In our last issue, Tom Brennan, an Advisory Board member, wrote an article about getting vision into the real world and what it would take to do so. I recently ran across an item about 3D scanning beginning to be rolled out at airports nationwide at TSA security checkpoints. The machines reportedly create such a clear picture of a bag’s contents that computers can automatically detect explosives, including liquids. The idea, according to the TSA, is to allow passengers to leave laptops and 3-1-1 liquids inside carry-on baggage in the future. For those of us not in the TSA Pre-Check program, this is some really good news, and another example of how vision/imaging technologies are moving from the factory floor into our everyday lives. The TSA also hopes that using this technology will result in fewer bag checks at security checkpoints—again, very good news as we all start traveling more frequently again.
Some Big News
The news broke in March that Zebra Technologies would be acquiring Matrox Imaging from Matrox. The news seemed to be a surprise to many, and opinions varied, often going from one extreme to another. When I arrived at Vision Systems Design, Teledyne's purchase of FLIR was still fresh in everyone's minds and certainly, at that point, the most recent "big news" that I learned about. One trip to VISION in Stuttgart, Germany revealed how consolidation has impacted the industry with many well-known brands sharing the same booth space.
Consolidation occurs in any industry. For some, it has a good connotation; for others, it does not. It did make me think about January’s A3 Business Forum, and the report that automation continues to grow. Automation—now there's a term that can go either way in terms of connotation depending on who you talk to. But, it is automation that drives what systems integrators are building machine vision systems for. So, there are pluses and minuses to everything.
I spoke with Sam Lopez, of Matrox Imaging, about the acquisition, and he made a point that stood out to me: that there were many things Matrox Imaging was looking to develop but didn't have the resources to start and that Zebra Technologies will now make those resources available. I’ve seen that situation in other industries I’ve covered, and end users usually end up benefitting. M&A activity can shake things up in any industry. As we emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic (albeit slowly), we’re likely to see more M&A activity—especially as the machine vision market continues to grow.
Please join me in welcoming Linda Wilson to the staff here at Vision Systems Design as our Senior Editor. Linda has more than 25 years of experience in B2B publishing and has written for numerous publications, including Modern Healthcare, InformationWeek, Computerworld, Health Data Management, and many others. Before joining Vision Systems Design, she was the senior editor at Medical Laboratory Observer, a sister publication to Vision Systems Design.