First, as always, there is no shortage of innovation in the vision/imaging market. To see some of the products that have been introduced, visit our VISION 2022 Product Preview. There were solutions being launched at the show with availability soon, and there were a number of products being demonstrated that will be released early next year. There are a lot of smart cameras out there, prompting one attendee I spoke with to speculate about whether or not there will be a time when sales of smart cameras outpace those of traditional machine vision cameras. As with many things, we both agreed it will all have to do with costs.
The show is welcoming many new exhibitors, and they come in a variety of forms. Some are well established automation companies that have begun producing vision/imaging hardware or software and came to VISION for the first time, and others are newer startup companies in what is becoming a very important part of the show: VISION Start-up World. More than 20 companies participated in the program this year. This is a critical initiative. There is a plethora of small innovative companies that provide great technology but are limited in what they can do to find customers. The Start-up World is one way to ensure the newer players have a place to expose the market to their innovative solutions.
Finally, the show started a new guided tour program. According to Ron Mueller, CEO of Vision Markets and a coordinator of the program, it allowed new attendees to vision to visit facilities with very targeted applications, for example food and beverage. They were able to see these facilities, their vision/imaging systems, and, being first timers to the show, were able to better plot their course on the show floor. Walking onto a show floor with more than 350 exhibitors can be daunting. Returning from their tour, they were able to visit booths with products they actually saw in operation—a unique opportunity.
I took a little over 16,000 steps today at the show (I’m 6’4” and take long strides—I’m sure there are many attendees with many more steps). I visited a lot of people. Common themes included demands for high speeds, simpler training for deep learning/AI systems, and as I said, smart cameras. There is more and more being packed into the camera and more and more tasks, like image processing, are being done at the camera. Speeds continue to accelerate for a variety of camera interfaces. Customers are demanding these things, and the vision/imaging industry is meeting these demands.