Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Forensic Video's Detroit Moment

I doubt that anyone disputes Detroit's significance in the history of the automobile. In the first half of the 20th century, Detroit continued to grow on the back of the powerful auto industry. The US car industry could do no wrong ... until the 1960's.

In the 60's and 70's, the world changed. The world wanted a different kind of car. Companies from Japan and Germany reacted to the change and thrived. US companies scoffed at the change, and are now largely gone. In 1950, you would have been laughed out of the room if you suggested that VW or Toyota would outsell GM worldwide. Today, it's a reality. Yesterday's auto industry wasn't nimble enough to react to world trends. I think about the 65' Chevy that I rode around in as a kid, Dad proudly at the wheel. Today, at 6'7", I can't fit in comfortably in a Chevy. Amazingly, my Honda Fit has more room and better fuel economy than its American equivalent.

But, this is an FVA blog. So, what does this have to do with video and images. A ton, actually. I see the forensic video industry as the US in 1970. The world is changing. But, the big players aren't nimble, they aren't reacting to the changes in the law and the world. Adobe and Avid products demand bigger GPUs and subscription pricing in the face of shrinking agency budgets. Both target the larger photographer and videographer market, leaving the law enforcement side to struggle to afford  the new products and to fit them into their workflow - big expensive square pegs for shrinking round holes.

Then, like German and Japanese auto makers of the 60's, along comes small companies like Amped Software, GP Sift Technologies, DME Forensics, and so forth, offering purpose built solutions directly to the LE market.

I've been asking Adobe to include FFT in Photoshop for over a decade - it's still not there. FFT was in the first release of Amped FIVE. We've been wondering at how to work with native files effectively. FIVE and GP Sift have addressed it in a number of helpful ways. Amped and GP SIFT are Milestone partners, why aren't Avid and Adobe? With Milestone providing the technological backbone to almost 100% of LE's camera systems (Axis & Sony based pole cams, CCTV, etc), why wouldn't the big boys want to partner with them?

So, when the US car industry stopped making cars that supported me and my needs, I shopped around and found Honda. I'm wondering if the big boys of the FVA industry see what's going on. I'm wondering if they and their partners can react in time. Judging on what happened at LEVA, I'm not holding out hope.

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