, example code and tutorials (download)

Services and engagement packages are available to support design, development, customization, system-level integration, support and training. Related solutions for central operation environments include a server application with responsive HTML5 (fixed / mobile) presentation layer capable of converging voice, video and third-party data with split-screen view options and push notifications.

For more information, please contact Arcturus Networks.

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