The many benefits of image compression include less required storage space, quicker sending and receiving of images and less time lost on image viewing and loading. But where and how is image compression used today? Just as image compression has increased the efficiency of sharing and viewing personal images, it offers the same benefits to just about every industry in existence. Early evidence of image compression suggests that this technique was, in the beginning, most commonly used in the printing, data storage and telecommunications industries. Today however, the digital form of image compression is also being put to work in industries such as fax transmission, satellite remote sensing and high definition television, to name but a few.
In certain industries, the archiving of large numbers of images is required. A good example is the health industry, where the constant scanning and/or storage of medical images and documents take place. Image compression offers many benefits here, as information can be stored without placing large loads on system servers. Depending on the type of compression applied, images can be compressed to save storage space, or to send to multiple physicians for examination.
And conveniently, these images can uncompress when they are ready to be viewed, retaining the original high quality and detail that medical imagery demands. Image compression is also useful to any organization which requires the viewing and storing of images to be standardized, such as a chain of retail stores or a federal government agency. In the retail store example, the introduction and placement of new products or the removal of discontinued items can be much more easily completed when all employees receive, view and process images in the same way. Federal government agencies that standardize their image viewing, storage and transmitting processes can eliminate large amounts of time spent in explanation and problem solving.
The time they save can then be applied to issues within the organization, such as the improvement of government and employee programs. In the security industry, image compression can greatly increase the efficiency of recording, processing and storage. However, in this application it is imperative to determine whether one compression standard will benefit all areas. For example, in a video networking or closed-circuit television application, several images at different frame rates may be required. Time is also a consideration, as different areas may need to be recorded for various lengths of time. Image resolution and quality also become considerations, as does network bandwidth and the overall security of the system.
Museums and galleries consider the quality of reproductions to be of the utmost importance. Image compression, therefore, can be very effectively applied in cases where accurate representations of museum or gallery items are required, such as on a web site. Detailed images which offer short download times and easy viewing benefit all types of visitors, from the student to the discriminating collector. Compressed images can also be used in museum or gallery kiosks for the education of that establishment's visitors.
In a library scenario, students and enthusiasts from around the world can view and enjoy a multitude of documents and texts without having to incur traveling or lodging costs to do so. Regardless of industry, image compression has virtually endless benefits wherever improved storage, viewing and transmission of images are required. And with the many image compression programs available today, there is sure to be more than one that fits your requirements best.
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