How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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Japanese companies often lead the way in technology. Not coincidentally, they're becoming more involved with European and U.S. associations in the form of JIIA, the Japanese Industrial Imaging Association. JIIA, for example, is participating in a number of standards committees, including those of the Automated Imaging Association (AIA). Its Digital Interface Working Group, chaired by Fumio Nagumo of CIS, includes four sub-working groups: GigE, Camera Link (including Power over Camera Link or PoCL), GenICam and a Next Generation Interface Sub-working Group. Each acts independently.
What's most interesting is the focus on GigE, which really still is in its infancy in Japan. The JIIA web site describes the group as "in the process of adopting" the AIA's GigE standard. JIIA plans to disseminate as much information about the interface as possible to its membership and provide feedback to AIA's GigE committee about the needs of the Japanese market.
At June's VISION East show in Boston, CIS unveiled two 5 megapixel, 15 fps GigE cameras, a monochrome model available in August and a color model due in September. Both are extensions of CIS's VISION: Elite category. This is somewhat unusual for a Japanese company. Most rely on what they consider a proven and reliable interface like Camera Link.
CIS looked at it a bit differently. "One of the reasons CIS set up the U.S. office was to become a more 'globally aware' company that could respond to the needs of the entire vision community, not just the Asian market where it had focused efforts in the past," explains Jeremy Hubbell, general manager of CIS Americas. "The process of convincing Japan wasn't all that difficult. With the new mentality that the company has it really just became a matter of justifying the development costs since the prospective market size, we feel, is sufficient enough."
Some of the concern for Japanese customers about GigE is the possibility of "missing images" when transferring data over a busy hub, says Henrik Ilsby of H. Ilsby Aps, Consulting, and a member of the Advanced Imaging Editorial Advisory Board. "This issue is addressed most effectively by the leading European camera manufacturers who have integrated sufficient buffering and re-send features/setup to ensure recovery of any potential lost package. Some of the best North American companies and the companies using Pleora-based solutions generally also have better control of the packet-size limits and transfer.