Cameras will be the next big platforms

In August 2006, Facebook launched its developer platform. If you define a platform as an environment in which software can be executed that embeds into this environment by utilizing standard features and data provided by this platform, this may have been one of the first large-scale platforms that entered a new abstraction level: “above” hardware and “above” operating systems, building on a customer-facing software that was designed to run on a variety of computing and operating systems and, by extension, on a number of hardware devices – kind of a “meta platform”. Compared to pure Windows, Android and iOS developing for example, the grade of openness on such platforms is very high, and at the same time the abilities of such platforms are limited to the “lowest” degree of functionality that will be available on all the software and hardware it has to work on. In theory, this could mean that peak innovations may happen on more limited, specialized platforms, while their broad adaptation may happen or be accelerated through such “meta-platforms”. I believe that cameras will be the next iteration where these processes can be observed: They provide an environment in which software can be executed that utilizes standardized features and data. This may lead to an entirely new breed of “apps” as well as to a significant enhancement of many apps as we know them today. Apple is moving into this direction with its ARKit, and Facebook made its camera a platform, too.

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