Suppliers of CCTV cameras are tapping technical expertise and geographic advantage to strengthen the line.
Technological advancements and rising demand for security products worldwide are spurring South Korea’s CCTV camera industry, positioning it as a key hub for this line. The country currently accounts for about 30 percent of global supply, and makers are gearing up to widen market reach.
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Manufacturers in this East Asia country leverage their expertise in digital signal processing chipset development and industrial design to offer high-quality front-end surveillance devices. Homegrown Nextchip and Samsung Techwin are major providers of the first with a combined 60 percent share of worldwide output.
CCTV camera companies also benefit from the established local upstream chain. With its strong consumer electronics industry, South Korea has a rich network of material and component suppliers, enabling terminal device makers to procure inputs domestically. This in turn helps enterprises in keeping costs low and offering more competitive prices.
Manufacturers also take advantage of their proximity to Japan in strengthening technological competitiveness and obtaining key components, particularly CCD image sensors. The latter is the world’s largest provider of the input. Besides being able to learn about developments in the upstream channel ahead of other areas, companies get lower rates and can transport the requirement much faster and easier.
In terms of ID development, businesses are able to tap a highly skilled manpower resource. Most companies have in-house engineers, and the majority of them have several years of experience in the video or imaging industry.
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At least 100 players pursue the CCTV camera line in South Korea, including assemblers and trading firms. Many operations practice vertical integration to ensure high quality. They emphasize both OEM and OBM projects.
Some makers are looking to expand capacity in anticipation of increased orders. HDPro Co. Ltd, for example, is planning to build a second factory to boost its current 60,000-unit monthly capacity. C-Pro is considering setting up a facility in Southeast Asia to hit 3 million units in annual capability from 600,000 to 700,000.
Aside from technological advancements, rising demand for security products worldwide is adding momentum to the CCTV line in South Korea. The global security equipment industry is expected to hit $95 billion by end-2011 and climb to $118.6 billion next year.
A significant portion of sales come from the CCTV sector. The key growth areas are Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. Despite concerns about economic uncertainties in some major export destinations, makers believe the segment will remain insulated from market fluctuation given the need among businesses for security infrastructures.
In the domestic sector alone, manufacturers said orders from government agencies and private companies have been picking up in recent months. The requirements are for upgrading existing security networks or setting up new systems.
Suppliers are also taking advantage of growing support from the government. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy is working with makers to strengthen the industry further. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security is advancing projects to establish CCTV CMS centers, which will spur sales.
At present, there are about 2.8 million CCTV cameras installed nationwide. Approximately 80 percent of these are analog products. With the shift to IP and HD models, however, companies see more digital variants being installed in public places in the near future.
|Visual Vision’s VIR-B524N1 model is an IR bullet camera that has Sony Effio processor and >52dB S/N ratio.|
Networking capability and HD image quality are defining the R&D landscape in South Korea’s CCTV camera industry. Makers are enhancing products’ surveillance features to match the growing demand for advanced security devices.
Although analog variants will remain strong, networked systems are forecast to rise in number. The main difference between the two types is resolution, with the latter able to support HD at 1080p. Besides improved image quality and reliability, such models are easier to manage and can be used for monitoring purposes. Some of the initial applications are designed to track personnel.
Suppliers said orders from government establishments and private enterprises have been significantly increasing in recent years as CCTV installations expand. Suitable for crime prevention, several of the latest releases can identify red zones or very crowded areas and even alert the administrator.
Makers predict network cameras will start overtaking analog counterparts by 2016.
Meanwhile, the IP trend is fueling the adoption of HD-SDI and converged security management. The latter enables central monitoring system for checking heterogeneous video surveillance devices. This, in turn, underscores the importance of software in an intelligent setup.
HD image quality is another R&D priority. Megapixel resolutions are breaching mainstream supply as more manufacturers shift to digital. The trend is expected to displace 410,000-pixel models typically installed in public areas and government offices. Cameras of the former category, meanwhile, will find wider adoption in business and commercial setups that require lossless storage such as airports, banks and casinos.
Win4Net has launched a megapixel hybrid surveillance camera that supports both IP and HD. MC Electronics Co. Ltd offers a box-type unit capable of 1080p and HD-SDI. It uses a 1/3in CMOS progressive-scan image sensor with 2.1 million colors and stable performance even at low-light conditions.
To complement resolution upgrades, makers are integrating IR to boost night vision functionality.
Visionhitech Co. Ltd’s 1.3MP IR outdoor camera, for instance, features a 50m IR operating range for day and night surveillance. The product packs a 1/3in Sony progressive-scan CMOS sensor and a motorized megapixel zoom lens.
Intelligent CCTV systems are expected to become a major trend in the next few years. Video analysis equipment is in fact already available from some companies. The Smart IP CCTV from LG U+, for example, improves shop management by monitoring customer volume and analyzing their buying behavior patterns. These options, however, are pricier than analog counterparts.
In terms of external design, easy installation and safety are the key considerations. Indoor and outdoor models from C-Pro can be set up with just three steps, unlike previous releases that require at least seven.
Although suppliers generally have positive growth forecasts on the back of a robust global security product market, they admit tightening competition could dampen sales and dent profit margins.
Specifically, local manufacturers face quote undercutting from mainland China-and Taiwan-made devices in the entry-level category.
In the upscale segment, South Korea companies are threatened by releases from the US and Japan, most of which are equipped with value-added software.
The steady influx of new entrants lured by the low entry threshold is compounding the price war. Hard-pressed to reduce export rates further, a number of suppliers are considering focusing on the domestic arena. A few plan to devote more time to developing video surveillance systems.
Those keen to stay in the line are riding technology trends to remain buoyant, introducing next-generation solutions such as IP cameras and network video recorders. But to establish branding and eventually market foothold, South Korea manufacturers need to ensure high-quality releases that perform on a par with international counterparts. This entails developing core technologies and reducing dependence on foreign solutions and materials.
Besides building product recognition, local enterprises have to offer added value to compete with terminal devices boasting recording and monitoring capability. Many smartphones, for instance, allow remote viewing, searching and setup, enabling users to check on their homes and offices even while away from their desktop computers.
Several suppliers are gearing up for tablet PCs integrating similar features as part of future-proofing plans. A few enterprises are paying close attention to cloud and hub systems, which can accelerate the trend for integrated security.
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Visionhitech Co. Ltd
Year established: 1997
Note: This article "South Korea growing hub for CCTV cameras" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
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