Report: Declining prices leads to increase in thermal camera shipments

According to a new report from IHS, the market for uncooled thermal imaging cameras is expected to  see high unit shipment growth of 25 percent over the next five years, which is close the twice the rate of the traditional CCTV and video surveillance market. The research firm said that this anticipated high growth rate is being caused by “steep declines” in average selling prices, thus making thermal cameras more appealing to commercial security applications.

Although uncooled thermal cameras, which can see in complete darkness, cover wide areas and are not adversely impacted by bad weather conditions , are ideal for commercial security; they have previously been considered too expensive and had limited impact in the market. However, IHS says that some companies have dropped prices by more than 20 percent in recent years.

“Two major reasons for the price decline that the industry is currently experiencing. These are increased competition, and new technology developments,” Oliver Philippou, report author and market analyst for video surveillance at IHS said in a statement.  

 In addition, the research firm said it also expects increased competition from new manufacturers entering the thermal market to impact prices. Traditional visible light camera manufacturers are expected to have new and renewed interest in the uncooled thermal camera market within the next 18 to 24 months. This will allow these manufacturers to offer total video surveillance solutions on large scale projects.

In fact, some companies are expanding their product range and have begun to offer lower priced entry-level products. These entry level products would have lower specifications than some current products and are expected to be used to target new end user markets that are not currently being serviced by thermal cameras.

With military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, government funding for uncooled thermal cameras has also slowed, causing some companies with strong military ties to offer much less expensive versions of their cameras to the commercial market.  

“However, the high price decline will mean that revenue growth will be limited for the next couple of years growing, before experiencing increasingly higher growth over this reports forecast period to 2017,”  Philippou concluded. 

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