Look at the Future

Look at the Future

By Ron Leach, Publisher

A leading software company and a respected market research/consulting firm recently shared their vision on upcoming technological developments, market trends, and anticipated consumer behavior that will influence the future of digital photography. Corel Corporation's software solutions are popular with both consumers and professional photographers, while Future Image focuses its research expertise through conferences and information services. Both firms share some common views as to how the ongoing evolution of digital imaging solutions will impact those of us who create, share and enjoy photography in the months and years ahead.

Here are some interesting forecasts with regard to the consumer, professional, and business markets: By 2007, over 80% of "home image takers" will have more than 5,000 photo and video files stored on their computers; by 2008, these image takers will have uploaded images to at least three online services; and by 2010, 80% of knowledgeable workers will actively manipulate their photo or video images on a weekly basis.

Expectations for emerging technologies include the prediction that, by 2008, the mainstream standard for point-and-shoot digital cameras will be models offering 10-megapixel resolution and 10X optical zoom capabilities. By late 2007, camera phones in the U.S. are expected to feature the specs that were common not too many years ago with point-and-shoot cameras: 3-megapixel resolution and 3X optical zoom. As is typically the case when technological innovation spurs the introduction of new product configurations, we can anticipate less standardization--not more--as manufactures in various categories push the envelope with regard to the utility and form factor of image --capturing devices.

It shouldn't be surprising to hear (given the increasing popularity of RAW file formats) that we are already witnessing the end of JPEG as the overwhelming imaging standard.

According to Blaine Mathieu, GM of Corel's Digital Imaging Business Unit, software solutions must place a high priority on helping users confront the growing "digital shoebox" dilemma so that their images are more accessible and easier to find and share with others--both in the home and work environments.

We will keep our eye on emerging trends and technologies of interest to digital photographers, and update you regularly in the months ahead.