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Why is our OS derived from Android?

Many app developers and integrators ask us why we have chosen Android as the basis for our open IoT platform for security cameras. Let us explain why... 
Author: Christoph Burger-Scheidlin
Jun 26, 2019 12:02:27 PM
3 min read


Creating an open platform for IoT security cameras

A platform provides a solid foundation upon which to innovate and build new applications. Modern platforms also handle all the "boring" bits, such as application management and updating procedures.

In recent years, there has been a true explosion of IoT platforms. Yet, with more than 450 platforms available, none is truly well suited for the safety and security sector. Security and Safety Things has taken up the challenge of providing just such an IoT platform.

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Selecting the right operating system for our platform

We value reliability and it was clear from the very beginning that the reliability that we desire for our platform couldn't be achieved by building it from scratch. The choice of a Linux-based solution is straightforward since a lot of existing cameras are based on it. However, integrating edge devices into our IoT platform brings new requirements that need to be incorporated into the operating system design.

In this article, we want to share our key considerations:

1. Interoperable apps: Can developers create applications that run on a multitude of devices without having to tailor them to each device.

2. Reliable updates: Is there a well-tested update mechanism for apps and the base system.

3. Security concept: There cannot be safety without security. Thus, a well-evaluated tried and tested security concept is essential.

4. APIs: Are required APIs such as camera support and machine learning acceleration available and well supported across devices.

The challenge is to find the right one out of the myriad of GNU/Linux distributions.

Security and safety things (1)Photo by Farzad Nazifi on Unsplash

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

A lot of Linux distributions can be built into a platform for IoT devices. We decided to use the Android Open Source Project as the basis for three reasons:

1. Android is battle-tested in the mobile industry

Google's Android provides a selection of well-integrated components in an industry that values reliability and security. It’s sandboxing concept isolates apps from each other and protects the system from malicious apps.

2. Android provides best-in-class interoperability

One of the great challenges when building up an IoT ecosystem like ours is interoperability. After all, we want developers to build apps that run perfectly on every device. The mobile phone market pushes towards better cameras and AI, and this is why Android provides interoperable APIs for these purposes. Thus, Android perfectly fits our ecosystem requirements. Joined by a strong hardware abstraction layer, a significant amount of compatibility testing and widespread chipset support, Android is the perfect foundation for interoperable apps.

3. Known to developers

Android offers an ecosystem for app developers to develop apps. The workflow and tooling to develop apps have reached a high level of maturity that is very important for this new ecosystem to thrive. It lowers their effort to develop apps that will be portable between multiple different cameras of different camera vendors.

We hope that this answers your question: Why is our OS derived from Android? If you have any further questions or your keen to receive updates regarding developer topics alike then contact us and subscribe to our newsletter below. 

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