Eero Salmelin, Director, Imaging and Video Technology at Huawei, Tampere R&D Center explains his views on the Tampere imaging ecosystem.
How do you see the future of imaging?
– Tampere should become the world imaging capital! We have what it takes to create fresh innovations: research, talents, companies large and small and the whole Tampere imaging ecosystem. We can also combine imaging with machine vision and artificial intelligence, and that opens up enormous potential. And the market is growing, cameras are used everywhere and in all kinds of devices, more and more so in the near future.
– The ecosystem has its roots in the early days of camera development in the Tampere Region. Nokia was then the main player and the Tampere University of Technology (TUT) a strong partner. In the last couple of years, after Nokia / Microsoft Mobile cuts there’s been a surge of new activity. The Huawei R&D Center, poLight, AAC Technologies and Axon sites, new companies like Grundium, NomiCam… just to mention a few.
What is the focus of the Huawei Tampere site and your role at Huawei?
– The Tampere R&D Center is focusing on the multimedia aspects; imaging and audio teams are the largest ones here.
– I am heading the imaging team that develops the future imaging solutions, in the first place for mobile phones but also for all Huawei devices. Camera features are growing in importance and new ideas and innovations are constantly created.
How did you become an expert in the field of imaging?
– My father was a professional photographer, and I started photography at the age of four. When I had joined Nokia and the camera phone development began, it was just natural for me to step forward. I started as a design engineer, then managed the development of all the camera modules that were used in Nokia products.
– We built the imaging team from scratch, recruited talented people with interest in cameras and imaging. There was an excellent path from TUT where many of us studied to Nokia where our expertise had a place to grow further.
Why Tampere, reasons the Huawei site is here?
– In short: the world-class expertise. When Microsoft closed down the R&D site in Tampere in 2016, our team had to find new jobs. That was not too hard a task, since our talent was globally recognised: we were known to be people with thorough understanding of camera systems achieved in two decades. Our reputation was also substantiated by a long list of products used all over the world.
– Establishing a site to Tampere provided Huawei, not only the talent, but a team that had already worked together, and an access to the local imaging ecosystem.
What’s particularly strong or unique in Tampere?
– The above mentioned imaging ecosystem; people who work in various imaging related companies, who know each other, meet, mingle and share thoughts.
– I’ve got high hopes for the new Tampere University where three universities in Tampere are joining forces and create potential for cross research innovation.
The best moment of your career?
– The best of all the memorable moments was in 2012, when the Nokia 808 PureView with a 41 megapixel camera was unveiled in Barcelona. We had spent almost five years developing it and had achieved something that was thought to be almost impossible to do. People’s reactions to the device, the publicity, the prizes it won… and the fact that we had made it possible and it gave us a head start position in the industry.
– I would like to think that my biggest moments are still ahead because Huawei has such interesting ideas under development.
– Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. It provides integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services.
– Huawei is huge, with over 180,000 employees in over 170 countries or areas. Interestingly, it is a private company fully owned by its employees and this makes a big difference on how things work. I think Huawei is truly an innovative company, eager to learn new things and swift with the innovations. For me, it is fun to work in the leading imaging company, again.
Author: Päivi Stenroos