Standardizing AI Processing in Smart Cameras

by Dawn Allcot

Last year, leading consumer electronics manufacturers and brands Foxconn, Nikon, Scenera, Sony Semiconductor Solutions, and Wistron collaborated to create an ecosystem standard for smart camera markets, the “Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystem” (NICE) Alliance.

Launched to provide an open data sharing platform based on video and AI to enhance the synergistic effect of multi-brand, multi-camera, and multi-service/apps, the consortium has since grown, with Allion, Augentix, Mobilicom, and TnM Tech joining as contributors. NICE Alliance recently released the first public review of specifications and detailed features on its blueprint and technology, with a goal to publish a finalized version for formal adoption this year.

Currently, the management of Artificial intelligence (AI) processing has been limited within cloud-based data centers, which require a heavy computing capacity and intensive training of deep learning models.

Providing a solution to the issues surrounding security, data privacy, bandwidth, latency requirements, and cost constraints, NICE identified the need to develop decentralized architectures, enabling AI-processing to be performed on edge devices like cameras and on advanced image sensors.

The new process ultimately creates a distribution of AI capabilities for efficient and formal sharing on the cloud, the camera or IoT devices, and image sensors. With the massive increase of high-resolution camera products in the market, the amount of generated raw video data has become too large for practical streaming. Existing standard compression technology has yet to address this problem. NICE’s edge AI capabilities provide a tangible solution and increase efficiency by sorting images on the edge, ensuring that only relevant video information is sent to the cloud. NICE Alliance is publishing a specification that can capture scene-based images or video streams containing an abundance of specific information, such as image frames, audio, and metadata, in cameras.

The NICE Specification defines a new way for camera devices, cloud services, and apps to communicate with each other, enabling a new class of utility services for consumers and creating new opportunities and business models for emerging applications.

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