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ISJ Exclusive: NexOS – An operating system for the future


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British electro-optical threat detection specialist, Silent Sentinel, has launched its digital platform, NexOS, which will revolutionise the operability, customisability and upgradability of all its systems.

This new Operating System comprises a suite of applications which can be customised by the end-user, similar to an app store on a smartphone. This means that Silent Sentinel platforms will now be capable of fulfilling an endlessly wide array of functions, executable by the user in real time.

NexOS represents the next step in Silent Sentinel’s status as a provider of easily integratable next-gen technology as standard – and is a significant step-change in capability that will present Silent Sentinel’s offering as a more affordable solution to those of Tier 1 Primes, without sacrificing capability.


“NexOS makes Silent Sentinel’s electro-optical systems software-defined rather than hardware-defined, meaning that it can be updated and debugged more easily and new features can be added more quickly and on a rolling basis, similar to system updates you might receive on an app,” said James Longcroft, Sales Director at Silent Sentinel.

“The underlying engine will allow video processes to be installed based on where and how they are deployed. This means that Silent Sentinel’s platforms can be used more flexibly and in an even broader range of environments, instead of having to be calibrated for a single function.”

NexOS provides users with the ability to customise sensor controls in real time. The system supports all Silent Sentinel systems including additional payloads ranging from Thermal Optics, Acoustic Hailers, Laser Range Finders and GPS. Through NexOS, these capabilities are pulled into a centrally managed surveillance system, offering an ecosystem that is continually developed with new features, functionalities and capabilities over time, allowing for a greater depth of integration and extensibility, by continually adding new features and potential integration paths.

NexOS runs on top of a Linux Operating system allowing easy updates and regression of updates, preventing them from becoming destructive. “In essence, NexOS offers a more sustainable approach for our end-users, saving them enormous amounts of time and yielding more precise results,” commented Longcroft.

NexOS is the brainchild of Silent Sentinel’s Technical Director, Matt Short, who identified the requirement for increased modularity and ease of integration, two things which have consistently guided Silent Sentinel’s approach. As data-driven software has become increasingly vital to any defence and security strategy, so Silent Sentinel have moved to meet that demand and develop a bleeding-edge system.

“The application offers complete replacement of the internal electronics and firmware architecture native to all Silent Sentinel camera systems,” remarked Short.

“NexOS learns from the limitations of the existing hardware, from the missteps which the industry has made in the past and makes use of our extensive experience in this market to generate an Operating System that will deliver on the four primary areas: Flexibility, sustainability, performance and reliability. These four tenets are what guide everything we do and they are what makes NexOS unique.”

What does NexOS mean for customers?

“This game-changing Operating System doesn’t simply offer a world of possibilities in the use of our electro-optical systems, but also in the way that they can be integrated into wider threat detection arrays,” said Longcroft.

“NexOS allows users to create their own calibrations and requirements and plug them into the Operating System, meaning that those plug-ins can be customised for use in tandem with other systems such as radar networks.”

New key features of the NexOS system include an upgraded GYRO – with higher currents in the MC system and increased torque allows for faster ‘twitch’ movements. Integrated GYRO sensors alongside the increased processing power and ‘twitch’ movements allows for smoother GYRO, all while providing better quality imagery by capturing the video from the sensor in the highest quality digital format, thus removing the impact of noise or signal loss.

The rapidity of the system’s performance allows for accurate and real time responses for the user, including Command Times, which are typically executed within 20ms, or Query Times which take about 4ms per query. This means that customers have the ability to update the systems in real time through a user friendly interface.

This user friendly approach is a key element in the development and functionality of NexOS, with an in-built systems services manager which monitors all active services and restarts them in case of any complications arising.

Further back-up services are available in the event of any further issues, whereupon they are automatically deployed and the user is alerted. These extensive customisation services, one of NexOS main features, can be run directly on Payload or Main Board hardware allowing the direct deployment of custom Video Processing of Integration services.

Software-defined, hardware agnostic

“One of the things that makes NexOS so remarkable is that it is hardware-agnostic, meaning that the NexOS suite of applications can be run on the vast majority of off-the-shelf hardware,” said Short.

“This allows us to follow market developments, increasing the performance of the system by maximising the capabilities of the underlying hardware by increasing processing power as and when it is necessary.”

The robustness and durability of NexOS is central to the system’s design, allowing for a more modern and more sustainable approach to the management, upgradability and ease of deployment of Silent Sentinel surveillance systems.

James Longcroft is fully aware of what the NexOS means for the future of the market: “NexOS has been in our development pipeline for a long time and the team at Silent Sentinel have worked continuously to deliver this revolutionary new Operating System.

“The hard work has paid off and we can now proudly unveil NexOS as a step-change in the way that our systems are calibrated, updated and deployed.”

Short concluded: “Nothing like this exists in the market. Thanks to NexOS, our customers have access to a system that is durable and sustainable, allowing for easy usage and that will provide them with the means to ensure that their Silent Sentinel systems are performing to the absolute peak of their ability, whatever the mission.”

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This article was originally published in the November edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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