Sony prepares subscription service for developers of AI products


TOKYO – Sony Group will begin offering subscriptions to artificial intelligence development tools to rely more on recurring revenue and less on hardware sales.

The conglomerate said Wednesday it was preparing to launch its Aitrios AI sensor platform later this year in Japan, the United States and Europe. Leveraging Sony’s advanced sensor expertise, the platform is designed to help companies streamline the development and implementation of sensor solutions.

A subscription gives the customer access to a workspace, including tools and software development kits, as well as a marketplace where developers can register their AI and applications and make them available to other developers elsewhere.

According to Sony, companies working on AI product prototypes can reduce their development time by using reference designs provided by Aitrios.

The electronics and entertainment company relies on the platform to attract developers working on AI for cameras, application developers who use AI, and camera manufacturers and module integrators who develop AI cameras. The company announced that retailers, smart city developers and smart factory operators have shown interest in the service.

The platform leverages Sony’s IMX500 AI-enabled intelligent vision sensor, which enables high-speed edge AI processing and extracts minimal data, making data easier for solution providers.

The high quality AI image sensor will also reduce the need to rely solely on cloud systems. The IMX500 chip can control the volume of data and thus reduce transmission latency and power consumption. It can also address the privacy concerns that come with using cloud services.

Eita Yanagisawa, senior general manager of a division at Sony Semiconductor Solutions, said the platform should “be compatible not only with the IMX500 but also with a variety of Sony sensors.”

Image sensors have become an important business area for Sony in recent years. However, shipments of image sensors for smartphones to Huawei Technologies declined due to the trade war between the US and China, prompting the group to accelerate its pursuit of recurring revenue streams.

The company has been able to generate stable gaming revenues by introducing subscription services and is less reliant on physical hardware sales. PlayStation Plus, which generates monthly subscription income by accessing online multiplayer games, has over 46 million members.

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