Picture This: Camera Phones Are a Big Business Issue

Carl Weinschenk

In its relatively short existence, the camera phone has enjoyed remarkable success. These gadgets are ubiquitous and their uses, as this Datamation piece points out, are only limited by the imagination of their owner.


The piece mixes tips for productivity, efficiency and physical security. For instance, snapping a picture of a just-parked rental car can save minutes of frustrating searching when the traveling worker invariably forgets whether it is white, blue or black. On a more serious note, a traveling employee can take a picture of somebody who seems threatening. The writer does a good job of pointing out such common-sense camera phone uses.


Creative uses of camera phones abound. This autumn, for instance, Reality Mobile will introduce RealityVision, an application that will send a video clip, along with global positioning system (GPS) location information, to a desired recipient. The software will work with any Palm OS or Windows device.


First responders may be the vertical that so far has benefited most from camera phones. Emergency workers, or those helping them, can transmit images of crime or accident scenes. The insurance industry benefits in a similar fashion. Adjusters can take quick shots of vehicles involved in accidents, for instance. The key is that snapping pictures of friends is far from the only use of camera phones.


Along with the increasing use of camera phones comes security and liability issues. Corporate dangers from camera phones are a subset of the vulnerabilities posed by portable storage devices such as iPods. Camera phones' imaging capabilities pose unique threats. This piece at IT-Director, which is about the Pickle video and photo sharing service, mentions that one analysts' group -- Sageza -- feels that too little attention has been paid to the dangers of camera phones in the work environment.


The legal status of cell phone photography still is unsettled. However, it is clear that these devices will be permanent part of corporate life and, as such, will be the cause of evolving dangers. Whether they like it or not, it is important for businesses to delineate clear policies about camera phone use in the workplace.

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