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Major security companies compete to develop their AI chipsets

Major security companies compete to develop their AI chipsets
As most camera vendors look to embed artificial intelligence (AI) into their products, companies are taking different approaches to obtain the relevant technologies.

The security industry is on cusp of entering the age of AI, with most camera vendors planning to embed it into their products. But the size and resources of a company will dictate their approach. While big players like Hikvision, Hanwha Techwin and Axis have the resources to develop AI algorithms and chipsets in house, smaller competitors will most likely acquire AI technologies, such as preloaded chips and firmware or software, from third party vendors.

One such piece of in-house built hardware on show at ISC West was Axis Communication's ARTPEC 7 chip. According to Axis, the chip enables "better imaging, enhanced security, [and] powerful compression," as well as the "ability to run analytics on the edge,” reducing bandwidth and storage consumption. The chip enables forensic wide dynamic range, providing "clearer images of moving objects as well as enhanced detail in backlit scenes." It also features a real-time object detection engine that according to Axis can automatically detect and differentiate between people, faces and objects. Moreover, the chip is fully developed by Axis, providing a layer of control that is crucial for cybersecurity.

Built-in security mechanisms ensure that only secure and authorized firmware can be installed. Hanwha Techwin's AI chips are expected to come out at the end of the year. Its chip stands out for its detection accuracy and cybersecurity features, according to Tom Cook, Senior Vice President of Sales at Hanwha Techwin America. The core memory and core programming are separated from the analytics side of the chip. "You actually have two chips in one with a firewall built in," Cook said.  "People are very excited about the technology of artificial intelligence starting to arise," Cook said. Since all Hanwhan Techwin's chips are built in-house, the manufacturing, design and quality control, as well as cybersecurity testing and AI evaluation, are all done within the company.

Arecont eyes buyout

Jeff Whitney, Vice President of Marketing at Arecont Vision Costar, said his firm was working with another company to develop AI, and that Arecont may acquire the partner in the future. At this early stage, cameras embedded with AI chips will vary significantly when it comes to performance. “They will be either crappy with bad AI or they will be cost more if it is good AI,” Whitney said. Whitney predicts we will see new types of AI cameras coming to the market every year for the next 10 years. “I think you’ll see really good AI this year or next year, but it will be limited on where you can use it.”

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