Security has become the largest CMOS image sensor market segment after mobile and computing devices. From 2021 to 2027, according to Yole Intelligence’s latest report, Imaging for Security 2022, revenue is expected to increase from $2.1 billion to $3.6 billion at a 9% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). 2020 and 2021 were exceptional years for the security CIS segment, and IP security cameras still provide a major growth opportunity.
Security imaging is sustained by the growing need for security everywhere: in consumer, commercial, and infrastructure monitoring applications, driven by the increasing adoption of home Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, the demand for video analytics in retail and monitored buildings, the need for more touchless access control solutions, the development of public surveillance in cities and for critical infrastructure. The rise of video analytics, edge computing, and the development of AI vision processors enable a wider range of products.
Florian Domengie, Senior Analyst in the Imaging team at Yole Intelligence, had the opportunity to discuss with Devang Patel, Marketing Director of IoT/Emerging Segment at OMNIVISION, about the recent activities of the company and the current trends in the field of security imaging.
Florian Domengie (FD): Please introduce yourself and OMNIVISION to our readers.
Devang Patel (DP): I am OMNIVISION’s Marketing Director and have a long history in the semiconductor industry in various roles. My missions were dedicated to product management/planning, strategic marketing, and partnerships.
OMNIVISION is a global fabless semiconductor organization that develops advanced digital imaging, analog, and touch & display solutions for multiple applications and industries, including mobile phones; security and surveillance; automotive; computing; medical; and emerging applications. Its award-winning innovative technologies enable a smoother human/machine interface in many of today’s commercial devices.
FD: What new products has OMNIVISION released recently? Which applications are you targeting with these new products?
DP: From the security side, our company continues to be at the leading edge in providing discreet, energy-efficient power management solutions as well as the best interface protection products on the market. Indeed, thanks to the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), surveillance cameras are no longer limited to enterprise applications such as airports, train stations, banks, and office buildings. Instead, they have become an integral part of retail establishments, smart cities, and smart homes for the purpose of gathering and analyzing Big Data.
Here are a few examples of products developed by our experts:
OMNIVISION’s OS03B10 CMOS image sensor brings high-quality digital images and high-definition (HD) video to security surveillance, IP, and HD analog cameras in a 3-megapixel (MP) 1/2.7-inch optical format (OF). The OS03B10 image sensor features a 2.5 micron (µm) pixel based on OMNIVISION’s OmniPixel®3-HS technology. The high-performance, cost-effective solution uses high-sensitivity frontside illumination (FSI) to detect objects better than the human eye for true-to-life color reproduction in bright and dark conditions.
OMNIVISION’s OS02H10 is a 2.9µm, 1080p image sensor that provides a high-value option for adding the premium near-infrared (NIR) and ultra-low light performance of its Nyxel® and PureCel®Plus technologies to mainstream surveillance cameras. This sensor also offers multiple high dynamic range (HDR) options for the best quality 1080p still and video captures of fast-moving objects at 60 frames per second (fps). The OS02H10 provides a high-value option for adding premium near-infrared (NIR), ultra-low light, and HDR performance to high-volume, mainstream security systems with AI functionality. It also offers an ultra-low power mode that consumes 97.7% less power than the normal mode to support long battery life.
OMNIVISION’s OS04C10 is a 2.0µm pixel, 4 MP resolution image sensor for both IoT and home security cameras. When paired with the designer’s selected platform, the OS04C10 can enable a system’s ultra-low power mode for battery-powered cameras with AI functionality. Additionally, it provides a high 2688 x 1520 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio while adding the premium NIR and ultra-low light, SNR1 performance of its Nyxel® and PureCel®Plus technologies. This sensor also offers multiple HDR options for the highest quality 4MP still and video captures of fast-moving objects at 60fps. The OS04C10 is built on the PureCel®Plus pixel architecture to achieve a superior low-noise design, providing an SNR1 that is 150% better than OMNIVISION’s prior-generation OV4689 4MP mainstream security sensor.
FD: There has been very significant growth in CMOS imaging products for the security market these last two years. How do you explain this evolution? What benefits do these bring to this market specifically?
DP: There are many factors. We see that the home security market is growing, including DIY battery-powered types of cameras. You can basically install them by yourself. The number of companies getting into this specific product line is growing.
The second factor is infrastructure. Lots of cities worldwide are adding artificial intelligence to their surveillance. For example, looking at intersections, train stations, and airports, we have seen that the city surveillance infrastructure needs growth supported by government initiatives.
The third factor is AI, which is the big thing that brings higher-resolution cameras into this market.
At Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group, we have noticed increasing opportunities in all the security imaging market segments: consumer, commercial, and infrastructure.
FD: Which types of applications are becoming popular, and what will sustain growth in the security market in the years to come?
DP: I think commercial, and infrastructure are steadier markets, and we expect them to continue to grow. If you look at the CAGR, infrastructure has slowed down a little during the pandemic. On the consumer side, the need for “smart home” has increased. We have seen a CAGR of about 20% for “smart home”, while the traditional consumer commercial security CAGR is about 11%. As a result, we expect both security imaging market segments, commercial and infrastructure, will continue to grow in the coming years.
FD: Have you seen an increasing penetration of 3D sensing into surveillance and security applications?
DP: So far, it has not been huge. We have seen 3D sensing mentioned for some authentication use cases, but it’s mainly applied to indoor access.
FD: As a leading supplier of CMOS image sensors for security imaging, how do you see the competitive landscape and market demand develop? Is there any geographic differentiation between Europe, America, and Asia?
DP: On the overall landscape, we see that the 1080p resolution market is very competitive and is essentially replacing 720p, which used to be the low end. If you look at the product portfolio from OMNIVISION, as well as our competitors, you will see that more and more 1080p cost-sensitive products are being brought into the market.
In terms of geographical differentiation, 1080p seems to be the norm across the globe. Some applications like doorbells and smart home cameras are looking for higher resolution. Some applications like doorbells and smart home cameras are focusing on higher resolution so that they can deploy AI. To better enable AI, Some applications at the very high end would even deploy 4K2K resolutions. When it comes to city or street surveillance, high resolution is needed for counting the number of people or vehicles or for zooming in for detail. However, that market is small compared to 1080p.
While the race for smaller pixels and increased resolution is still ongoing for mobile, it seems less important for security applications where image quality is preferred.
FD: What is the trend in sensor resolution for security applications? What are the most critical performance parameters?
DP: As we mentioned previously, the resolution trend is not as severe in security compared to the smartphone market. The three key buckets we see in security are firstly the 1080p, which is roughly 2MP. Then the next bucket is 4 or 5MP, and at the high end is the 4K2K. From a volume point of view, the 1080p is by far the lion’s share. The 4 and 5MP would be the next, and then 4K2K are very high-end in terms of critical performance.
The key parameter in security is still low light sensitivity: in low light, how good is your camera? So typically, a larger pixel is used in the market. So, in the security market today, the smallest pixel we see is 1.45μm. Slowly, the smaller pixels are being deployed in security, but the majority are still large pixels.
Lower power consumption is critical for numerous applications, particularly battery-powered consumer security cameras.
FD: How can you address this with your products?
DP: To enable longer battery power, we have a unique solution called always-on architecture. Essentially, we provide a total system approach that involves a sensor with our own video processor that enables very low-power system solutions. We are taking our low-power architecture to a new level with a product we will launch later this year.
FD: There is a trend to bring more video analytics and Artificial Intelligence into security camera products. What is OMNIVISION’s view on this?
DP: Video analytics and AI are hot topics in the industry. We expect video analytics and AI technology, which used to be only at the high end a few years ago, to come down to mid-range or entry-level.
One of the key requirements on the sensor side is providing higher resolution so that you can do video analytics and AI functions simultaneously. To address this need, we have a portfolio of 4 and 5MP image sensors, all the way up to 4K2K, for our customers.
FD: Is there any other message you would like to share with our readers and the industry?
DP: In summary, we see 1080p as the dominant resolution for the foreseeable future. A higher resolution is needed for video analytics and AI applications. Always-on is one of the key features demanded for low-power battery cameras.
Low-light pixel performance is still one of the key criteria for security cameras. At OMNIVISION, we have a product line that addresses low light performance that goes from 1080p all the way to 4K2K. We also provide low-power video processors enabling a long-lasting battery solution.