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Ambarella Inc   (AMBA)
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Ambarella Inc

Business Description


We are a leading developer of semiconductor processing solutions for video that enable high-definition, or HD, video capture, analysis, sharing and display. A device that captures video includes four primary components: a lens, an image sensor, a video processor and storage memory. The video processor is the most complex of these four primary components as it converts raw video input into a format that can be stored and distributed efficiently and, in some cases, analyzes the video data to automate processes. We combine our processor design capabilities with our expertise in video and image processing, computer vision algorithms and software to provide a technology platform that is designed to be easily scalable across multiple applications in a variety of markets and enable rapid and efficient product development. Our system-on-a-chip, or SoC, designs fully integrate HD video processing, image processing, computer vision functionality, audio processing, and system functions onto a single chip, delivering exceptional video and image quality at high compression rates, differentiated functionality and low power consumption.

The flexibility of our technology platform enables us to deliver our solutions for numerous applications in multiple markets. We initially focused our technology platform on the infrastructure market, where we were able to differentiate our solutions for broadcast customers based on high performance, low power consumption, transmission and storage efficiency and small form factor. Leveraging these same capabilities, we then designed high-performance solutions for the camera market. As a result of the advantages of our solutions, we became a leading provider of video processing solutions for cameras that capture both HD video and high-resolution still images simultaneously.

In the camera market, our platform enables the creation of high-quality video content in wearable cameras, automotive cameras, professional and consumer Internet Protocol, or IP, security cameras, cameras incorporated into unmanned aerial vehicles, also referred to as UAVs or drones, and virtual reality cameras, also referred to as 360° cameras. Our revenue over the last three years has been generated primarily from sales of our solutions for incorporation into specialized video and image capture devices such as wearable sports cameras, automotive aftermarket cameras, IP security cameras and UAVs. In the infrastructure market, our solutions efficiently manage IP video traffic, broadcast encoding and transcoding and IP video delivery applications.

Over the last several years, we have been expanding our development efforts on computer vision technology that will complement our image processing and video compression technology. We are focused on developing advanced computer vision algorithms and high-performance, low-power hardware platforms to enhance processing acceleration. In 2017, we introduced our first computer vision chip, the CV1 SoC. We believe that enhanced computer vision performance will be critical both to our current video markets, including IP security, wearable and UAV cameras, as well as future markets such as automotive OEM cameras for advanced driving assistance systems, or ADAS, and autonomous vehicles, and robotics. To accelerate our computer vision development, we acquired VisLab S.r.l., or VisLab, in June 2015. VisLab is a developer of computer vision algorithms and intelligent control systems for autonomous driving applications, and we are incorporating its algorithm technology into advanced computer vision solutions for the automotive market, as well as other markets.

Video traffic is growing at a significant rate. The market trends that are fundamentally impacting video content creation and distribution include the following:

Increasing Number of Video Capture Devices. Traditionally, HD video was captured using large, power intensive and expensive dedicated devices. Improvements in HD video capture quality, device size and cost have allowed video capture functionality to be incorporated into a broad range of devices. Today, smartphones, tablets, wearable cameras, automotive cameras, IP security cameras and UAVs, are increasingly including both HD video capture and high-quality still image capture. In addition to the significant growth in the number of devices, new applications are emerging for video capture devices, including law enforcement, personal security and social media.

Growing User-Generated Content. Historically, most video content was created by media companies, professional studios and large broadcasters that possessed the equipment, expertise and other resources necessary to produce and distribute such programming. However, with the proliferation of low-cost digital video devices and greater penetration of broadband connectivity, individuals are playing a greater role in content creation and distribution. Websites such as YouTube and Facebook have enabled an effective new channel to widely distribute, store and display video and other rich media. In addition to user-created videos, other user-generated content such as video sharing, video conferencing and video instant messaging through services provided by Alphabet Inc., Apple, Inc., Facebook, Inc., Skype and Snap Inc., among others, are becoming increasingly popular.

Broadband Penetration Enabling the Proliferation of the Video Cloud. The adoption of high-speed broadband and the proliferation of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers and connected televisions have allowed consumers to more easily download and share IP video accessed upon demand through the video cloud. The video cloud has led to new business models based on personal content such as streaming video provided by services like YouTube. Additionally, consumers are leveraging the video cloud for security by utilizing an IP camera and cloud infrastructure to watch live HD video streaming on any web connected device. This video cloud application has enabled expansion of the connected home to include intelligent IP surveillance systems that detect activity and then stream encrypted HD video through secure servers and alert end users.

Advancements in Display Technology. The increasing proliferation of HD displays in television and in mobile connected devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets is accelerating HD video content growth. This trend highlights the new paradigm of escalating consumer expectations of video quality, such that video is comparable to high-resolution still images, which drove the transition from standard definition to HD, and we believe will drive the transition to ultra high-definition, or UHD. UHD is commonly referred to as 4K video, which supports up to 4096x2160 pixels per frame, more than four times greater resolution than the current Full HD standard, which supports up to 1920x1080 pixels per frame.

Requirement for Efficient Video Compression. HD video is increasingly a requirement for consumer video cameras, IP security cameras and for the broadcast of television programs, whether via cable, satellite or IP networks. Uncompressed HD video requires massive amounts of digital data to represent it, necessitating the need for video compression technology to reduce data rates for storage or for transmission of video over networks with limited bandwidth. In broadcast television, an upgrade of networks from H.264 video compression technology to the new high efficiency video coding, or HEVC, video compression technology would support the transition of consumers to 4K video. In consumer cameras, the efficiency of the encoding has a significant impact on video quality, recording time and battery life. In IP security cameras, encoding efficiency is important for realizing the highest image quality possible over bandwidth-limited networks, and for minimizing the costs of cloud-based storage of video content. Additionally, the ability to actively adapt the encoding bit-rate based on changing network bandwidth availability provides the highest possible video quality and enables network traffic management.




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