Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Minnow or Shark?

Jørgen Andersen, CEO of camera-maker JAI, believes his company is destined to, “be one of the big fish,” of the machine vision world. (The quote comes from a profile piece in the Oct/Nov ’08 edition of “Imaging and machine vision Europe,” titled, “A true world player,”)

Now I’ve been predicting consolidation in the crowded field of machine vision camera manufacturers for some time, (go search my archives if you doubt me,) but is JAI destined to come out on top or might they be swallowed by a larger rival – perhaps Basler or AVT, to mention a couple of possibilities?

With annual revenues of almost $50M, JAI is clearly no minnow in the machine vision pond, but Andersen himself admits that in recent years they have stumbled. In retrospect, was the decision to shun Firewire® for CameraLink the right one for the business? Yes, CameraLink is technically superior, but as I’ve said so many times, people who buy machine vision hardware look at fitness for purpose, not how sexy the technology is.

And now that GigE is gaining traction, is the whole debate moot? Will JAI’s
C3 Camera Suite turn their business around, allowing them to gobble up the smaller pond life?

Personally, I think JAI bring quality products to the marketplace, and I’d like to see them thrive, but it’s a tough world out there.

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