There’s no denying that smartphones have extended the world of digital photography. It’s hard to beat the convenience, ease of use and connectivity of a smartphone that’s with us during nearly every waking hour. But you know better than most that there are limits to what a smartphone can accomplish when it comes to photography.
Capturing life’s important moments often requires capabilities still only found on a digital camera. Those moments often occur in low light or at high speed, perhaps bringing a subject up close from a distance or simply gaining a wide angle to capture a landscape. Other times more specialized situations require fine-tuning a setting to make sure things are just right. Let’s not forget about resolution and optical qualities that reveal themselves on high-resolution displays or prints.
As long as there are people with the passion for photography, there will be a need for devices that serve this market. However, innovation has changed the ground rules for what enthusiasts and professionals alike expect from their cameras. We are moving beyond simple device features to a world shaped not by a moment but rather by an entire experience associated with photography. A sampling of the power of this shift is the willingness of consumers to pick ease of sharing over image quality. Sadly, some pictures that should never be shared are shared!
At Eye-Fi, our customers are living in the middle of this transformation. Our latest offering, the Eye-Fi Mobi wireless memory card, was designed to bridge the world of instant, effortless sharing via mobile devices combined with the power of a digital camera. For us, this is an important moment because it represents the beginning of a transformation of the entire photography experience that begins with the moment of capture but extends to the entire life of an image.
Our research indicates that customers with a standard SD card leave the images on the camera an average of four to six weeks. Add connectivity to that equation and, for over 60% of our customers, the images are not just transferred but shared within 24 hours. These customers are realizing the full benefits of their camera without compromising the convenience of their mobile device. In doing so, they are developing new expectations from their photography solutions.
In the future, we believe customers will reasonably expect a no-compromise solution that delivers the best of photography combined with the convenience of mobile and access of cloud-based services. With such solutions, photo enthusiasts can focus on taking beautiful, memorable photos and keep them at the cutting edge of what they can do with their photographs once taken.
Today hundreds of models representing millions of cameras, equipped with embedded technology from Eye-Fi, are ready to enable this no-compromise solution. Camera makers are increasingly including native Wi-Fi connectivity into their devices with more connected features to rival the smartphone on the way.
The connection from the camera to a host device, however, is only the beginning. Mobile and cloud-based software solutions will link cameras to vital services that secure, archive, share and display the images in a manner chosen by the photographer. Best of all, these capabilities will be delivered as a singular experience rather than a fragmented collection of disparate technologies.
The digital camera is not dead, but its future will be dominated by capabilities that extend beyond the device itself. Achieving this transformation will require an industry-wide effort.
The smartphone ecosystem was shaped by decades of network-based communications and computing. The imaging industry must learn from this example and apply its unique expertise to deliver a delightful solution for photographers. We are excited to play a part in this evolution.
Matt DiMaria, the CEO of Eye-Fi, is an experienced Silicon Valley executive with a background in marketing and international business. DiMaria has led teams that created more than $2 billion in value for shareholders and employees by delivering market-leading products and services to thousands of companies and millions of consumers.