By @SimonCocking

Having recently reviewed the Canon EOS 700D, Irish Tech News attended the Canon EXPO Paris, in Paris to review the Canon five year European showcase of innovation and technologies for the future. It was an interesting insight into the wider exciting opportunities for the possibilities of the ‘image business’, and also to get a sense of where Canon’s camera division will fit into this rapidly changing future. 

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The range of areas in which Canon is involved is impressive. Many large companies aim to dream big and this can consequently result in a diverse range of products and ideas being developed. (For a comprehensive list of what was featured see the end of this article). The challenge for large brands like Canon is to avoid the Lego scenario where you have lots of cool, interesting, potential products, with very few actually making it to market.

In discussing this challenge Canon were pleased to refer to a number of current on the market products which were prototypes demonstrated five years ago at the last Canon Paris Expo. This was an event to showcase Canon’s range of interests and they did it well. They have a good grasp of the range of possibilities that imaging could take them into, especially as 3D printing possibilities will only grow and grow.

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Above, various sample 3D textured surfaces, from printed matt wall paper to fake snake skin

Interestingly at this demo area they acknowledged they were still unsure of the potential future applications of this technology. To convert this uncertainty into possible opportunities they were working with universities and artists to explore potential applications of the technology.

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Creepy or cool, this system can tell your age, (and gender), with surprising accuracy

This surveillance system can track and identify individuals. We tried it out several times, and after a quick calibration, on every occasion it got to within 2 years of the subjects actual age. This was impressive and a little disconcerting. Interestingly they said those people that smiled tended to get younger age estimates, which is perhaps not so surprising.

But what about Canon’s cameras?

The challenge for Canon, and one that they recognised, is the need to more effectively communicate all the ways that a standalone camera out performs what a smartphone can give you. To communicate the joy and value of good photos, to capture those truly important moments, that you want to be in focus with good detail and definition – without losing the wider population in talk of f-stops, exposures and other more technical aspects of photography.

To see more about the various technologies showcased see below.

Canon Europe is focusing on printing and network video surveillance (NVS). As a result, in addition to its global reputation for cameras, Canon is now the largest printing and network surveillance system company in the world.

  • NVS – The combination of Canon, Axis and Milestone brings together complementary technologies and solutions to respond to society’s ever-expanding monitoring needs. Ground-breaking new solutions, such as the concept high-sensitivity network camera with ultra-telephoto lens on show at EXPO, demonstrate what’s possible for the security market and beyond

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  • 3D printing – As a first step in this young but promising market Canon is partnering with 3D Systems in Europe. For customers in manufacturing, architecture, education and engineering sectors, Canon will provide solutions that provide smart alignment between data, imaging capture and output
  • Graphic Arts – Canon is continuing to invest in digital print technologies to be able to cost-effectively print ever-more complex applications on demand. For example, the Océ Colorwave 910, the fastest digital wide format colour printer on the market will be demonstrating high speed colour poster printing at EXPO
  • B2B solutions and services – Canon’s B2B solutions are built to address the needs of specific customer verticals such as financial services, insurance, manufacturing or health. At EXPO, Canon is demonstrating what is possible in areas like document management, data management and marketing communication management with systems such as PRISMAdirect, demonstrating how workflows can be improved to significantly streamline production
  • Digital consumer services – Canon is building an ecosystem of products and services for every part of the imaging journey. Key initiatives include its photo cloud service, irista, family-focused application, Lifecake and the hdbook EZ – a new smartphone app that intelligently selects the best images from picture and movie libraries and automatically creates a personalised photobook

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Technology highlights at Canon EXPO Paris 2015

  • A 250 megapixel CMOS sensor, the world’s highest pixel count for its size. When installed in a camera, the new sensor is capable of capturing lettering on the side of an aircraft 18 kilometres away, far beyond what the human eye can see
  • A network camera with a new ultra-telephoto lens which achieves eight times the brightness of conventional lenses, making night filming possible for the first time without need of infrared lighting
  • A concept called Intelligent Imaging for Life, which allows people to share and print their photos from an interactive table in the living room, so a family can find photos and share memories as easily as placing an object such as a favourite child’s toy on the table
  • A range of ultra-high definition imaging technologies for the future including 8K cameras, displays and projector demonstrations

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