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Omega brings life to microprocessors

Omega brings life to microprocessors

Omega Technology claims it has hatched a revolutionary new technology to bring intelligence to embedded microprocessors.

Better known for hardware distribution, general manager, Barry Donaghey, said its subsidiary R&D team had spent six years developing the breakthrough platform, called Freestyle Technology.

At its most basic, the technology gives users the ability to control and instruct any embedded dedicated microprocessor device remotely, simultaneously and in real-time.

"Microprocessors are in everything - from your car, to washing machines," Donaghey said. "They are currently a dumb device, with fixed and locked functionality. Our technology takes this chip and gives it life."

Omega national operations manager, Basil Vella, said manufacturers that produced chips with the Freestyle operating system installed would be able to update and reprogram their products after they had gone to market.

"You can constantly change the functionality and render the device new again - you wouldn't need to replace the whole product," he said. "Anything that carries a database could be updated. For example, a navigation system in a PDA could be altered remotely from a control centre. It also allows a person to operate a device which you would normally have had to plug into a computer."

Vella said Freestyle is a combination of a specially designed operating system from Omega, with customised hardware devices. It could be adopted to suit a variety of communications mediums, depending on the geographic location, he claimed.

"You could communicate by radio, or the Freestyle hardware could be permanently hooked into the broadband connection," Vella said.

While still in its infancy, Donaghey said Omega had developed two products based on the technology. The first was a Least Cost Routing (LCR) solution giving telephone users the ability to locate the cheapest call rate provider in real-time. The hardware device, called SmartDial, attaches to the users' fixed handset and phone line and determines the least expensive call rate, based on data from each of the operators.

Donaghey said Omega would manage the information sent to the LCR box. Customers could then subscribe to the service on a monthly basis. The company had also created a single billing system for the service, he said.

The second application of Freestyle is Travelbug, a new device which provides verbal and visual updates to drivers on road conditions. Using GPS, the device would locate the vehicle's position and provide information on road works and hazards, travel times, speed cameras.

Donaghey said Travelbug was ready for market testing, while SmartDial was at the demonstration stage.

Omega is now in discussions with the US military for a significant deployment of the Freestyle Technology.

If successful, Donaghey claimed the deal would give the company access to a $30 million capital injection, allowing it to list on the Australian stock exchange. "The military applications of this are huge," he said. "For example, land mines may be turned on or off or exploded at will."

Vella played down any potential security concerns with the technology, claiming Freestyle incorporated a high level of data encryption.

"Some devices would have restricted access to the instruction set," he said. "The owner of the application would have significant control to maintain security." Despite the new business developments, Donaghey insisted Omega's distribution arm would not be scaled down.

"The R&D is coming to a point where it can offer significant revenue streams," he said. "This will allow us to change our distribution plans.

"The distribution is important and always will be. It will remain a totally separate division to R&D."


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