Understanding images on the large scale

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After text-mining, Doug Paxson believes images will be next to be mined for information

Media Cybernetics has been a part of the analytical industry since the very beginning, so I would characterise our first 15 years as the 'enabling' years. From our early imaging development tools in the 1980s to our Image-Pro software, our contribution has largely centred on the development of a user-friendly imaging toolbox enhanced by capture hardware interfaces. Media Cybernetics brought affordable software to the market that helped identify PC-based imaging capabilities and drive user interest and demand for this technology forward.

Over the last five years, Media Cybernetics inevitably followed selected application tracks, as did most early imaging vendors, down one of few clearly defined paths of industrial or life science applications. As demand for imaging technology grew, so did the demand for software to address application-specific uses and automation.

The focus of the imaging software industry now is the next challenge. Easily customisable workflow for applications, data mining, and enterprise-wide image informatics solutions are the focus of our new IQbase product platform. In the decade ahead, Media Cybernetics and others will join image and data technologies seamlessly, to shift the solution-orientation from enabling image analysis processes to simplifying large-scale image understanding.

As the volume of image data grows, end-users will begin to see the emergence of smart search technologies, friendly data query technologies, and a vast array of image data mining and interpretation tools that will open up libraries of virtually untapped images for mining. The IT component of image and data storage and retrieval, along with database linking will become an inseparable part of our imaging environments of the future.

Doug Paxson is President and CEO of Media Cybernetics