Apr 16, 2021

Technology companies develop smaller smartphone camera

Tom Swallow
2 min
Scope Photonics and Metalenz developing compact, high-quality camera technology for use in smartphones
Scope Photonics and Metalenz developing compact, high-quality camera technology for use in smartphones...

As smartphone components become increasingly more compact, camera lens technology continues to reduce in size.

For companies developing smartphones, the most recent selling point is a high-resolution camera and even multiple camera angles and focal lengths.

It’s become apparent that technology companies are trying to bridge the gap between smartphone cameras and digital cameras bought by photography enthusiasts and professionals.

‘Flat camera’ technology

The International Runner Up for the 2020 James Dyson Award, Scope Photonics , is developing ‘flat camera’ technology for smartphones. 

In an effort to preserve sleek smartphone design, the company aims to provide camera components that create sharp, ‘in focus’ images without the ‘bulk’ of a stacked lens setup.

Scope Photonics is currently d eveloping nanotechnology to manipulate liquid crystals, which “spin like tops”, allowing them to adapt to changes in the way light comes into contact with the lens. 

The company is also addressing a common focusing issue with smartphone cameras, ultimately producing sharper images when the camera zooms in.

"I'm comfortable in predicting we can achieve [ten] times zoom with our liquid crystals, but this innovation offers a lot of opportunity for growth, so you never know where we'll [be in] a few years' time," says Holden Beggs, chief executive of Scope Photonics.

Technology start-up, Metalenz, Cambri dge, Massachusetts, has also been working on getting rid of the ‘camera bump’.

The company has highlighted a common issue that would need to be addressed: the camera’s ability to spot out-of-focus red and blue colours.

Professor Rash Menon, Utah University, explains the importance of creating a thin, single lens for a smartphone.

"Its thinness is a feature, not a by-product," says Prof Menon. "When you can reduce the size of all the lenses you normally have in a camera, which are all designed to correct for colour aberrations, one single lens can simplify the process", says Prof Menon.

Developing for consumer use

It is important to understand the limitations of a product’s ‘consumer’ status.

An Auckland-based professional photographer and author of more than 30 ‘digital photography’ books, Tom Ang, has highlighted a key constraint of the ‘consumer’ selling point when producing professional quality cameras.

"If you offer, say, true optical zoom on a smartphone that rivals proper cameras, you also raise the barrier to use. If people need an instruction manual for their smartphone camera, you've stuffed up," says Ang.

image source 

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May 7, 2021

Improving Skill Initiatives in Technology Businesses in 2021

Becs Roycroft, Senior Director...
4 min
Becs Roycroft, Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent & Reskill Operations at mthree talks us through the skills needed in today's job market.
Becs Roycroft, Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent & Reskill Operations at mthree talks us through the skills needed in today's job market...

According to Tech Nation’s most recent report, UK technology companies now employ more than 2.93 million people, with the sector seeing a 40% growth in the last two years. The new world of work and the uptick in digitalisation caused by the pandemic with the mass uptake of digital services and online communications has meant that the technology sector has seen a huge demand for specific skills across the job market.

Whilst many businesses have done well to adapt to the digital transformation witnessed over the last few years, this rapid advancement of technology has also resulted in widespread difficulties recruiting experienced tech employees. McKinsey reported that over 87% of organisations have reported huge digital skills gaps, which suggest that whilst most tech businesses are aware of and actively trying to tackle these issues, many are struggling to do so effectively.

To remain competitive and overcome this shortage of skilled workers, technology businesses must look at how they can upskill current employees, move employees to new areas of the business, and ensure their technology talent is as up to date as possible. 

So how can tech businesses stay ahead of the skills curve this year? 

Make an inventory of desired skills – and offer training for them

To introduce effective skilling programmes within technology businesses, management teams should identify and agree on skills that the business is in greatest need of – both in the immediate and longer terms. 

Over the past three years, demand for tech skills such as AI, cyber and cloud automation has accelerated, with AI and cyber in particular growing by 44% and 22% year on year, respectively, from 2019. For many tech businesses, these skills will continue to be desirable for the business to progress, and senior leadership teams must agree on what skills the business wants to prioritise in its workforce.

Next, management teams should then look to create an inventory of these desired skills and also identify what job roles need to be introduced to further this expertise within the business. This can be done through hiring external candidates or even introducing a programme that current employees can take to develop these particular skills.

This technique requires technology businesses to be malleable in their approach, and they can therefore look to introduce training that builds on these skills gaps or even move employees around the business to utilise their existing skills in areas that are most needed.

Incentivise the workforce

Finally, a good way to develop the skills available amongst the workforce in a technology business is to ensure employees are excited about the prospect. If new candidates and existing members of the team feel included in the approach, can see a benefit in taking additional training and feel motivated to further their own career progression, this could be the tech companies’ strongest asset.

For example, companies such as Amazon have set the bar for investing in reskilling and upskilling to keep their entire workforce motivated and, most importantly, up-to-speed. As many people join Amazon, some without any previous educational qualifications to some possessing PHDs, the business’s skilling programme is provided to give all employees the skills they need to either move up at Amazon or move on to a qualified position outside of the company. By offering this training, employees are motivated to think of their own career and future, and Amazon has the benefit of seeing the operational and financial benefits of a skilled, engaged workforce.

According to recent research completed by Robert Half, software development, cloud migration and project management experience are top of the list for hiring managers in 2021, with tech-specific skills being some of the most in-demand across all sectors. The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated this increased demand for technology skills and talent, and industry leaders are at a pivotal stage to ensure their workers’ skills sets are up-to-date and being utilised effectively within the business.

For tech businesses that wish to attract this new talent as well as keeping current employees engaged and competitive within the industry, bosses must not only incentivise their workers with skilling programmes, but they must work to identify what skills they are in most need of and then put the necessary training programmes in place.

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