A few days ago, together with many proud parents, I watched my daughter perform in the Lucia ceremony at her school. Lucia celebration is a very Swedish tradition that happens every year, on early morning December 13th. Most often, it is the younger generation that dresses in white robes and among glistering candles sings traditional Christmas songs. For all ceremonies dear to our hearts around the globe, I believe we share the intention to be present. To capture and preserve, and to share the moment with those loved ones that could not partake.
What a great innovation our smartphones are! Under the right conditions the phone’s video capabilities enable us to capture, preserve and share! In order to be present as an amateur filmmaker, you need to rely on the intelligence on the device. You want to perfectly capture the moment, without the filming distracting you to miss out of the experience.
And intelligence in devices spells out as software. The potential effect our labor has on moments like the Lucia celebration, is what motivates us at Imint. Since the first phones reached the market end of 2016, about a quarter billion people has enjoyed our Vidhance software when capturing their special moments. That is quite a feat in only three years!
The creativity in this area is amazing. If you have ever visited a trade show to learn about a new market domain, on which you have no prior experience, you might share that sensation. How awe inspiring it is to realize the level of complexity that unfolds! The engineering ingenuity and the industry network supporting all this with its blend of cooperation and competition. Big firms make long term strategic investments, small firms fill the relevant gaps, and even smaller start-ups provide disruption potential.
Five years ago, I was a smartphone rookie. Now understanding the complexity of this ecosystem, we at Imint are trying to take a holistic approach. We realize that it is the nuts and bolts that make up the Eiffel tower.
The Vidhance tagline is “Enhanced Video Experience”. Where does this experience originate? The simple answer is – in our brains. A visual experience is a fascinating parallel, asynchronous computing exercise in heads. Several dedicated neural network cores process the input on our retina. Simplified, it boils down to a visual sensation in the back of our heads, in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe. But that is mere perception, not “experience”. To get an experience, many more parts of our brain need to get activated.
Now let’s move to the other end. If the experience arises from something you capture with your smartphone, then please invite clever engineering. All the way from the lens system, the photon-detecting sensor, through all processing and transforms of these sensor readings, it is all technology. You might see where I am heading. When we work on hard engineering tasks – all this effort is preparing for experiences in our brains! We optimize image frame buffers on an advanced Qualcomm chipset, calibrate the optical lens system, and synchronize gyroscope readings with camera sensor samples. Technology in our service is truly amazing, and it makes me very proud that our small team contributes to vital development.
2019 marks another good year for us at Imint, where we further consolidated our position as the video experts in the smartphone domain. The year started off well, receiving the New Innovation – New Journey award from our great partner Xiaomi. Shortly after, we signed up with Oppo, having also their smartphones powered by Vidhance. As winter turned to spring, we continued with this good momentum. We had the pleasure to welcome many more smartphone makers to the Vidhance family. One of them is Asus, who launched their acclaimed ZenFone 6 in the beginning of the summer. Then Kyocera brought the rugged TORQUE G04 to the market at the end of the summer. The list could be made very long.
In addition to receiving the trust from many new customers, we also continued to strengthen our existing partnerships with MediaTek and Qualcomm. Both are important providers of the chipsets that are the computer power horses of most smartphones.
With relentless growth as our overarching theme, we did not only grow the number of customers and partners. The Vidhance product portfolio also got new impressive members. First, we added noise reduction in the spring. Then the big Vidhance 3.5 release this September contributed with functionality such as horizon correction and still image enhancements.
The synergies when combining several Vidhance functions become more and more clear. To preserve details in recorded video, reduce the number of pixels that gets wasted, and save precious battery life – all is achievable thanks to the intricate software design of Vidhance. A lot of clever engineering goes into allowing consumers to effortless capture cinematic video.
We have also become more convinced that the benefits of Vidhance should improve capabilities for other camera-centric products than smartphones. Cameras are getting ubiquitous, capturing huge amount of image data every day. The need for enhanced video experiences is universal, but the use cases vary, depending on the application domain.
We were very proud to be able to disclose Hytera as a customer in November. Hytera is a leading provider of communication equipment for first responders. Vidhance will now power body-worn cameras. Thus, enhancing the video experience is about serving and protecting the public. For us, this work into new domains has just started, and we will accelerate our efforts here in 2020.
It is with humble gratitude we are closing the books for 2019. Customers, partners, colleagues and our owners – in this diverse network of friends and allies, everyone plays important roles in leveling up Imint. Our promise for next year in return is to never settle and keep pushing our professional capabilities – as engineers and businesspersons – to reach even further. Thank you for your support!