A look back at the last 20 years of vision

Feb. 10, 2016
Jeff Burnstein,President, AIA, congratulates  Vision Systems Design on celebrating its 20th year, and takes a look at the current and future state of the machine vision industry.

Congratulations toVision Systems Design on celebrating its 20th year. I remember its birth well, since AIA had already been in existence for over a decade at that point and was just beginning its rapid growth phase. At the time there were other publications serving the vision industry, but VSD ultimately established itself as the leader, with others leaving the field.

One of the biggest changes over the last two decades is the application of vision beyond the factory floor. While machine vision is used extensively in factories, at least half of today's applications appear to be outside the factory in areas such as traffic control, life sciences, security, and related areas.

This trend is expected to accelerate going forward as vision is embedded on many devices and incorporated into cars, drones, vacuum cleaners, toys, cell phones, home robots and other products we will interact with on a daily basis.

Market expansion has been evident in the recent performance of the global vision market. Since 2010, vision sales in North America have increased 16% on average per year, and reached an all-time high at the end of 2014. This growth is expected to continue in North America moving forward, and will be driven primarily by a strengthening manufacturing climate in the United States. Europe and Asia have also experienced increased sales of vision components and systems. Germany, China, and Japan in particular are expected to offer significant opportunities for vision suppliers over the next five years.

Another major trend I have seen is the globalization of the use of vision. When AIA was founded in 1984, North America, Japan, and Western Europe were the site of nearly all vision applications. Today, successful vision applications can be widely found in China, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the former East European countries.

I'm happy to say that AIA, continues to change with the industry. From our beginnings with a handful of North American member companies we have grown into an international association representing over 330 member companies from 32 nations. Our members cover the gamut of applications, and, importantly, also include system integrators who can help end-users successfully apply vision.

As end users have become increasingly aware of vision, they have come to demand excellence and experience from suppliers, integrators and employees. That's why AIA developed its Certified Vision Professional program (CVP) at the Basic and Advanced levels. With hundreds of professionals now certified, the AIA is building a base of vision experts who can help the industry take the next step forward in the decades ahead.

As I look at the advances in machine learning, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other technological leaps that impact society, it is clear that vision and imaging will continue to be applied in ways that help companies in every field achieve their goals.

I'm proud to be a part of this industry and to represent our members as they find new users for their products and services across the globe. On behalf of our entire membership, Board of Directors and staff, a hearty congratulations to VSD on its 20th anniversary.

Jeff Burnstein,
President, AIA - Advancing Vision + Imaging

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