The IR imaging industry is booming: Autoliv, Ulis, Umicore, Heimann Sensors and others give their vision of the market at the first Executive IR Imaging Forum

Initially focused on military applications, the uncooled IR cameras market has grown significantly into new market segments during the last 10 years. Yole Développement’s analysts have identified 3 main applications – thermography, automotive and surveillance & security – that could reach 1.5 million units by 2021. 

In addition, consumer applications linked to the explosion of the smartphone market are now in high growth mode and could add more than 10 million units by 2021, as detailed in the optimistic scenario of Yole Développement’s IR Imaging report entitled Uncooled IR Imaging Technology & Market Trends report (Aug. 2016).
Step by step, the IR imaging industry is getting out of high-end applications and moving towards larger-volume consumer applications.
In early September, “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company Yole Développement (Yole) and its partner CIOE organized a conference to highlight the latest technical innovations and analyse players’ positioning and strategies. The first Executive IR Imaging Forum took place in Shenzhen, China, alongside the 18th China International Optoelectronic Expo 2016, to discuss the latest technical breakthroughs, tomorrow’s challenges and the way to success.
With this event, along with the IR Forum and the Sapphire Forum the same week and at the same location, the consulting company confirmed its strong position in the field of uncooled IR imaging and reaffirmed its strategy of development within the Greater China area.
Yole’s analysts invite you to discover the memorable moments of the first IR imaging Forum. We look forward to seeing you in 2017. Stay tuned!

In just one day, the first Executive IR Imaging Forum gathered more than 80 experts from the IR imaging industry. With 12 speakers and 2 keynote speakers – Stuart Klapper, Managing Director of Autoliv Global Night Vision and Joerg Schieferdecker, CEO and Co-Founder at Heimann Sensors – Yole and CIOE created a strategic place to offer a clear picture of the industry, understand the current technical and market challenges and identify business opportunities. Both partners defined a powerful agenda covering various market segments, including surveillance & security, thermography, automotive and consumer, as well as the entire supply chain, from optics to systems and sensors. Networking and debate were also part of the IR Forum ecosystem and fully appreciated by all attendees.

“The first Executive IR Imaging Forum was a great success and we are proud of it. There were a lot of debates that took place during presentations and networking periods. That is what we wanted: to bring people together to meet, think, identify business opportunities and interact over future developments,” says Jean-Christophe Eloy, President & CEO of Yole. “Yole’s aim is to help the growth of the IR imaging industry and create a dedicated community”.

“The Forum turned out to be quite successful,” adds Eric Yang, Secretary General of CIOE. “It became an important meeting place where IR imaging manufacturers, experts and application users could discuss the latest market trends. We are pleased to work with Yole’s team to provide technical seminars to all optoelectronics professionals.”

The uncooled IR imaging industry is booming, confirms Yole’s analyst. Shipments are expected to see a 15.8% increase in CAGR between 2016 and 2021. In conjunction with the industry explosion and the latest news, the Forum offered speakers the opportunity to play the game fairly and comment on the status of the industry:

  • For example, the IR Forum has been selected by ULIS, an IR Imaging Forum sponsor, to present the details of its latest product, Micro80 Gen2®, an 80×80 sensor optimised for easy integration into mass production assembly processes. ULIS’s first thermal sensor designed with unique WLP  technology was developed for smart building applications.
    “WLP technology is developing rapidly in the uncooled IR imaging industry, specifically for consumer applications requiring low-cost, integrated sensors,” says Dr Eric Mounier, Senior Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. He adds, “This new product reaffirms ULIS’s strategic market position in the smart building market segment.”
  •  Stuart Klapper from Autoliv probably gave one of the most interesting talks about night vision for cars. “Current challenging situations, including pedestrian and animal accidents, will drive the need for infrared technologies,” Klapper stated. Autoliv is heavily involved in the development of innovative imaging solutions for safe driving – but that’s not all. Autoliv is working on sophisticated detection algorithms, and its Joint Venture with Volvo Cars (signed Sept. 2016 – Source: i-micronews) shows its commitment to autonomous driving. 
  • On his part, Joerg Schieferdecker, CEO & Co-Founder of Heimann Sensors, made a relevant comparison of the different uncooled IR imaging technologies and analysed their general properties, advantages and disadvantages.
  • Romain Fraux, Project Manager at System Plus Consulting, a Yole sister company, also attended the IR Forum and presented a detailed comparison of thermal imagers with microbolometers for smartphones applications. Fraux’s presentation included products by FLIR, SEEK Thermal, Therm-App and Thermal Expert.

At the IR Forum, much information was exchanged and discussed by participants. Attendees enjoyed the agenda, which balanced networking sessions with relevant talks. Though there were a number of inspiring presentations, several stood out to Yole analysts: INO spoke about a very smart combination of IR detection and smart illumination, Mikrosens discussed a low-cost approach using standard CMOS processes for IR sensors, Umicore gave a comprehensive presentation on moulded lenses, and WLO  talked about long-wave IR applications. And there were many more.

So what’s next? Yole and CIOE enjoyed collaborating and building the first edition of the Executive IR Imaging Forum. The organizations combined their expertise to propose a great program to the world’s IR imaging community. The sheer number of attendees proved the success of the conference, with almost 50% coming from the Chinese market.

And that’s not all: Yole and CIOE are now announcing future collaborations, including a second edition of the Executive IR Imaging Forum. Go ahead and book your ticket to Shenzhen – dates will be announced soon!
Contact: Clotilde Fabre (