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Linux powers Zigbee-based home monitor

Mar 19, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

A British startup called has introduced a remotely managed security system that runs off a Linux-driven Hub. The AlertMe Hub tracks various sensors via Zigbee, and then reports back to's servers, which in turn relay alarm events to the customer via SMS or email.

Costing $800 plus $23.50 a month, the system alerts remote customers to events such as an intruder or a fire, says the company. The battery-powered, ZigBee-enabled devices in the AlertMe network include door and window sensors and alarm detectors that listen for existing smoke or carbon monoxide alarms. There's also a ZigBee router/wireless range extender, keyfobs for turning alarms on and off, and a programmable “Button,” currently being used as a door alarm.

The Linux-based AlertMe Hub is equipped with an ARM9-based Cirrus EP9302, which is typically clocked at 200MHz. The Hub also includes 64MB RAM and 64MB flash, plus a small boot ROM. There's also an Ethernet port, LEDs, and audio in and out, says the company. It provides both battery backup in case of power failure and a GPRS radio in case of broadband failure. The box is also equipped with a ZigBee radio, using an Ember EM260 co-processor running Ember's ZigBee EmberZNet PRO stack.

“Embedded Linux is simply the right choice for a smart platform within the home,” said Chief Architect, Laura James. “All our engineers have been happy with our choice, and I'm sure that would not have been the case with any alternative embedded platform.”

A full Device Profile of the AlertMe system, plus an interview with James on the Linux implementation, is available here.

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