Subscriber Discussion

Innovative Video Companies?

Which Video companies out there are really doing new and innovative things? I am not talking about edge recording, cloud servers, or fish eye cameras. Who is doing something that has the possibility of changing the industry?

Good topic. One rule for respondents - You are not allowed to recommend your own company. If you think your company should be mentioned here, email me first ( I don't want this discussion to get out of hand.

A few names to throw:

I am sure, or at least hope, there's more. This is just off the top of my head.

Instead of offering a list of current innovations that I see exciting, because frankly there aren't many imho recently, and most of what I mention is already available today in the CE industry, just not on security cameras. Here's what I'd like to see:

1) Cameras that can run Apps. The tablet industry has shown that it can run apps on even the most basic CPU platforms at not a lot of expense. How cool would it be if manufacturers opened up their OS so that 3rd party developers could create apps that run on the camera that are accessible via the camera's web GUI. This opens up the camera to a lot of functionality that is currently limited by whatever each individual manufacturer can work on. Think of all the things you can do with your iPad or Droid today. I'd like to see IP cameras capable of similar things.

2) True CE camcorder level autofocus. I've seen good digital still camera autofocus and STELLAR digital still camera autofocus. Obviously the best-in-breed today comes from the DSLR cameras, but even the most basic $90 digital still camera seems to have better color rendition, low light sensitivity and focus capability than even the most expensive security cameras. It's long overdue to merge what is being done in CE with what should be done in security surveillance. Sanyo started down this path with their HD line in 2009, but then Panasonic bought Sanyo and that line disappeared. It's shocking to me that companies like Sony and Panasonic because of their CE pedigrees don't already do what I'm suggesting. It's a lot better than it was two years ago, but should be far better still.

CE technology is being deployed step by step, slowly. The security market needs to become a lot larger and more consolidated to get the attention of the best designers, get an economy of scale, and thus get access to the best chips etc. You can get a $300 DSLR with an APC-C size sensor and great AF today, but security cameras are in some respects still in the stone age with 1/3" sensors and mediocre optics, while costing more? It's all about volume. (And the security market has a few special requirements like temp range). Sony and Panasonic won't deploy their best teams and latest technology on smaller sized markets, the ROI isn't there as you prioritize. Not shocking at all. Rather than Sony or Panasonic making a move, someone like Axis may get there first as they have less internal competition issues. The Sanyo example shows how it can go. The Sanyo security camera group shipped 1/20 of what they did in consumer. Which manager would allow this waste of resources to go on?

It can be done, look for instance at GoPro, that delivers good quality cameras to the HD sportscam market which is similarly sized as security. One difference is less fragmentation, so the pie is larger for each player, rasing the stakes - and the technology that they are able to buy/develop/fund. The most advanced camera chips and sensors volume are not available unless you buy millions of them. As long as the security market is so fragmented/small, security camera companies will to a large extent be refused to get access that technology, although there is at least one independent SoC company that is big in those $99 HD consumer cameras that is making inroads into security, so step by step it is happening.

This is a very insightful yet depressing comment :)

Hi, can you say which "independent SoC company"?


This must be the most asked, most pointless question in our industry right now.

1)We are in a transition time between analog to IP - if that isn't changing the industry enough already, what is?

2)Without adopted standards/regulations and unified application platforms, there is little incentive for smaller/outside groups to get creative and come up with innovations; and these are typically the groups that drive industry-changing opportunities.

3)We are at a time when the most gains in margin/profit of companies can be found in becoming more efficient with these big IP based software and hardware platforms that were rushed out/obtained through aquisition, etc.

Jason, what specific apps do you think would be worthwhile on surveillance cameras? We discussed this a few months ago but it wasn't clear which ones would be big. I am not negative on it, I am just curious.

Sean, deep breath now! Is it really that pointless to ask?

Analog to IP has changed the industry but we are already more than half we there, especially in the US. It's worthwhile to look at what the next wave is.

I actually think conforming to standards would more likely hurt innovation. Axis et al broke the standard (i.e. NTSC/PAL) and that's what helped drive a new type of camera.

I agree with the last point - we are at the time where most margin/profit is found from being more efficient. However, I think that makes the question more important - what big innovations could drive a burst of change and profits in the market.

I am bumping this in hopes of someone else suggesting companies.

I'm thinking of rebranding GoPro's Hero cam for security ;) someone needs to make surveillance cameras cool -- just watch the video from GoPro and you are looking for your keys or going online to go buy one. Who can make that kind of impact on this industry? Pelco, ha no way, Panasonic/Sony - seems like an easy transition but probably not. Mobotix, no too German and they are busy ruining their company with the T24. Avigilon, lots of young people and developers from gaming - biggest potential of any of the major players but will they take big risks now that they are public? I had high hopes on Scallop Imaging bringing some breakthrough technology but they might lack funding and direction. Will this be the year of breakthrough technology at ISC West? I think we are overdue for someone to shake things up.

The comsumer typed DV, similar to Mini Camcorder, was aimed for Video Recording for almost 5 years. It is now being replacing by Smartphones since they are playing the generic features for Full-HD unlimited time recording.

For the conflict of the product positioning, the DV has to find the way to new market. Of course, they are now targeting to the Sports Cam so does the IP-Cam. The Sports cam could redefine as a Car DVR as well. Those markets are already available in the market. To introduce the Sports cam with security features. We might find now JVC and Cannon of releasing the IP Camcoder or IP DV at the end of the last year. It has broadcasting features via WiFi and 3.5G Broadband Transmission. However, the Streaming Resolution and IP configuration are the main troubles for the consumer market. They are recently being solved by Plug-n-Play concept via IOTC techniques.

It will be influencing a lot of the Home-DIY IP-Cam/Baby Monitor Market. You might find the philips and Logitech are both introducing the new category of the Security product into the market for this 2013 CE show. Therefore, it will become a new chance of the consumer market. Of course, the zero configuration and mobility features will be integrated with Smartphone's APP for the new user experience. Sooner or later, it will share the video security market for Homes and Sohos.