Sony, Nikon Creating Universal IoT Camera Platform "NICE"

Sony, Nikon, and a number of other technology companies recently partnered on creating a new universal platform for Internet of Things cameras. The Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystem (NICE) is also being developed by Foxconn, Wistron, and Silicon Valley startup Scenera, with its ultimate goal being to deliver a solution for the next generation of intelligent cameras with computer vision capabilities and other highly advanced technologies. While designed to be unified, NICE will be based on a proprietary framework that will handle in-camera data processing and sharing, the partners said earlier this week.

Compared to traditional smart cameras, NICE-enabled hardware will be able to capture videos and images that contain much more information per frame, with their capabilities including separate RGB and IR frames, metadata, and audio. By separating that kind of information on the go, NICE-compatible cameras will be able to allow for various computer vision applications in real time without requiring convoluted implementations. Unique apps looking to leverage only a single aspect of the NICE ecosystem will also be able to do so by relying on its ability to contextualize particular data streams, according to the coalition. The technology is presently being targeted at IP cameras but may eventually expand its portfolio, whereas the current list of participating developers could also grow going forward. All features of the framework will be controllable via a streamlined mobile app for Android and iOS devices, whereas its native encryption support should guarantee a high level of overall security. Middleware and cloud-based APIs are promising extensive compatibility with third-party apps, with the alliance presently looking for new partners interested in contributing to the standard or just adopting it.

The initial version of the specification is set to become available later this year but a more precise availability window has yet to be determined. Should the technology eventually enjoy widespread adoption, developing computer vision and other AI-powered imaging apps for security cameras is likely to become significantly easier, with NICE promising to standardize such solutions. First NICE-compatible products may be commercialized as early as next year if the alliance ends up sticking with its original roadmap.

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