Tuesday, January 17, 2012
By Bayle Emlein
In the realm of photography , after a good run of a century or so, the film imaging industry has been disrupted. Jeff Hayes of InfoTrends reports that we've moved from the digital era to the connected era, and we are heading rapidly to an intelligent, mutually aware era. For many consumers in most situations, the camera on a smartphone is good enough. The loss in quality over a traditional camera is more than balanced by the convenience of the digital platform. Phones and tablets compete with paper as a final display medium and by the end of the decade the number of pictures stored electronically will dwarf those that reach paper. While users may still seek out paper prints for special occasions--weddings, graduations, and the like--the purpose of most photos is simply to share an experience and electronic media is faster and more flexible.
The number of images is growing at ten times the rate of the population. Pictures currently dwell in scattered locations on media, Facebook, the cloud. Jeff feels that the future of the "photo industry" lies in helping consumers create desired products and results without bogging them down in a morass of arcane technical processes along the way. Photo books, posters, customized printing: the industry is already vastly different than it was mid 20th Century, when it developed film into 4" x 6" prints. Stay tuned, and stay nimble.