Thursday, February 9, 2012

My theory on smart cameras from NI

This follows on from my post “New smart cameras from NIso if you haven’t read that, click the link and do so.

Now, answer me this: why would NI introduce a new range of smart cameras with specifications remarkably similar to those of the Iris GT from Matrox? And if you don’t think they’re close perhaps you’d like to highlight one area of difference, because I can’t find it.

Here’s what I think is going on. NI want to be in the smart camera business as a way of pushing their very capable VBAI vision software. Unfortunately neither VBAI nor their range of low cost smart cameras have set the world alight, so how do they maintain a presence while minimizing costs?

They buy cameras from someone else.

This then is an interesting trend: the smart camera hardware becomes something of a commodity item, the differentiation comes from the software the user selects.

I have no problem with this, in fact I suspect it’s a trend we will see more of: vision companies will focus on the software that differentiates their products while one or a few companies will remain in the hardware manufacturing business.

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