Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What Will Some Dentists Do When Point & Shoots Are Extinct?

Well, we’re just hours away from the end of 2013 and we can all agree that it was a pretty interesting year.  In looking back on the year, certain trends were interesting. Like people getting rid of land line home telephones or ditching cable in favor of online streaming. However, there’s one statistic that I saw which may one day play a role in dentistry; the sale rate of "point and shoot" cameras.

AnnaMaria Andriotis, writing for MarketWatch reports that:

"Their small size and sleek look made digital “point and shoot” cameras all the rage for years. Now, demand is sunsetting. Roughly 11.5 million are estimated to have sold this year in the U.S., down 44% from 2012, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, which represents consumer technology companies. Sales are expected to drop to just under 8 million next year.The cameras are suffering from an identity crisis. Consumers who want high-quality photos are opting for the larger, DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras. Others prefer to stick with just one gadget — their smartphone — which takes pictures.And there’s new competition from cameras intended for the outdoor thrill-seeker, like the GoPro, for people who want photos capturing action (the camera attaches to your body while white water rafting or scuba diving, for instance) rather than stopping to pose for a pic.
Down 44% from 2012 to 2013 and down another projected 30% in 2014 is an astounding fact.  That indicates a pretty significant trend.
Virtually every dentist who uses a point and shoot camera for dentistry is simply converting an existing point and shoot camera for dental use. I am aware of no specific camera designed for dentistry alone.
If, as Ms. Andriotis writes, point and shoot camera use is declining as precipitously as the statistics would suggest, will there come a day where point and shoot cameras become extinct? If so, what will be the impact on dentistry?
I’m not saying that there’s an imminent problem looming, but it is interesting how societal trends towards electronics could potentially have an impact in dentistry.
Wishing you all an amazing and prosperous 2014!

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