photokina: 18.–21.05.2022 #photokina

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More than smartphones & cameras: imaging as an economic factor

From the classic photo camera through smart, everyday all-rounders to special solutions for research: the imaging industry is omnipresent and influences our lives decisively. Have a look at current and coming developments together with us.

Things are really heating up in the market for smartphones. According to IDC, the number of units sold in the first quarter of 2019 declined by 6.6 percent to 310.8 million units in comparison with the previous year, but this is still a great deal in absolute terms. Interesting here is the shift in power relations within the smartphone market: Samsung lost 8.1 percent and reached 71.9 million units in Q1/2019, while Huawei, with 59.1 million units, not only grew by nearly 50 percent, but is also quickly catching up worldwide. Apple in turn declined by nearly 30 percent in Q1 and sold only 36.4 million iPhones.

The moral of the story: consumers around the world love innovations that offer real benefits. Huawei understands this, consistently pursues this strategy and is attacking the Japanese and Korean TV elite with broadsides. By all accounts, 5G television with 8K resolution is at the starting block and is ready to reinvent the streaming world with the corresponding Huawei smartphones as a control station.

Maximal connectivity thanks to smartphone & bluetooth

The smartphone market demonstrates in an exemplary fashion the immense power that distinguishes the imaging industry as a worldwide economic factor. This is because one of the most important purchase arguments of the smart everyday all-rounders is the integrated camera, with which life can be constantly preserved for posterity. Linked with social networks, personal experiences can be shared immediately with friends and acquaintances. The theme of connectivity in any case also remains an absolute trend theme in 2020. This is also evident with practically all new cameras introduced in 2019. Connection via Bluetooth with the smartphone is lived routine and enables the distribution of the pictures taken in the World Wide Web.

Trend toward mirrorless cameras

Speaking of the camera industry. Here one continues to see a positive development in the segment of mirrorless system cameras with interchangeable lens connections. In the past year, they have overtaken the classic reflex camera in popularity and are convincing ever more consumers. The camera revolution, which started in Japan more than ten years ago, has now become a worldwide boom and the great hope of the industry, which has in the past been confronted with one or the other setback. However, it is apparent that manufacturers are listening to consumers and are adapting their products accordingly . Especially in this year of the Olympic Games in Japan, we can look forward to several exciting new products.

Artificial intelligence in imaging

A theme of relevance not only for the camera industry here is artificial intelligence, or AI. This is being deployed in an ever increasing number of areas and offers entirely new possibilities. For example, in research, in which, for example, X-ray images can be more precisely evaluated with the help of AI and special lenses. Also an absolute top theme for the imaging industry is autonomous mobility. Elementary components here are cameras, sensors and software, meaning the main pillars of the imaging industry. Nonetheless, or perhaps due to this, it always pays to keep an eye on this segment.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence offers the imaging industry completely new possibilities.

One example is the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv. Conventional sensors are being combined with cameras, software and artificial intelligence there in current projects. In the process, this results in applications like Intelligent Traffic Control from Microsoft and Nvidia, which should assure better traffic data, or the Adasky start-up, which works with infrared cameras to record the smallest movements and thus plays an important role in autonomous driving.

Another company also presented a sensor that is installed in the car or elsewhere and can do astonishing things: purely optically, and thus without contact, it records health values of people like blood pressure, pulse or respiration even at great distances. It can also measure alcohol concentration in the blood. All of these technologies have their origin in camera technology. This demonstrates impressively that the imaging industry develops considerably more than only cameras and lenses for end consumers, but is also an essential component in state-of-the-art areas with unlimited possibilities.