Finding Synergy Across Broadcast, Consumer, and Security
Since Ambarella was founded in 2004, we have focused on providing creative solutions to challenging technology problems.
Our founders’ past work with top-tier broadcast infrastructure vendors provided the insight to identify the technology specification for the next wave of H.264 encoders and transcoders. A low-power, highly integrated solution provided the foundation for a solid architecture that could be leveraged across multiple applications: the requirements of one market present synergistic advantages when applied to another. This synergy proved to be the catalyst for Ambarella’s success and continuing growth.
Making the Connection
At first glance, the broadcast infrastructure, consumer hybrid digital camera, and security IP camera markets seem completely disconnected. Product life cycles, system costs, and requirements are worlds apart, with the only commonality the fact that they are all encoding high-definition (HD) video. A closer look reveals that an elegant solution to the challenges of one industry offers an opportunity to uniquely change the playing field in others.
Broadcast Infrastructure Encoders and Transcoders
Television service providers face the challenge of increased competition, consumer demands for HD and 3D programming and more channels of each, and the reality that the option of increasing cable, satellite or network infrastructure is prohibitively expensive.
To remain competitive and profitable, broadcasters must maximize the number of program channels delivered over a fixed bandwidth—this requires upgrading their head-end equipment to the best compression technology available.
Additionally, there is an increasing requirement for real time transcoding between video formats to deliver the optimal video resolution and format requested by the target consumer device at any given time. Ambarella chips deliver the industry's most efficient compression, with flexible transcoding functionality, enabling our customers to build superior products that in turn keep their customers ahead of the curve.
Consumer-Grade Hybrid DV/DSC Digital Cameras
The consumer hybrid digital video/digital still (DV/DSC) camera market benefits greatly from the same low-power, highly integrated, compression-efficient technology that we have been delivering to broadcast infrastructure equipment makers for years.
Consumers demand highly portable, HD video and mega-pixel still picture capable devices with long battery life. Efficient compression is important to maximize the amount of video they can store on the device's on-board storage in a given recording session. Intelligent image processing is also a necessity, as these mobile devices must identify and adapt to even the most challenging lighting environments as quickly as possible.
Ambarella offers a highly mature software development kit that enables manufacturers the flexibility to differentiate their products with unique features but still hit critical time to market requirements.
The benefits of high volume production driven by strong sales of a successful consumer electronics product segment allow continued and ongoing adoption of the latest silicon manufacturing process node. This enables further investment in new technology enabling expansion in existing markets and opportunities to innovate and enter new markets.
Security and Surveillance IP Cameras
The security and surveillance camera market is experiencing a revolution. Analog cameras connected to co-axial are being obsoleted in favor of digital cameras that encode video inside the camera and transmit it over a network. HD resolution is ideal—the more detail the better, but these internet protocol (IP) cameras also need maximum compression efficiency—network bandwidth is always a scarce resource.
The requirements of products in this space have similarities to the consumer and broadcast feature set, but on-board analytics tailored to individual customers applications are also a strong requirement. These devices need powerful, flexible DSPs to drive custom analytics for custom applications. Ambarella chipsets offer this functionality.
Ambarella’s strategy is to leverage the encoder technology of the broadcast market, the features and volume of the hybrid camera market, with extra horsepower to drive custom analytics needed for the security market. We added a dedicated staff—with direct security market experience—to develop the right feature set on the right subset of Ambarella devices.