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Imaging

Technology developments are accelerating in the imaging space. Three application markets are particularly active: security, automotive, and mobile, as described in our most recent reports - Imaging Technologies for Automotive 2016, 3D Imaging and Sensing 2017, and Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2017. Yole Développement (Yole) had the opportunity to discuss a recent move with one of the CMOS image sensor ecosystem’s heavyweights: OmniVision.

With the company releasing a near-infrared enhancing technology called Nyxel™, this was a good time for Yole to dig deeper into the reasons and implications of the move. We posed several questions to Ray Cisneros, OmniVision’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing.

3d imaging Sensing Market forecast omnivision cmos yole

(Source: 3D Imaging and Sensing 2017 report, Yole Développement, Apr. 2017)


Yole Développement: Can you describe where OmniVision stands amongst the main CIS players?

Ray Cisneros:  OmniVision participates in every CIS market segment worldwide. Our main segments today are mobile, surveillance, automotive, PC, medical, and machine vision. We cover every segment at a more comprehensive level than our competitors. While our competition covers one or more segments well, OmniVision is the only CIS company that covers every market segment.

Omnivision yole 2016 CIS revenue ranking CMOS


(Source: Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2017, Yole Développement, Jun. 2017)

Although today the mobile market represents the majority of image-sensor volume, other markets have a higher growth rate. Some markets, such as medical, are in an early growth phase and mature volumes cannot be accurately estimated. However, we believe some of these markets hold significant value for long-term growth and market value.

YD: You are advertising a new NIR sensing technology called Nyxel. How much of OmniVision’s portfolio will be impacted by this new technology?
RC: There are broad and deep implications to our business utilizing NyxelTM technology. We have already announced the integration of Nyxel technology with some of our products in the surveillance space. However, the benefits of this technology - including higher NIR QE and lower system power requirements - apply to a broad range of other applications and markets, including machine vision, automotive, medical, and even mobile. In the short-term we will continue to apply Nyxel technology to a wave of security products where the market has expressed the highest demand. We plan to selectively implement it in other segments where the maximum benefit is leveraged. However, all segments have requested the integration of Nyxel technology into their products.

Figure2 OmniVision QEwithNyxelTech yole

(Courtesy of: OmniVision)

 

YD: Security is one of OmniVision’s core strengths. Can you describe Nyxel’s market dynamics and potential impact?
RC: The ability to display an image in near-complete darkness at a lower cost and with lower power consumption for surveillance products is nothing short of a watershed moment in this segment. These benefits apply to the commercial and consumer sub-segments of surveillance. In both categories, the final cost to create a surveillance system will be reduced significantly. Additionally, the rapid emergence of the wireless IoT surveillance sub-segment puts Nyxel technology at the forefront of must-have capabilities, due to its stringent power supply budgets. Nyxel technology is also a fundamental semiconductor process building block that can be used in any mix of resolution and pixel generation, with minor requirements to moderate controlled image quality trade-offs. This opens it up to surveillance solutions across all product line strategies.

 

Figure1b OmniVision Nyxel Technology Pixel Structure yole

(Courtesy of: OmniVision)

 

Figure1a OmniVision Standard Pixel Structure yole

(Courtesy of: OmniVision)

 

YD: Can you describe the impact in automotive, another strong market for OmniVision?
RC: In automotive, Nyxel technology opens up the prospect of unparalleled night-vision capabilities for both display and machine vision applications. The prospect of seeing in near-total darkness fundamentally addresses the most important factor in automotive: safety. The original NHSTA mandate for rearview cameras in automotive hinged on improving safety. Offering back-up cameras utilizing Nyxel technology directly addresses this market need. Similarly, Nyxel technology used in machine vision cameras, which are ultimately one of the core technologies required for autonomously-driven vehicles, accelerates the pace for that end-goal. Although autonomously-driven vehicles will rely on the fusion of various solutions such as LIDAR and ultrasound, a Nyxel technology-based imaging solution will exceed all expectations for this space.

Figure3 OmniVision NyxelTechnologyComparison yole

(Courtesy of: OmniVision)

 

YD: Yole Dévelopment noticed OmniVision’s involvement in different consumer sensing devices such as Realsense and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. How big is this activity within OmniVision?
RC: Realsense is our longtime collaboration with Intel on their 3D solution offered for notebook platforms. As in other consumer devices, the advent of 3D sensing for a variety of applications is a trend that is here to stay. Of course, end-customer acceptance and use-case development will take its course over time. Nevertheless, the value-add for 3D sensing is being validated quickly in face authentication, new user-to-user chat experiences, 3D mapping, gesture motion tracking, and many others. 3D sensing’s growth potential is significant across not just the notebook market segment, but all consumer devices and commercial markets. OmniVision is investing in all of the technologies that can possibly lead to 3D sensing solutions, such as global shutter sensors, dual-camera architectures, and time-of-flight products.

YD: How does this product line relate to the 3D sensing products found in the latest generation of smartphones?
RC: In addition to smartphones with 3D sensing, we anticipate that there will be a wave of products that provide some form of 3D sensing capability. OmniVision’s job is to offer core sensor products that meet the requirements for all of these 3D sensing applications. For example, our global shutter sensors can be incorporated into certain 3D sensing architectures that are used in consumer and commercial products. We offer a breadth of global-shutter sensors in a wide array of resolutions and form factors. We also offer camera modules with unique wafer-level packaging that are ideal in tight industrial-design form factors, such as for AR/VR devices.

YD: What do you think will be the ratio between imaging and sensing applications for Nyxel technology?
RC: At the onset, imaging solutions utilizing Nyxel technology will lead the volume. We foresee this trend in the near to mid-term. However, we also anticipate that Nyxel technology-based sensing solutions will gain traction rapidly, as the same high NIR QE benefits seen in imaging solutions also apply for sensing applications. Many studies predict that sensing solutions are the larger volume market, as almost every human-interface application will need a sensing solution. The best example today is ADAS and autonomously-driven automotive architectures. Similarly, almost every human-interface use-case will require a sensing solution. Viewed this way, sensing solutions will ultimately be the major markets and Nyxel technology-based solutions will help OmniVision compete long-term.

YD: What are OmniVision’s differentiators in this market, and how do they compare to your competitors?
RC: Our differentiators include the ability to quickly bring new products to market and our readiness to scale Nyxel technology for mass production. Right now we are offering Nyxel technology-based security sensors to the marketplace. Demand and customer interest are already exceeding our expectations. We are rapidly moving to launch a full suite of security sensors with Nyxel technology, in a variety of resolutions, pixel sizes, and form factors. We are also collaborating with customers in other key markets, and we plan to roll out Nyxel technology-based products to these markets as quickly as possible. 

 

Sources: logo yole petit - omnivision logo

 
Interviewee
Omnivision Ray Cisneros Ray Cisneros is Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing
Ray Cisneros was named Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing after serving as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Sales Operations since 2012, and Vice President of Sales since 2006. Mr. Cisneros joined OmniVision in 2002 and began working in various areas of sales, including key account management, regional management and sales operations. Currently, Mr. Cisneros manages global sales, sales operations, corporate sales and marketing. In his ten years with OmniVision, Mr. Cisneros has been part of the team that helped build OmniVision to its current level of business. Prior to joining OmniVision, Mr. Cisneros held various senior management positions in the area of sales and marketing for companies in the fiber optics and semiconductor industries, including Sagitta, Inc., UMC and Novellus Systems, Inc. Earlier in his career, Mr. Cisneros served as a failure analyst and materials engineer at FMC Corporation. Mr. Cisneros holds a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University.

 

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