You know you’re at a “different” kind of trade show when one of the speakers presents a video of his eye being removed during some rather graphic surgery and then tells the gathering he is looking to have a digital camera attached to his replacement eye to “less intrusively” film his next documentary on the future of surveillance in the world.
That fascinating bit of news was just a part of the annual 6Sight Conference held in Monterey, Ca. last week as the imaging industry took stock of its present while taking a long, serious look at its future.
The aforementioned one-eyed filmmaker is one Rob Spence, a Canadian whose film credits include Toronto Sucks, an examination of why the rest of Canada has a general disdain for the city of Toronto. Spence was on hand at 6Sight as he is looking for a company that can (and actually several have) develop a video camera that he can attach to his fake eye in order to film his next project.
One of the companies that might be a good fit, no pun intended, is Tessera Technologies, Inc. who exhibited at the show, announcing “Small is Big” – a session that featured the future development of extremely small, low-cost “intelligent” camera modules that can be deployed in a wide range of consumer devices including, toys, multi-sensor cameras, automobiles, televisions and remote control devices. www.tessera.com
Another interesting session included Apeer Inc. whose CEO Bob Goldstein demo’d what the company calls “the world’s first all-in-one group communication and collaboration application for digital media.” One of the pieces many people feel is missing from the sharing experience with much of digital imaging today is reaction an intimacy as many consumers simple send images off in an e-mail or post them to an online gallery and that’s that – there’s no actual interaction with family or friends.
The Apeer technology demonstrated how it can transform post-and-share photo applications into instantly interactive social networking experiences. The Apeer Professional is a new and unique vehicle for communicating with friends and technology enables synchronous and instant multi-user, participatory exchanges where all parties can simultaneously view photos, hear music, and see videos in real time over the Internet – all in one window. Apeer also provides conversational tools with built-in voice and chat for what they call “a very robust interactive experience.” And that it was for those that were at their 6Sight session.
“The surge of professional and user-generated graphics, photos and video content for use as entertainment and communications called for a new, next-generation tool for instantly and simultaneously sharing this content either one to one or to a group where all parties can participate,” said Goldstein. “Apeer creates compelling visual networking experiences by connecting individuals or groups to digital media in ways never before possible.” HYPERLINK “http://www.apeer.com/”www.apeer.com.
The nagging issue of shutter-lag in point-and-shoot digital cameras was addressed by Swedish tech firm Scalado as they demo’d their Scalado Camera Engine and Scalado SpeedTags technology at the show. The combo essentially, according to the company, improves JPEG image handling performance by effectively managing the large files produced by high-resolution images, enables zero-shutter lag, burst capturing and instant zoom/pan in the camera.” (www.scalado.com/products/camera-solution/
“Thanks to the new technology, manufacturers can now offer real-time viewing and capturing of high-resolution images, totally eliminating shutter lag. As a result, camera phone users can finally take memorable photos instead of missing the moment,” explained Sami Niemi CTO of Scalado.
Demonstrating the technology in a camera phone, Scalado explained that this new solution allows photographers using a camera phone to instantly capture multi-megapixel images without any “shutter lag”, thereby freezing the exact moment of capture. As everyone who has ever used a point-and-shoot camera or camera phone will attest, only the more advanced point-and-shoot digicams and DSLRs have thus far been capable of managing the delay between pressing the capturing button and actually saving the view finder image as a captured high resolution picture.
“By providing instant random access to the captured JPEG, the Scalado Camera Solution allows unprecedented JPEG handling performance, as well as faster image browsing in the photo gallery. The result is a mobile imaging solution that can provide up to 20 frames/second instant full-resolution image handling, instant zoom/pan at the moment the image is captured, and burst-mode image capture. As with shutter lag, fast burst-mode image capture – the rapid capture of multiple images – has until now been associated only with expensive, high-end cameras or expensive additional hardware processing,” Niemi added.
Scalado is working with giants such as Texas Instruments (TI), Symbian and OmniVision to bring this solution to market very shortly.
Kawasaki Kills ‘Em
The always entertaining and equally informative Guy Kawasaki gave a second day keynote that focused in on his “Reality Check” for retail/business today. He listed “10 Things You Should Do” to be run a better business. They are worth a listing here:
1 – Make meaning in what you do. You should be looking to make your customers lives better through what you offer.
2- Do your products create the next curve? This thought generally centered on staying away from sameness – make you location better by making it unique.
3 – The Total Experience – are you offering this?
4 – Why do you exist? Can you tell your customers this in just a few words?
5 – Can you explain your location’s mission statement in less than 30 seconds?
6 – You shouldn’t need a big marketing budget to tell your story. Your story should be more obvious than that.
7 – Are you high and to the right – meaning are you unique and do you carry great value?
8 – Do you give your customers good demos – if not, you really need to get good at this.
9 – Do you hire “Imperfect People” meaning – look for people who will love and buy into what it is you do – don’t always be married to experience on a resume.
10 – Treat your staff well – don’t ask them to do things you yourself wouldn’t do.
Table at the Round
The event also included a spirited analyst round table with a few of the imaging industry’s better equipped experts having at it over topics ranging from evolving digital camera technology to the imaging industry’s lack of progress on eh storage front. The concept of enabling consumers to “tell their life stories” in an easy and fast manner with their images and video provided some provocative conversation. Most on the panel agreed that the “connected experience” we are hearing so much about in this wireless world we now live in needs, “To better enable consumers to bring all their content together seamlessly and allow them to do a variety of things with it,” explained NPD’s Liz Cutting.
One thing all the panelists agreed on was that image tagging, search and retrieval is a big issue the industry must address, and quickly. Lyra’s Steve Hoffenberg felt it was, “More important issue than image security.” He added, “It appears as though the software addressing the when and the where is there but the who is missing and that’s the most important part.”
Despite the fact the panel agreed this “holy grail” software solution is coming, at least one member felt the industry is beholden to a rather famous daytime talk show host before help arrives. “The industry needs Oprah to lose all of her images. Then, and only then, it will become a national crisis and we’ll see a solution,” PMA’s Gary Pageau quipped. No truth to the rumor Ms. Winfrey is keynoting at the 2009 PMA.
All in all, 6Sight has evolved into an important stop on the imaging trade show tour, one that is certainly worth keeping a “bionic” eye on. We’ll take a look at more of what went on at 6Sight in the weeks ahead.