The Era of Smart Cameras
First Film, Then Digital, And Now Smart
March 15, 2018, Bruno Jacobsen
First you had film. Then you had digital cameras. And it sort of seemed that was as far as it would go. After all, what else was there? Well, we are now entering the era of smart cameras.
Just recently, Nikon, Sony, and other well-known camera companies have announced the NICE alliance.
NICE, which stands for Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystem, would be an ecosystem that uses software shared by all manufacturers. So no matter what camera you use or where you bought it from, they would use the same cloud, AI, and software - much like Android for smartphones.
According to Digital Trends, there are several advantages to this. First, they would share the same AI infrastructure, which means smart cameras could use advanced features created by other manufacturers or third-parties.
Second, third party developers could join in and develop new applications or features. This is akin to what currently happens in the smartphone market, with Google Play or the App Store.
Third, imagine you're buying cameras primarily for security. In this case, you wouldn't have to be tied up with one sole manufacturer. In other words, you would be able to have a range of different types of cameras, working together seemlessly to keep your home or family safe.
And finally, it could extend the camera's lifespan through software updates and forward compatibility.
This isn't a done deal though. As TechRadar notes, NICE isn't necessarily guaranteed to succeed. They aren't like to do well without the support of Google and other leaders in the smart cameras market. And there's no real compelling argument for Google and other companies to hand over the progress they have made.
Nevertheless, it's nothing short of interesting to see how far cameras and photos have come to become smart. And to continue to follow the progress made in these areas.
Google's own Clips, for instance, is a different kind of smart camera. It wants to do all the work, from identifying happy scenes to capturing those moments. And according to this Farhad Manjoo, writing for the New York Times, it works pretty well.
Other cameras, like those on Apple phones, have been smart in different ways. For instance, with the latest iPhone X, the camera recognizes your face and unlocks the phone for you. And Manjoo notes that the startup Lighthouse AI, is doing the same for homes.
This is a good example of how technology has begun to shift, from making things digital, to making things much smarter. And seeing how fast AI is progressing, there's still much more to come.
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