Let's Embrace our Camera-filled World and Stop Being Careless with Pixels
ArcSoft is one of those technology companies you don’t hear much about yet they are a super important player in the market. The company’s software technology is some of the most advanced in the market and powers regular cameras and smartphone cameras around the world. And with Samsung as their biggest customer and over 1 billion Android smartphones in the market, ArcSoft is helping to make many people’s camera experience that much better.
The ArcSoft technology includes advanced algorithms to improve image capture allowing photos to come out better, but also making the entire process fast and easy for the customer. ArcSoft is a big reason why smartphone cameras are getting better and offering more features such as HDR, better low light captures, panorama’s, and more.
When I recently sat down with Todd Peters, President of ArcSoft, North America there was one thing in particular he said that really made me think, “We’re careless with pixels.” And he’s right, we are. At least right now. We have all this photo and video data that isn’t being utilized to its full potential. I knew then that ArcSoft had big plans for its software.
Yes, ArcSoft’s software is already used by billion dollar companies, but there’s still so much room to grow. “Anywhere there are lenses ArcSoft wants to be,” said Mr. Peters, which opened up a really interesting discussion about the future.
A New Dimension in Sports
Let’s take a look at sports, every professional sports league has live broadcasts of their games, right? Ok, so once the game is over that broadcast is useless? It doesn’t have to be. According to Mr. Peters this is an excellent opportunity to stop being careless with pixels. The NBA is actually already sharing data gathered by cameras in certain stadiums. But what about taking it one step further by introducing connected wearable clothing and equipment that could allow coaches to better understand player strengths, or how best to play defense against a particular team. This is the kind of technology can be introduced in pretty much any sports league. Another recent article, discusses how Formula One racing is using big data to improve car performance.
Of course this is great for coaches, but it can also be great for fans who will have access to new data and statistics too that can be integrated into live broadcasts. Imagine during the broadcast of the Super Bowl, the broadcasters were able to give you a really educated guess as to what kind of play to expect based on field position, time on the clock, and any other number of variables because of technology that could analyze old video broadcasts. I mean, that’s just really cool “big data.”
Curated Shopping Experiences Like Never Before
How about shopping? The retail in-store shopping industry/experience has changed very little over the past two decades. Using intelligent imaging technology you could improve and enhance the entire shopping experience, perhaps making malls more popular than ever.
“Being able to recognize a human face with a simple camera (not a smartphone camera) is like having Minority Report come to life,” said Mr. Peters.
Here’s an example provided by Mr. Peters that, to me, sounds like an incredible way to utilize all of the pixels:
You’re driving around a mall parking lot, and a heads-up display guides your car to the only open parking spot in the garage.
Now you’re looking for some new sunglasses. An app scans your face using your smartphone camera and directs you to the nearest sunglass retailer with glasses perfect for the proportions of your face. You could also get a digital coupon or a target ad from the retailer or even the manufacturer.
You are walking through a shopping area and the technology in the billboard recognizes that you are a certain age and gender. The billboard content changes to target what you may be looking for, such as that perfect pair of sandals, if you are a woman, or if you are an older-looking male, perhaps the billboard will shift to show that golf clubs are 20 percent off at the local retailer down the street. Or it can show you sports scores or highlights from the game you are missing due to your shopping outing.
Your sulky teen needs a haircut. Now. He agrees to go, on condition that he can check out the possibilities digitally first, so the stylist knows exactly what to do, with no misunderstanding.
“Being able to manage and effectively use visual data – sort it, classify it, store it – will be huge as the Internet of Things connects more and more things with cameras and sensors,” says Mr. Peters.
A New Take on Getting from Point A to Point B
How about driving? You’ve probably heard about Google’s self-driving cars by now, but did you know that camera technology is a major factor in how self-driving cars work? If you think about it, it makes sense, the car has to see where it’s going in order to drive — a camera paired with a laser range finder, wheel sensor, and radar units are integral parts of make up the technology you see inside and outside those self-driving machines. The path to commercialization of self-driving cars is still quite a way away, but Todd Peters believes that babies born in the year 2020 will never have to manually drive a car. I can’t say I disagree.
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