Moving away from the unforgettable 2020, we restarted our life under a new norm of “temperature check”. Thermal imaging camera used for preliminary screening of elevated skin temperature in workplaces and establishments with large flow of people has become a back-to-business necessity in the post-pandemic era. It is undeniable that thermal technology has entered the public view, with increasing popularity and expanded scope of applications in various industries. According to an Omdia white paper, thermal camera applications are shifting from original military field to the civilian and end-user markets.
Challenges facing the civilian thermal imaging market
Thermal imaging cameras were first applied in aerospace and defense industries. Nowadays, high-end cooled thermal cameras are still commonly used for military and border security. At the same time, uncooled thermal cameras – which are less expensive than their cooled counterparts – have been widely deployed for commercial use and security purposes across industries.
While moving into civil applications, the current thermal imaging market is also facing the following challenges:
First, price is the biggest obstacle for thermal imaging to enter the civilian market. Compared with conventional CCTV cameras, highly priced thermal cameras are hardly accepted by the consumer market as a financially viable option for monitoring, especially in the competitive all-weather surveillance sector. As a result, many customers miss the opportunity to benefit from the advantages and true value of this technology.
Second, users generally have low awareness and inadequate knowledge about the thermal imaging technology. Due to its inherent notion of high-end military use, most buyers in the conventional security market dominated by IP cameras are not familiar with this existing technology prior to 2020. Only after the outbreak of the pandemic did the public gain a deeper understanding of thermal imaging technology and its related products.
Future development trends: cost-effectiveness and intelligence
At present, high performance, low power consumption, miniaturization and intelligence are among the main development trends of thermal imaging technology.
- Reduction in camera size and cost – One such advancement is seen in the advent of small pixel size chip. The latest 12μm-pixel chip has advantages of low cost, energy efficient and low maintenance operation, with shorter focal length under the same angle of view. Notably, the volume of the lens that reaches the same target detection distance is reduced by at least 1/3, making the system much lighter. In addition, the optimization of wafer-level packaging and other innovative technologies are also important factors that significantly reduce the cost of thermal imaging cameras.
- Uncooled thermal camera market continues to grow – With the improvements in detector techniques and lens materials, the cost of uncooled thermal cameras has dropped in recent years. Modern uncooled thermal cameras offer high resolution, compact design, and energy saving benefits and are becoming more user-friendly and affordable thanks to the continuous technological breakthroughs in the industry. Given its enhanced cost-effectiveness and convenient attributes, the demand for uncooled thermal security camera will undoubtedly surge in intelligent security monitoring in the years to come.
- AI + Thermal to lead the future of intelligence – A new wave of technologies powered by AI, 5G, big data, Internet of Things and cloud computing is accelerating the transformation and upgrading of various industries. AI-based smart sensing solutions and applications, especially thermal solutions that integrate deep learning analysis, will lead the future of smart security. While offering high-contrast images, modern AI-enabled intelligent analytics can accurately provide early warnings and filter out false alarms caused by irrelevant objects, significantly enhancing the overall operating efficiency of security systems.
Dahua Eureka Series: Make “AI + Thermal” accessible to consumer market
As a world-leading video-centric smart IoT solution and service provider, Dahua Technology made an early step on awakening this existing technology. By expanding its product range with entry-level thermal products and solutions, Dahua Technology has successfully brought this previously unattainable technology into our daily life, enabling more integrators and users to benefit from its superior capabilities.
Recently, Dahua Technology released the Eureka series, its 3rd generation eco-thermal cameras tailored for SMB and consumer market. Equipped with the company’s cutting-edge AI and thermal technology advantages, it provides an all-in-one security solution that includes perimeter protection, fire prevention and other multi-functional features for users. Compared with the mainstream 160×120 detectors on the market, the camera’s high-resolution 256×192 sensor increases the number of pixels by 156%, allowing it to provide excellent image quality.Additionally, the latest AI-powered Dahua intelligent algorithm has further optimized its performance in accurate object classification, target filtering, dim targets detection, and other intelligent functions. This series is ideal for a variety of small and medium-sized scenarios such as factories, industrial parks, parking lots, warehouses, garbage recycling stations, automobile sales service centers, etc.
In today’s market, the customer demand for end-to-end solutions (instead of single product) and fragmented scenario applications requires manufacturers to have strong understanding of the scene. With its years of industry experience in various vertical industries, Dahua Technology can effectively utilize the latest thermal technology in combination with its in-depth understanding of actual scenes to truly solve the pain points faced by customers. In addition to the security industry, Dahua Technology will also focus on emerging markets including Personal Vision System (PVS), industrial/electric temperature measurement, HVAC, smart home and Internet of Things to bring more solutions and value to customers.
Boasting unparalleled night vision performance, long-distance detection and penetration capabilities, thermal imaging camera is playing an increasingly vital role in modern-day security applications, especially in industrial production, commercial buildings and critical infrastructures. In the future, the integration of thermal imaging and sensing technologies will further enhance the application value of its products and service to better meet the needs of different vertical markets.