Tamron explores new territories
Editor / Provider: a&s Asia editorial team | Updated: 8/22/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics
Tamron, a well-known lens company, in security, has made several new changes in its R&D, marketing, and services to better fit current customers' lens needs. In this article, Tamron discusses specific business strategies concentrating on their OEM business and how to stay ahead in technology and market shares.
Korean and Chinese lens manufacturers have brought on cutthroat competition in the global market, pushing many leading Japanese lens manufacturers to transform and widen the technology gap. Tamron is a role model here, exploring new technologies and markets. Over the years, Tamron has strengthened itself by developing high-end technologies such as 1,080P full HD and future 4K or even 8K lenses. The company also began business in India two years ago, seeking new business opportunities, such as safe city projects, for its expansion in South Asia. Finally, Tamron is also preparing to reach out to more vertical markets, especially in the transportation sector — city surveillance and ITS — and even non-security applications. Now, with all these new changes, Tamron is ready for another turning point in its business.
Increasing Focus on OEM Business
The lens industry has changed quite a bit. The increasing sales from lens and camera bundles have led to the rise in the lens OEM business. “Besides the C/CS mount type lenses, Tamron has shifted more to OEM business. Now, we have around two thirds of our business in OEM, mainly dealing with camera manufacturers,” said Koji Masunari, GM of Tamron. “To collaborate with camera manufacturers, it is important to stay flexible to match their specific needs.” Masunari elaborated that Tamron is able to provide 20 to 30 types of one single product model to tailor to a camera manufacturer's requirements. In addition, “to achieve the greatest picture quality with IR cut, for instance, communication and engineering supports in mechanical and software parts become very crucial. We work very closely with our customers around the world with stationed technical support staff in each of our subsidiary offices in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and China. What we provide are very instant service, technical support, and sales communication in each local market.”
To stay price competitive in price sensitive markets, such as in Southeast and South Asian countries, Tamron moved its lens production mainly to China and more recently to Vietnam. “The R&D and all the assembly jig preparation will still stay in Japan,” he said, to keep a good balance on quality and price of Tamron's products.
Expansion In South and Southeast Asia
Besides OEM business, another focus for Tamron right now is to actively penetrate more new emerging countries. The company set up a subsidiary office in India two years ago. Masunari said, “We are right now developing business customers directly and proceeding marketing activities in Indian market. Since India has a high demand from many government projects, such as transportation and banking, we hope to work more closely with some major systems integrators with our high-end products.” He continued, “However, the necessity of high-end products has not been understood by customers yet and it will probably take a long time for Tamron to gain the large business in this market. We now promote aggressively the value of high-end products by participating in exhibitions, roadshows, and products seminars in that market.” Starting from India, Tamron then continues expanding to other countries in South Asia. Among Southeast Asian countries, Tamron will put great effort into well-developed countries like Singapore and Thailand to stimulate sales. Additionally, emerging countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia will be Tamron's next targets.
Staying Ahead In Technology Advancement
The standard requirement from the security industry for picture resolution is getting higher and higher. A few years ago, VGA resolution was still the norm, but 1,080P full HD has since become the standard. Today, 4K products are just coming out, but there have already been talks about 8K in the market. “We need to contribute more for picture quality and try to eliminate the error rate in the best possible way. To support this, the lens quality is very important and it is required for lens design to eliminate all the color bleeding, flare, and ghost,” said Masunari.
The product design has to be advanced, and so do the production facilities. “We also have invested in more precise part measurements and high assembly techniques,” he emphasized.
To gain more market shares, it is also essential for a lens company to have a complete product portfolio to support camera manufacturers and systems integrators for different projects. “What we try to do is make the product design very simple to use and easy to understand for our customers. For instance, Tamron has the double vari-focal solution, which covers all focal lengths from wide to tele with just two 3-megapixel lenses,” Masunari said.
Keeping ahead in technologies, “Tamron's R&D will definitely focus on developing megapixel lenses, such as 2K, 4K, or 8K, and special lenses for panoramic or wide-angle view and a low-light environment, in the near future,” he emphasized.
Exploring new Verticals and Applications
For its future development, it is important for Tamron right now to explore more new applications and vertical markets for security lenses in all different regional markets. The transportation sector, especially for city surveillance and ITS, is an important business segment for the company. “The ITS market has strong opportunity in the Asian market as the growth ratio of automobile ownership is rapidly growing. Regarding city surveillance, we expect business possibility not only in the emerging Asian market but also in Japan as well, especially due to the coming Tokyo Olympic Games,” Masunari said.
Generally, in the field of ITS, fixed focal length lenses have been the main selection for their sensitivity; however, Tamron has developed a large aperture zoom which realizes high sensitivity from wide to tele and the company is now promoting it in the market. As for city surveillance, which requires continuous 24-hour recording, the tendency was that night recording would lose picture quality under infrared lighting. However, Tamron has created a lens that will keep its quality day or night — no matter what the lighting is the image quality will not be affected. As sensitivity is an important factor, the company has also developed a zoom lens which the F number of wide and tele zoom position has minimum difference. With this lens, Tamron can provide clear and sharp images for 24/7 surveillance.
Tamron particularly promotes these products to new companies that have been targeting transportation and expects to form more good partnerships, in order to penetrate these new market segments together. Finally, in the future, Tamron sees more applications in biometric products such as facial recognition and thermal cameras. For the non-security product segment, Tamron also sees potential in wide-angle lenses for video conferencing and some special lenses for medical usage.
New changes, Big growth
Tamron definitely serves as a good role model in the lens industry having made so many new changes in its latest technological development, production, and market expansion in order to take the lead in the market. Now, all that is needed is time for the company to reap all the positive results as a result of their effort, positive results we can expect will come soon in Asia.