THE QUARTER IN REVIEW

Posted by Kathleen Maher on October 21st 2015 | Discuss
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Welcome to Q3. The last quarter seemed to a high point for irrational exuberance and experimentation. It was a quarter when everyone seemed to be looking for new business, any kind of new business. Companies are living in a time of optimism, yet they’re also see¬ing declines in their core businesses. So companies have become fascinated with VR, AR, Big Data, little things, sensors, car systems—anything new is sparkling for companies, who have enjoyed pre¬dictable revenue increases for the last 20 years. 


It’s really a great time. It might be fine to make money doing the same thing over and over, but the Ferris wheel gets pretty tiresome pretty fast, especially when you’re looking at all the fun stuff going on below and you’re stuck way up high swinging in a cart. 


Nope, even big companies want to be down where the action is going on, where people are experimenting. So the stories in this issue include Intel’s race to have a major play in mobile and the Internet of Things. The company has been disappointed time and time again as it has tried to enter new markets. In the past, Intel has tried to address new markets with variations of the same old products. This time around the company has expressed a willingness to match the technology to the job—lots of jobs, from wristwatches to thermostats. 


Personally, I’m getting impatient to see all this 3D machine vision we’ve been promised by Intel, Google, Apple, Microsoft, et al. Actually, Microsoft has been delivering with Kinect and HoloLens. You know, as long as I’ve been working in the busi¬ness of pixels, 3D technology has been promising and disappointing. It was 20 years ago when we thought we’d be working with 3D operating systems— and the way it was presented back then just looks dopey now. When you turn on your computer, you’ll be in a 3D room where all your stuff is in drawers, and piled up on your desk. Wait, what would I want that for? 


What we didn’t know then, and we sure know now, is that the 3D room is one thing, creating that 3D room and all the things in it was the hard part. Now, 25 years later, it’s looking kind of plausible because 3D depth cameras give us the ability to create image-based environments, and we can add 3D models as needed. Even those may be captured, and only the stuff that never existed before can be modeled. 


That’s what has galvanized the Siggraph community for a new generation. Finally, finally, finally, it looks like the priests are delivering tools that anyone can use to create 3D art as easily as other art forms. Sure, talent is always a prerequisite for art, but wouldn’t you love to see the day when you can have an idea and make it happen without spending hours trying to figure out an interface? 


Aren’t you glad you don’t have to rummage in 3D drawings on your virtual desk? Wow, was that a dumb idea. I hope that one doesn’t ever come back. 


So, we’re talking about a quarter, just a quarter. Changes take months, years, and realistically decades to happen. Look at VR, AR, image-based technologies. On the other hand, have a look at this quarterly issue. It has been quite a quarter, hasn’t it?

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