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Emerging Applications for FPGA Technology: Altera Targets Next-Generation Video Analytics Market Opportunities

Altera Corporation on October 18th announced the release of a video analytics solution based around its Cyclone IV FPGA.  This product enables 1080 pixel HD video at a high frame rate of 30 fps. Incorporated alongside the Altera FPGA is Eutecus' multi-core Video Analytics engine (MVE) intellectual property (IP).  The FPGA device is targeted at a range of video surveillance applications, including traffic surveillance and security applications. Altera claims the video analytics' solution allows better management of user-defined rules, while not impeding performance.

VDC Research Group views video analytics as an emerging market segment with robust growth potential. In fact, VDC Research Group covered the FPGA market in its Embedded Processors: 2010-2014 Global Market Demand Analysis report and expects growth in the high teens for the overall FPGA market going forward. A portion of this growth will certainly come at expense of rival technologies like DSPs and ASICs.  In addition to the novel solutions that FPGAs are enabling, the increased flexibility and lower non-recurring engineering costs of FPGAs are also driving the adoption of FPGAs.

In the final analysis, VDC believes the combined product from Altera and Eutecus responds to a number of trends in the market place.  One is the increasing level of integration. While a solution in the past might have incorporated a DSP and an assortment of peripheral technologies, this one integrates the video analytics engine IP alongside the NIOS II cores of the Altera FPGA. Another trend is the demand for increased performance. In order to enable the next level of video analytics, the video streams must be of high quality to enable detection of very specific events (traffic violations, security breaches, etc.). Grainy video simply cannot be used to run rules centered on highly detailed events.  No doubt, competing FPGA suppliers are taking note and on track to developing rival solutions.