Who would have guessed 10 years ago?

Flickr's Most Used Camera Brands Overall. From this view, dominance of the big four brands is clear. Samsung isn't too far off taking the third slot from Nikon. Credit: Flickr

Ten years ago, it was 2004, Nokia claimed to be the world largest camera manufacturer, since the number of cameras in cell phones easily overshadowed the ones of Nikon and Canon. However the claim was taken as a laughing stock, it was clear that digital cameras in cell phones were a completely different breed from "real" digital camera. 

As a matter of fact you saw people with cell phones taking photos with compact digital cameras or with their serious sibling, the digital reflex cameras.

No one could have imagined that ten years after, in 2014, the compact digital cameras would have been on the way to extinction, slaughtered by cell phones cameras!

And yet, this is what is happening, as shown by statistics on photos posted on Flickr.

Surprise surprise! The number one brand posting photos on Flicker is Canon followed by ... Apple!  And if you look at cameras the first three places go to Apple's products.

Apple overtook Nikon in 2014 and it is an easy bet that it will overtake Canon this year. Overall, cell phones are now replacing compact digital cameras and this brings along a change in habits. 

Taking photos has become associated with many moments of everyday life. It is no longer a special moment that you want to capture. It is often a "normal" moment that you feel like sharing with others. It can even be a way of capturing information, like people taking a shot at the label of a bottle, a cover of a book...

The cell phone has become a sensor, sensing information and storing it for us or/and sharing with a circle of friends or with the world.

Give it some more time, but surely within this decade, and I think this capturing of information will become seamless. You will no longer aim and shoot. An embedded camera will keep harvesting information and software will continuously work on this growing data bank of your life experience (even on the ones you actually didn't perceive) to create metadata that from time to time will be pushed on the forefront to your perception.

There is plenty of ICT (leveraging on the continuous increase in processing, storage and power-energy capacity) that will make this possible and there is plenty of opportunities for new biz. It is a new, basically unchartered world, probably worth thinking about at EIT ICT Labs.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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