Gadgets for humans

Sony, Nikon and others team up to create a unified platform for smart cameras

If you’re good with the idea of hooking up cameras around your house to keep an eye on things from anywhere, you’ll be happy to know that they might soon be easier to work with, thanks to the Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystem (NICE).

It’s an alliance of camera manufacturers including Sony, Nikon, iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, imaging startup Scenera, and Wistron, who are getting together to figure out ways to get smart cameras to operate with each other seamlessly.

That means that you should soon be able to monitor video streams from cameras of various brands from a unified interface.

NICE will define a specification that various hardware makers can use for their cameras, so that the footage they capture can be split into scenes, indexed, made searchable and scannable in thumbnails, and stashed in cloud storage.

Having multiple brands follow the same spec will make it easier to develop apps that work with a wide range of cameras, and also allow those devices to play nice with each other. And as Scenera CEO David Lee told Digital Trends, a single platform could enable them to share AI infrastructure for things like improved object recognition – without having to rely on just a single manufacturer’s AI solution.

The alliance already includes companies that supply components like sensors and processors, as well as software know-how to hardware brands. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get their project off the ground by the end of the year and have NICE products on shelves in 2019. It’ll be interesting to see if prominent brands like Nest and Amazon get on board by then, too.

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Published March 7, 2018 — 06:58 UTC