Microsoft and Sony team up to create AI-powered smart camera solutions

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Microsoft and Sony Semiconductor Solutions have announced details of a new partnership that will see the two companies working on AI-powered smart cameras and video analytics together.

The partnership means that Microsoft Azure AI capabilities will be embedded on Sony’s intelligent vision sensor IMX500. Additionally, Sony will create an enterprise-focused smart camera managed app that will be powered by Azure IoT and Cognitive Services.

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Microsoft and Sony envision numerous usages for their video analytics products, such as using smart cameras in stores to monitor for shelves that need restocking, or to manage checkout lines more efficiently. Other ideas include using smart cameras to monitor for hazards. By embedding Azure AI capabilities onto the IMX500, Microsoft and Sony hope to overcome the problem of optimizing the allocation of compute resources.

Microsoft's corporate vice president and commercial chief marketing officer, Takeshi Numoto, says:

Video analytics and smart cameras can drive better business insights and outcomes across a wide range of scenarios for businesses. Through this partnership, we're combining Microsoft's expertise in providing trusted, enterprise-grade AI and analytics solutions with Sony's established leadership in the imaging sensors market to help uncover new opportunities for our mutual customers and partners.

Microsoft says the two companies will "simplify access to computer vision solutions by embedding Azure AI technology from Microsoft into Sony’s intelligent vision sensor IMX500 as well as enabling partners to embed their own AI models".

The company adds:

This integration will result in smarter, more advanced cameras for use in enterprise scenarios as well as a more efficient allocation of resources between the edge and the cloud to drive cost and power consumption efficiencies.

The app which Sony is developing will enable independent software vendors (ISVs) to add their own AI models to workflows to cater for specific video analytics and computer vision needs.

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