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By Keith Reid
Camera phones are sweeping the world, capturing both the mundane and world-impacting events. Similarly, digital still cameras are rapidly replacing film in consumer markets, and digital video has long replaced film for documentation the baby's first steps.
This tremendous expansion of digital imaging is having a significant impact on the specialty markets that use advanced imaging technologies in such areas as the sciences, defense and security, medicine and industrial processes. While these markets typically have very demanding performance and feature requirements, the manufacturing production and volume efficiencies driven by the consumer and commercial markets often spill over into the advanced imaging solutions. Technical innovation can go both ways.
This month's feature "Market Synergies," covers the blending of consumer and advanced imaging technologies in a variety of core areas including sensors, data path, display and processing. It could easily be broadened to include storage, optics and illumination—virtually every core technology.
The impact of these developments on price is certainly good for the specialty market end-user, but it has created some notable shifts in the marketplace. One such shift, the exclusive focus of the news section, is driving Silicon Graphics' continued move away from stand-alone graphics workstations, which is now a formalized strategy as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization.
SGI will still provide visualization solutions, but primarily as an ancillary capability to a high-performance computing infrastructure focused on storage and data management. As said Dave Parry, a SGI senior vice president and product general manager noted: "What we have seen is over the years many of the legacy visualization applications have been moving more and more to commodity hardware, as gaming markets and so forth have generated a huge explosion in capability."