Aug 26, 2013

    Canon eyes lucrative security-cam market

    NOSY governments and nervous home owners, among other drivers of the surveillance society, may soon upstage amateur photographers as the focus for big camera-makers - such as Canon - which spot growing opportunities in the security market.

    "A major focus for the next phase is increasing our business-to-business (B2B) sales and, of course, security cameras - which is a huge market - is part of that," Canon president and chief executive Fujio Mitarai said in an interview.

    Canon is looking beyond digital cameras and targeting industrial and corporate clients, much like Japanese peers such as Panasonic, which has fallen prey to foreign competition in TV sets and other consumer electronics.

    Canon sees surveillance cameras - which research firm IHS forecasts will swell by two thirds to a global market of US$23 billion (S$29 billion) by 2017 - as a wide-open playing field with no dominant suppliers and an ideal target for its B2B ambitions.

    The company, which counts the United States Secret Service as a customer, aims to reach annual sales from the sector of about US$1 billion during its next five-year plan from 2016.

    Panasonic said its security-camera division posted sales of 13.4 billion yen (S$174 million) in the latest quarter, and it was aiming for annual growth of 15 per cent.

    Sony said it was also aiming to leverage on its image-sensor technology to become a major player in the sector.

    Canon said its lens and sensor technology will position it well to shoot to the top of the sector, which is packed with smaller firms and few major players besides Sweden's Axis.