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IR camera shipments predicted to log 22% CAGR through 2020

Posted: 23 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Yole Developpement? IR camera? thermal camera? smartphone?

According to the latest report from Yole Developpement titled Uncooled Infrared Imaging: Technology & Market Trends, in the next several years, uncooled thermal camera shipments will increase rapidly, with volumes rising at 22 per cent CAGR between 2015 and 2020.

Annual shipments are expected to reach more than 1.5 million units in 2020, compared to more than 450,000 units in 2014, noted the market research firm. But in a scenario where consumer applications such as infrared-vision capable smartphones would become the norm, these figures could literally explode to tens of millions, as the company highlights in an optimistic scenario.

Uncooled infrared camera business

In fact, consumer applications, including both personal vision systems (PVS) and smartphones are likely to provide the highest shipment growth in the coming years. This part of the market volumes was multiplied by three from 2014 to 2015, with smartphones in particular holding great promise.

"The smartphones market is already the main application in the consumer area in less than six month of sales," said Yann de Charentenay, senior technology & market analyst at Yole. Yole has investigated the technological evolution of smartphone thermal cameras, related challenges, market trends and the market positioning of companies in this area.

The first solution, FLIR One, proposed by FLIR, were compatible only for iPhone 5 what limited considerably the market size. Thus, companies now introduce solutions based on plug-in accessories compatible with any iPhone and Android platforms.

Smartphone market segment

In this recent analysis, Yole's team highlights rapid price erosion, between 2014 and 2015 alone prices fell by 30 per cent, down to $249. This is thanks to 12?m sensors, with sensor miniaturisation driving the major trend in the uncooled infrared camera industry.

Reducing the sensor die size decreases chip and optic costs. In 2016, key players including BAE, Raytheon, FLIR, DRS and NEC will have 12?m pixel architectures. The next step will be 6?m. This is a major challenge as it is smaller than the wavelengths of longwave infrared light (8?m to 12?m).

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