Predictions are famously difficult to make particularly about the future, and most predictions typically say more about the hopes and fears of the author than they truly do about the future.
Recently I wrote about the “Death of Good Cameras” where I questioned the business models of Canon and Nikon and their reliance on the DSLR model. The huge drops in in DLSR sales seem to be bearing that out.
Much of that article was how compute power is redefining what is possible, and that great quality optics are becoming less important where images can be manipulated in Software.
The Light L16 Camera seems to be the next logical step in this transformation. It has 16 lenses of varying focal lengths built in, and depending on the zoom chosen by the user, takes 10 photographs simultaneously. Software then stitches these images together into a 52 mega pixel image.
I think it fascinating Light, a Silicon Valley Startup has completely reimagined what a camera is and how to best capture images. At $1,700 the L16 is not an impulse buy but to points to an interesting future. As a perfect example of a market being redefined, an Excession Event it is, it stands out as a perfect example.
Canon, Nikon and even SONY would never have invented such a device. They think along the well thought through process of improving the existing systems, making a better quality single sensor, or more camera bodies for the huge range of existing lenses. Light could think differently because they were not wedded to the Status Quo.
Whether the professional market jumps to this new technology is up to debate. At this time it looks highly intriguing, but it’s not shipping and therefore the reaction somewhat unknowable as a result. What the evidence does point to is that the days of relatively dumb cameras attached to high quality glass lenses are number, and that innovative ideas in this space are beginning to take off. For another example take a look at the work Lytro is doing with their Lytro camera.
It does seem completely reasonable to assume that the technology might well be able to be installed in smaller, cheaper devices in the future, even Smart Phones. It certainly is enabling a lot of people to reconsider what success in the camera market looks like.
The Video Conferencing world
It also has implications for the Video Conferencing and general meeting room camera world. Low cost, high quality devices are in vogue and the costly expensive Hardware units are increasingly looking like technology of a bygone age. I think products like the Light L16 and Smart Phones are helping redefine for users what they can expect to achieve through even modest looking devices. With over 20 million meeting rooms globally still with zero Video Conferencing technologies installed, the expensive, costly “Bg Tin” solutions just aren’t going to cut it. Ultimately ubiquity wins by empowering users to use the Software tool of their choice along with the image and audio capture devices persuasively installed into every meeting room.
As Dr Metcalfe state “A network’s utility is grows at the square of the number of nodes in it”
The future is all about Software based solutions coupled with low cost, high availability. That means mobile, desktop and lots and lots meeting room.
For further reading on the changing face of the market take a look at these articles.
About the Author
Simon is a contrarian. He makes a habit of being the guy who questions the orthodoxy, the guy who doesn’t believe it just because the good and the great said it’s true. This has not always been good for his ascent up the corporate greasy pole. However it’s been very good for his employers if they are prepared to listen.
The Book The End of Certainty "How to thrive when playing by the rules is a losing strategy" explains why groupthink and the doing what you’ve always done is no longer the right move.
To keep tabs on his work please follow him on: ExcessionEvent.com