The Automated Imaging Association (AIA) Business Conference was a great event again this year. It sold out ahead of time bringing together many of the key companies involved in machine vision, robotic and motion control. Various topics of interest to machine vision were discussed including the yearly vision market update and a review of standard activities. The industry is all abuzz with USB 3.0 which is expected to be “big” in the words of the AIA officials. Looking to the future, we were given a brief overview of a new committee named the Future Standards Forum.
What makes the Future Standards Forum particularly interesting is that it is a joint initiative in between the AIA, the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) and Japan Industrial Imaging Association (JIIA). Machine vision is a global enterprise which has led to various regional industry associations. These associations often take a regional look driving technology within their own backyards. As a result the standards sponsored by these organizations have emerged with significant overlap, sometimes even in direct competition. This is where the Future Standards Forum comes in, providing a common board for cooperation and guidance in the development of global standards.
An example of the overlap between standards is the CameraLink High Speed (CameraLink HS) that was driven by the AIA, versus CoaXPress which was driven by JIIA. While there are key differences between these standards, there are also a number of overlapping areas. At the business conference it was reported that the adoption of CameraLink HS has been much slower than expected, and I can only presume that the competition from CoaXPress has not helped the situation. Manufacturers have been somewhat hesitant to implement a standard in their own products without knowing if that standard will solidly establish itself. This situation is obviously not helping the industry as innovative development is put on hold waiting for a winning technology to emerge. Thankfully, USB 3.0 is not in that situation as no comparable alternative really exist at the moment.
As the industry evolves and tackles even more complex problems with innovative solutions, the Future Standards Forum will provide the framework to identify future technology, respond to challenges and provide the foundation for the industry to grow globally.