Chinese startup applies AI to webcams in the era of remote work

by nativetechdoctor

Remo Tech believes that advanced features like motion tracking and AI image quality improvement can change users’ webcam usage habits.

While the Covid-19 pandemic and the US-China tech war are holding back some parts of the economy Chinese , the webcam Shenzhen-based maker’s business is booming. thanks to both of these factors.

The South China Morning Post quoted Remo Tech CEO Liu Bo as saying that since launching the Obsbot Tiny camera in November 2020, the company has sold tens of thousands of units and tripled its revenue in 2021. Liu sees a lot of room for growth as users become more familiar with the benefits of AI webcams. Remo Tech manufactures artificial intelligence (AI) 4K cameras that are used to track users to ensure they are always in the center of the frame.

“It’s not that people don’t have a need for motion tracking or better image quality, they just don’t realize they need them. Just like when Nokia keyboard phones were popular, most people don’t like the large touch screen because they’re used to physical keyboards. But they will realize how new technologies greatly improve their experience after actually seeing it,” Liu said in the interview.

Remo Tech offers many other benefits to using a webcam beyond motion tracking. The smart camera automatically adjusts exposure and white balance, and provides simple gesture control for tasks like zooming and tracking stops. According to Remo Tech, these smart features are thanks to Chinese-made AI chips, which have seen a production boom since the US sanctioned Huawei in 2019, cutting the HiSilicon chip unit out of sources. provide advanced semiconductor products and tools from abroad.

“We used to have no choice but to use HiSilicon chips, because the others weren’t good enough. But after HiSilicon was hacked, there are already a number of domestic suppliers with strong capacity. Hardware manufacturers like us have benefited,” Liu said.

Mr. Liu founded Remo Tech in 2016. The company now offers two different versions of the Tiny camera, both of which cost significantly more than the average webcam. The 1,080p version sells for $199, while the 4k version is $269. On Amazon , many webcams sell for under $100, some for less than $20.

The growing demand for webcams during the pandemic Covid- 19 seems to have impacted Remo Tech’s global sales. Mr. Liu said 95% of the company’s customers come from outside China , nearly half in the US. While some people buy cameras for distance learning and live streaming, most Remo Tech buyers use Tiny cameras for video conferencing.

To continue its growth, Remo Tech bets that Obsbot Tiny will change the way people interact with webcams. According to Mr. Liu, the product’s AI capabilities will create new habits for users. However, he admits that most people are probably comfortable with the webcam they already own, usually one that comes pre-installed on a laptop. The big challenge will be convincing first-time buyers that they need something new.

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