Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystem Alliance aligns suppliers to create ecosystem standard for smart camera markets

Consumer electronics manufacturers and brands Foxconn, Nikon, Scenera, Sony Semiconductor Solutions and Wistron announced this week their collaboration formally launching a new ecosystem that will help bring the next generation of smart cameras to market. The five companies come together in alliance with their respective distinguished industry expertise and market leadership to establish a new standard specification for emerging smart camera products and applications.

In the consumer world, the demand for network cameras, Internet of Things (IoT) and personal and home assistance cameras continues to increase. While massive amounts of data are recorded with these types of smart cameras, their systems require more infrastructures to process images for online access of artificial intelligence-based video analytic services.

The NICE Alliance will publish a specification for cameras that can capture scene-based images or video streams containing an abundance of specific information, such as image frames, audio, and metadata. Subsequently, the data captured can be properly scene marked, indexed, made thumbnail-searchable, and securely stored in the cloud, ready for instantaneous analytic solutions.

The NICE Specification defines a new standard way for camera devices to communicate with each other and establish an effective solution, enabling a new class of utility services for consumers and creating new opportunities and business models for emerging applications.

The increase of camera capabilities including higher resolution image capture and real-time notifications poses a significant need for additional bandwidth and storage. In addition, seamless interoperability using these cameras with the new infrastructure at reasonable cost is anticipated by consumers. Proposing a positive solution to the table, NICE defines well-structured layers and links for image capture processing, allowing users to access clips of key highlights from multiple cameras.

NICE is designed for forward compatibility—for both hardware and software—providing the future smart camera market with vast flexibility and adaptability that is valuable for camera manufacturers, cloud service providers, and third-party app developers, allowing all parties to fully integrate vertically and interoperate horizontally.

Enabling enhanced development for mass-compatible devices to services and third-party, NICE aims to revitalize the market of the smart camera by lowering the entry barriers for camera manufacturers as well as service and third-party app developers.

“Scenera is privileged to lead the NICE alliance and partner with these industry power players who recognize our innovations in smart camera design,” said David Lee, CEO of Scenera, a Silicon Valley startup company. “The diverse and unique expertise that all of the founding companies bring to the table are integral in the success of the NICE alliance as it leads the next generation of the smart camera business.”

“Nikon contributes not only to imaging products such as digital cameras, but also to the improvement of photographic culture all over the world by providing of online services for sharing images shot,” said Takami Tsuchida, Sector Manager of Marketing Sector, Imaging Business Unit. “We believe there is great potential to create a new business model with a robust cloud-based network solution based on NICE, specifically for a society that is advancing to become smarter in the future.”

“We are excited to join the NICE Alliance as a promoter and work with this group of leaders in the ecosystem,” said HY Chou, GM of Foxconn Group. “NICE creates a new, innovative model for camera manufacturing and control. One of the key features in the NICE specification is the creation of new abstraction layers, enabling a new way to control image capture. This technology allows mass-produced sensor modules to be used in a variety of application devices.”

“We believe NICE will provide the end-to-end open platform that enables innovative intelligent services by harmonizing multiple smart cameras and cloud resources,” said Satoshi Yoshihara, Senior General Manager, Sensing Solutions Business Division of Sony Semiconductor Solutions. “We envision that everyone can enjoy smarter features more quickly and easily leveraging cutting-edge camera and sensing technologies.”

“With the NICE cloud application program interface (API), we will be able to reduce the complexity of collected data and increase the addressable market for the connected camera ecosystem, such as the smart phone industry. Consumers will benefit from cloud-ready artificial intelligence analytics on their cameras guaranteeing advanced security and data privacy,” said Donald Hwang, CTO of Wistron.

Representatives from all founding promoters are now working closely to develop an infrastructure and establish the guidelines for the NICE Specifications. With operations in the U.S. and Japan, the NICE Alliance will be open for all companies and interest groups in the ecosystem who would like to participate in contributing and adopting the specifications. The Alliance will soon unveil the development of the NICE specifications and additional details on how to become a member.


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