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Market Trends and Challenges
Feasibility Analysis of the Proposed Solution
Impediments and Challenges
Future Business Opportunities
TABLE OF CONTENTS
For several decades, DSLR cameras have become quite popular among amateur and professional pho-
tographers.The DSLR camera has garnered this popularity due to its ability to capture very high quality
images and its easy operation.To capture high quality pictures, these cameras are fitted with high quality
optical lens, high resolution image sensors,powerful processors, and advanced digital image processing
software. The fancier the camera, the higher the image quality,and the higher the cost. These days, manu-
facturers are competing hard against smart phone cameras to save their marketas well as address product
cost reduction issues.
This is the new mantra in the technological space, where machines can communicate with each other over
wireless networks without any human intervention. In this whitepaper, a novel model is proposed to design
a smarter camera by embracing machine to machine (M2M) technology, to achieve significant cost reduc-
tions in comparison with conventional cameras and without compromising on image quality. This whitepa-
per also highlights some of the known impediments and future business opportunities.
“Everything that can be benefited from the connection will have one”--Ericsson
Digital Single Lens Reflex
Machine to Machine
Third Generation Mobile Technology
Long Term Evolution
Electronic Communications Committee
European Conference of Postal and
Mobile Station International Subscriber
Point and shoot cameras, which are popularly used in smart phones, are now
threatening the market share of DSLR cameras. This is because today’s
smart phone is equipped with a high resolution camera and applications that
help improve picture quality that is good enough to share on Facebook or
other photo sharing applications. However, industry observers are still upbeat
about the future of DSLR cameras, as smart phones are creating more photo-
graphic enthusiasts and they would naturally and gradually move towards
DSLR cameras due to their immensely superior image quality. To stay relevant
in the market these days, manufactures are trying to find innovative solutions
to reduce the cost of the products without compromising on image quality.
Figure 1: Conventional
Digital Camera Model
(ccs or cmos)
Market Trends and Challenges
CF card SD card
The Image Processing Unit (as shown in Figure 1 ) is the brain of any DSLR camera. It
converts raw data captured by the camera’s sensor to the desired image. The quality of
the final image depends on the processing power of the unit and the software used for
digital image processing. At the Iphone-4 launch event in the Worldwide Developer Con-
ference, taking a dig at android phones, Steve Jobs rightly said that the megapixel is not
everything. It is the engineering behind the camera that matters the most. Therefore, a 16
MP camera with a superior processor can capture far superior photographs than a 24 MP
camera. If we compare the price of DSLR cameras in online markets, the camera with the
higher processor unit costs 20-40% more, even if the quality of the optical lens and resolu-
tion of the image sensor remains the same.
In this white paper, we propose a novel solution for designing next generation DSLR cameras by embracing
M2M communication technology. In this model, the functionalities of image processing i.e. processor and
the software, will be removed from the camera and installed in a centralized server.
As shown in Figure 3, these cameras simply capture the raw data from the sensors and inbuilt wireless
modems help to transfer such data over a cellular/wireless network. Image processing will be done at the
server and the processed image is transferred back for users to view it. The central server, which will be
designed to handle large numbers of M2M-enabled cameras, will have very sophisticated hardware and
advanced image processing tools. With high speed network connectivity, the overall processing time will
be a fraction of a second even if the location of the server is a thousand miles away from the photographer.
Moreover, the captured images will be stored in a cloud server and hence, less storage will be required on
The benefit of this arrangement is that it will help to improve the quality of the processed image significantly,
in comparison with conventional cameras. As the image processing unit is no longer required in the
camera, the overall cost of the camera will be much less. However, a wireless modem needs to be installed
in the camera.
Chromebook laptops, which use the Google Chrome operating system, are designed for use when
they are primarily connected to the internet, and can run cloud-based applications. These laptops
are light weight (1-1.5 kg), energy efficient (~7 hour battery life) and cheaper (250 USD) when com-
pared with conventional laptops. The sales of Chromebook laptops have soared by 67% during the
third quarter of 2014, and over six million Chromebook laptops were sold in that year. The increase
in demand is driven by heavy internet users, particularly in educational institutions. The year-on-year
growth statistics show end user openness to embrace the latest technologies.
At the same time, innovative startups like Magic Lantern are developing open source software, which
will be loaded in the memory card of the camera and will process the raw image data. Even Sony is
weighing its options to promote third party developers to build applications for smart phones to com-
municate through Wi-Fi with its cameras. So in the future, we will likely see camera manufactures
relying more and more on third party developers for image processing tools.
In the case of today’s security cameras, centrally located digital video recorders receive the videos,
process them, and compress and store them. Security cameras, basically a dumb terminal, send the
raw video images over a local area network (LAN)/Ethernet. The digital video recorder has all the
intelligence of the system and the responsibility of detecting motion, scheduling, notifying, and rais-
ing alarms. Similarly, there are other existing applications for weather forecasting, and for determining
where the captured data from various sensors are being processed and stored at a centrally located
In my proposed solution, the image processing unit in the camera should be moved to the cloud and
the digital image processing software can be developed either by the manufacturer or the third party
developer. From the above case studies, we can infer that the design of the proposed solution is
both economical and technically viable.
Feasibility Analysis of the Proposed Solution
In this proposed model, high speed network connectivity is a basic necessity for a smooth user
experience. Adventure photographers often go to remote locations and it is highly probable that the
network connectivity is poor in such areas. The camera’s design must therefore be able to address
such connectivity related issues in these locations. Even in urban locations with good network con-
nectivity, these cameras need to compete with a large number of wireless devices to get access to
a network. Current cellular technology - 3G and LTE - are not tailor-made for these kinds of devices.
However, the next generation (5G) mobile technology, which is majorly focused on M2M communi-
cation, will be able to take care of such issues related to network connectivity and reliability. Also,
Google’s project Loon is designed to provide high speed internet service in rural and remote loca-
tions. Another challenge would be to facilitate global roaming so that these cameras can be used
across the globe.
The total number of M2M-enabled connected devices will cross 50 billion by the year 2020. It will
thus become a challenge to provide identities to such large numbers of devices and find suitable
schemes for identification and addressal. These days, mobile devices like cell phones are identified
by 10 digit MSISDN numbers, which can support a maximum of 10 billion devices. The Electronic
Communications Committee (ECC) within the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunica-
tions Administrations (CEPT) has recommended several solutions to resolve issues relating to device
identification and addressal.
Another key challenge would be to protect these cameras from external threats, such as cyber-at-
tacks, viruses and malwares. In addition, the necessary steps must be taken to prevent theft and the
manipulation of images at the cloud server. There are several researches underway in the area of
secure M2M communication, which will be beneficial in designing the security aspects of these types
And finally, the massive amounts of data that would be generated from a large number of camera
sensors will introduce several computational complexities. For example: how would such data be
efficiently managed and quickly processed at the server?
Impediments and Challenges
The increasing demand for sharing photos and videos online has created tremendous business
opportunities for several innovative startups like Instagram, Flickr, and Foko. The business potential
can easily be appraised from the growth of Instagram - a one and a half year old company acquired
by Facebook for USD 1 billion in 2012, which has been growing over 23% annually since then. Simi-
larly, Flickr has more than 87 million registered users and more than 3.5 million new images uploaded
daily. A relatively new start up - Foko Inc., - a photo sharing and messaging service for enterprises,
has grown its user base quickly and recently raised USD 450,000 from Angel Investors. It won’t be
surprising if these companies collaborate with camera manufactures to develop cloud-based,
M2M-enabled DSLR cameras to keep their market share and maintain their growth momentum.
Processing sensor data at a cloud server to generate high quality images with the help of sophisticat-
ed hardware is a very novel concept. There will be potential business opportunities for companies
to design and develop advanced image processing tools. One of the major innovations would
include the possibility of generating 3D images by using artificial intelligence, which is otherwise not
very cost efficient or possible with conventional DSLR cameras. It is said that “the early bird catches
the worm”; so, there will be increasing opportunities for companies to generate intellectual property
IT vendors like HCL Technologies, can leverage their vast experience at the cloud server. Here, they
can use their skills to mitigate the challenges related to storage space, data security, and complex
infrastructure. They could also use their expertise to develop innovative applications that can
manage, process, and analyze high volumes of data as generated through image sensors.
Future Business Opportunities
Our propositions include:
• Global deployment
• Instance consolidation
• Fundamental cost reduction
• Target operating model transformation
• Beneﬁts delivery
• Large program management
• Applications development
• Design, build and run services
TRUE GLOBAL DELIVERY
HCL operates as a single global organization, allowing us to deploy consulting teams that leverage proven industry and solution best practices
from our offices and delivery centres around the world.
With revenues of $6.5 billion, employing 100,000 technology experts and operating in 31 countries worldwide, HCL is a leading global
technology services provider. HCL helps its clients transform their business and IT assets, deliver complex Digital Systems Integration
programs and operate their application and infrastructure estates. HCL’s Digital Systems Integration business works with its clients to drive
business outcomes through large IT program delivery. HCL employ 15,000 systems integration experts and are established partners with
leading enterprise application providers—SAP, Oracle and Microsoft.
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