Opinion: Sony's plan for smart image sensors could be a game changer: Page 2 of 3

June 29, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Opinion: Sony's plan for smart image sensors could be a game changer
Sony's plan to mount an AI software subscription service on top of its image sensors looks like it could be a game changer; both literally and metaphorically.

4) PlayStation-style scalability: As well as opening up an additional customer base the same image sensors could have multiple applications and repeat business as the same image sensor is redeployed, whether that it is in the smartphone, in the doorcam, in security survellience, the automobile and on the PC and in the gaming console. In the gaming console the application of AI processing within the image sensor could literally be a game changer.

Sony's vision is similar to its own PlayStation business model. There Sony can drop the price on PlayStations and make its money on the multiple gaming software titles it sells to owners. In image sensors Sony could sell the hardware at minimal margin knowing that the big bucks are to be made by licensing software that, hopefully, it will be able to provide to customers.

In addition, with most equipment now being in contact with the Internet, in many cases it could be possible to provide updates, upgrades and new sales over the air.

There is a fifth angle to this. The industry has been thinking about machine vision and the application of AI to image processing for many years. One of the main thrusts was that conventional image sensors were designed to make pretty pictures for human eyes and were not optimized for machine vision applications. Such applications might value dynamic range, energy consumption, hyperspectrality or other parameters above resolution.

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