Will incorporate AI in the future
A recent overview of Sony’s semiconductor division, which builds their class leading image sensors, has revealed an interesting nugget — despite their usage in Alpha cameras, the majority of the division’s sales go to smartphones and cars. In fact, according to Sony:
Approximately 80% of CMOS sensor sales are to smartphones.
This shouldn’t be all that surprising, seeing how Sony, who is beating Canon and Nikon in the mirrorless camera world, only shipped 3.6 million units during 2018. At the same time, flagship smartphones are incorporating more sensors than ever with many including three just on the rear. As for the automotive sector, Sony should also see major growth here (assuming they nail down contracts with car makers), since the more autonomous cars get — even if its for more ‘simple’ features like adaptive cruise control and self parking — the more sensors they’ll require. On top of that, many cars like recent BMWs have cameras all around the car, such as the electric i3 or powerful 5 Series (BMW snob here), which can give you a top down bird’s eye view of the vehicle amongst other functionalities.
- Initiatives in long-term growth prospects such as automotive sensors and Edge AI.
- Expand business through fields such as distance measurement and automotive. Sony’s automotive sensors are receiving positive external feedback.
- Stacked CMOS image sensors to be made more intelligent by embedding AI functionality to the logic layer.
- Sony will also actively pursue alliances with partner companies. Recently announced an MOU with Microsoft to collaborate in the area of AI.
And if their recent foray into AI with Microsoft is any indication and they’re able to turn it into something meaningful, expect the demand for their sensors to only increase in smartphones, automotives, drones, and robotic sectors as well as factories which are becoming increasingly more autonomous due to robotics. Sorry, human workers.
As I’ve said before, for everything the many divisions within Sony are doing wrong, Semiconductors remains a bright spot with an extremely high ceiling of what they can achieve if they continue to remain aggressive and ahead of others.