Machine vision engineers from all over the world have gathered from 07-11 October in Stresa/Italy at the shore of Lago Maggiore for the International Vision Standards Meeting (IVSM) Fall 2019. This meeting takes place twice a year under the global G3 initiative which is supported by the machine vision associations AIA, CMVU, EMVA, JIIA and VDMA. Hosting association in Stresa was the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) together with the corporate sponsor Lakesight Technologies. Birger Engineering and iMGAGE S were co-sponsors of the event.
IVSM agenda Standard Working Groups; Plugfest; and FSF
Each machine vision standard has its own working group which works continuously on the further development of the standard. Standard group members are engineers from machine vision companies and machine vision scientists. They meet personally twice a year during the IVSM. At the fall 2019 IVSM in Stresa meetings took place from the standard working groups of CameraLink, CameraLink HS, CoaXPress, emVISION, GenICam, OOCI, and OPC-UA Vision.
All standard working groups are open for new members who are interested to contribute with their experience.
One highlight of each International Vision Standard Meeting is the so-called Plugfest. During this event it is possible to test any exciting or new device with most worldwide available host-applications for interoperability. As the Plugfest attendance is restricted to people from the standard working groups and/or programmers from the involved companies most problems can be discussed and sometimes even solved short-term without the usual barriers where these engineers meet such as during trade shows or in a customer usage situation. The Plugfest has its roots in the development of the GenICam standard and nowadays includes practically all machine vision interface standards present during an IVSM.
Last but not least, the Future Standards Forum (FSF) in its General Meeting session gives an update on all current machine vision standards as well as an outlook on the date and place of the forthcoming International Vision Standard Meetings which are always presented by the respective hosting associations.
EMVA and Lakesight Technologies underline importance of standardization
Even after many years in the standardization community EMVA Standards Manager Werner Feith was once again impressed about the growing number of participants and the high-level output of the meeting. “Looking at the manpower and effort put into standardization makes clear that machine vision standardization cannot be taken for granted. A lot of industries look with envy at the level of commonly developed standards in the machine vision industry, where even engineers from competing companies jointly work together in the various standard working groups”, says Feith and adds: “As a machine vision association being part of the global G3 initiative the support of standardization activities is written in EMVA’s DNA. One cannot overestimate the value standardization has brought to our industry by means of facilitating machine vision applications and thus customer adoption of the technology; but also avoiding double developments.”
Lakesight Technologies as first time corporate IVSM sponsor in Stresa is equally satisfied after one week of intensive discussions about machine vision standardization. “Organizing and hosting the IVSM in Stresa was an experience of its own kind. We are glad that Lakesight Technologies was given this opportunity. Witnessing the serious progress that was made in the various standard working groups by technicians from all parts of the world at this fall gathering we realized it was the right decision”, says Lakesight’s CEO Business Unit Vision Solutions Martin Hund and adds: “Our engagement was also a statement that despite the current phase of ongoing market consolidation progress in standardization can only continue through further cooperation. There is absolutely no reason to question the intensive collaboration taking place during the International Vision Standard Meetings.”
The EMVA hosts several machine vision standards, namely the two widely established standards GenICam and EMVA 1288. In addition to that two new standard initiatives were adopted recently. One is the Open Optics Camera Interface (OOCI) standard to control the camera optics through GenCP and SFNC. The second standard initiative is called emVision and aims to expand the application of GenICam into the embedded vision world combining the particularities of the machine vision industry and the embedded world.
Standards Chair discussion round
EMVA and Lakesight Technologies took the opportunity to invite all standard Chairs and Co-Chairs present in Stresa to a round table discussing how standardization has influenced the machine vision industry and what challenges lie ahead.
All Chairs agreed that GenICam has become the backbone within the standardization in the last years since nowadays all other machine vision hardware interface standards refer to GenICam as the widely established generic programming interface for all kinds of devices, framegrabber and applications.
It was also common sense that standardization has been and still is a big enabler for machine vision technology, since machine vision standards simplify adoption of machine vision technology. Standards reduce learning costs for customers and development costs for companies. This allows the vendors, the integrators, and the end users to focus on their unique aspects, and not waste resources on the mundane.
One point made in the Chair session how standardization has changed within the years was in the trend towards software standardization, whereas in former years hardware used to be in the center of standardization activities.
Looking into the future of machine vision standardization the Chairs stated that standards can never be an end in itself but instead need to undergo constant evolution both to test and ensure compatibility of new components as well as to adapt components to new and different market needs. In contrary to the successful plug-and-play approach of existing GeniCam standardization new players such as from the embedded market might be vertically layered instead of horizontally and have less need to integrate interfaces from existing component producers. Also, the current market consolidation might lead to a smaller product variety and thus to less demand for standardization.
However, cooperation amongst the existing machine vision standards but also new alliances with standards from related industries was seen to become more and more important by the Chairs. As it was put by one participant of the Chairs session: “We have to reinvent standardization again and again”; and referring to cooperation with standards from other industries: “We should be thrilled when another standard comes along to be used for a higher growing marketplace.”
The International Vision Standard Meeting Spring 2020 will take place May 25 – 29 in Montreal/Canada.