Camera phones are one of the fastest-growing segments of the overall mobile phone market, a trend that is expected to accelerate. And small businesses — usually slower to adopt new technologies — are part of the picture phone growth trend.
An article in Small Business Computing reports that according to In-Stat/MDR, in 2002 the worldwide shipments of camera phones totaled approximately 18.2 million units. However, in just the first three months of 2003 alone, 7.8 million units were shipped.
What’s interesting are the new uses that some small businesses are finding for camera phones. Small businesses are revolutionizing and streamlining their everyday business processes as a result of using camera phones.
Camera phones are being used for quality control, field diagnostics and troubleshooting, even project completion certifications. How?
In the case of field diagnostics and troubleshooting, an employee uses a camera phone to snap a shot of a diseased plant for a plantscaping company. The picture allows a long-distance diagnosis to be made on the spot. Prior to using a camera phone, a supervisor would have had to be dispatched or samples of the blighted plant taken and returned to a central lab for diagnosis, with significant time delays or extra cost.
In the case of project completion certificates, a painting company crew takes a photo of a building immediately after the building was painted, to prove the project is complete.