Prepare for the Fourth Imaging Wave



Ed Lee

By Ed Lee

Digital Imaging Reporter's State of the Industry 2017

Excerpt from Digital Imaging Reporter’s State of the Industry 2017

Analog film, the first wave of photography, lasted more than 150 years, with over 1.5 trillion photos captured worldwide during this timeframe. In the 1990s, digital cameras kicked off the second wave: digital photography. Smartphones were introduced in the late 2000s, marking the third wave: mobile imaging.

Always-connected smartphones and social networks have changed how people take and share photos and videos. Mobile imaging is led by companies with no background in photography, such as Apple, Samsung, Facebook, Instagram and Snap.


Since 2010, more than 3 trillion mobile photos have been captured worldwide. Even so, the smartphone may not be the main driver for the next wave of imaging, although we do expect it will continue to play an important role.

InfoTrends expects the next wave of imaging will involve virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences. They will take imaging beyond the conventional capture, view and share paradigm. Image sensors incorporated into many devices will use computer vision and artificial intelligence to identify and map out users’ surroundings. VR, AR and MR will create immersive visual experiences that go beyond simple 2D photos and videos.

While leading mobile companies are participating, a wide range of start-up companies, like Meta, Magic Leap and ODG, will help to drive the future of immersive imaging. Ecosystems will emerge that will require new wearable devices, software/apps and services. All imaging companies should review their product and service portfolios to determine how they can participate in this fourth wave. It’s not too early to begin preparing.

To read the full DIR State of the Imaging Market 2017 story, Click here.

About the Digital Imaging Reporter publication/article

DIR editors asked leaders in the industry to offer their insights for its State of the Industry 2017 report. These leaders have provided their perspectives into what the year has brought and what we can expect in the months to come.