CMOS APS technology allows including signal processing in the sensor array. Inclusion of functionality however will come at a cost both financially and in the field of limited applicability. Based on two real world examples (micro digital sunsensor core and lightning flash detector for Meteosat Third Generation (MTG)) it will be demonstrated that large system gains can be obtained by devising smart focal planes. Therefore it is felt that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for some applications, making it worth to spend the effort on system integration.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.