Sony Semiconductor Solutions And Microsoft Join Hands To Create Smart Camera Solutions For Enterprise Customers

  • The two companies will embed Microsoft Azure AI capabilities on Sony’s intelligent vision sensor IMX500
  • Sony will also create a smart camera managed app powered by Azure IoT and Cognitive Services

Sony Semiconductor Solutions and Microsoft have teamed up to create solutions that will make AI-powered smart cameras and video analytics easier to access and deploy for their mutual customers. As a part of the partnership, the two companies will embed Microsoft Azure AI capabilities on Sony’s intelligent vision sensor IMX500. It extracts useful information out of images in smart cameras and other devices.

Sony will also create a smart camera managed app powered by Azure IoT and Cognitive Services. It said that this will complement the IMX500 and expand the range and capability of video analytics opportunities for enterprise customers. They added that the combination of these two solutions will bring together Sony’s cutting-edge imaging and sensing technologies (including the functionality of high-speed edge AI processing) with Microsoft’s cloud expertise and AI platform. This will help to bring new video analytics opportunities for customers and partners across a variety of industries.

Terushi Shimizu, representative director and president, Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation said, “By linking Sony’s innovative imaging and sensing technology with Microsoft’s excellent cloud AI services, we will deliver a powerful and convenient platform to the smart camera market. Through this platform, we hope to support the creativity of our partners and contribute to overcoming challenges in various industries.”

Embed their own AI models

Video analytics has emerged as a way for enterprise customers across industries to find out new revenue opportunities, streamline operations, and solve challenges. As an example, retailers can use smart cameras to detect when to refill products on a shelf or to better understand the optimal number of available open checkout counters according to the queue length.

A manufacturer can also use a smart camera to identify hazards on its manufacturing floor in real-time before injuries occur. Traditionally, such applications rely on gathering data distributed among many smart cameras across different sites like stores, warehouses, and distribution centres. They struggle to optimise the allocation of computing resources, resulting in cost or power consumption increase.

To solve these issues, Sony and Microsoft will partner to simplify access to computer vision solutions by embedding Azure AI technology from Microsoft into Sony’s intelligent vision sensor IMX500. This will allow partners to embed their own AI models. The companies said that this will result in smarter, more advanced cameras for use in enterprise scenarios and more efficient allocation of resources between the edge and the cloud to drive cost and power consumption efficiencies.

Smart camera original equipment manufacturers

Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president and commercial chief marketing officer at Microsoft said, “Video analytics and smart cameras can drive better business insights and outcomes across a wide range of scenarios for businesses. Through this partnership, we’re combining Microsoft’s expertise in providing trusted, enterprise-grade AI and analytics solutions with Sony’s established leadership in the imaging sensors market to help uncover new opportunities for our mutual customers and partners.”

Sony’s smart camera managed app powered by Azure is targeted toward independent software vendors (ISVs) specializing in computer vision and video analytics solutions. It is also aimed at smart camera original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who want to add value to their hardware offerings. It will serve as the foundation on which ISVs and OEMs can train AI models to create their own customer- and industry-specific video analytics and computer vision solutions to meet enterprise customer demands.

They said that the app will simplify key workflows and take reasonable security measures designed to protect data privacy and security. This will allow ISVs to spend less time on routine, low-value integration, and provisioning work and more time on creating unique solutions.

Microsoft’s AI and IoT Insider Labs program

Microsoft and Sony will also work together to facilitate hands-on co-innovation with partners and enterprise customers in domains like computer vision and video analytics as part of Microsoft’s AI and IoT Insider Labs program. They added, “Microsoft’s AI and IoT Insider Labs offer access and facilities to help build, develop, prototype and test customer solutions, working in partnership with Microsoft experts and other solution providers like Sony. The companies will begin working with select customers within these co-innovation centers later this year.”