Magazine Article


State of the Industry - Page 2

Applied Science Fiction
Bridging the Gap

Last year, it appeared that online photofinishing would surface as a major influence impacting the trend toward digital imaging. However, the economic laws of supply and demand showed everyone — consumers and service providers alike — that the real digital imaging market is still waiting to blossom. What we learned instead, is that the end-user technology acceptance model which reflects the fact that "early adopters and innovators" are willing to embrace cutting-edge technology while mass consumers are motivated by more than technology for its own sake, continues to be valid. Moving forward, the challenge for us as an industry is to understand what consumers want and to provide them with versatile solutions that offer real value. The ideal solution for the imaging industry is to bring the consumer the flexibility to continue to obtain high-quality prints while facilitating the value of "digital" imaging.
In the first half of 2002, a new generation of self-serve photo kiosks incorporating Applied Science Fiction's (ASF) Digital PIC process and flatbed Digital ICE and Digital ROC scanner technologies will be ready for the marketplace. Retailers will soon be able to offer a new profitable and instantaneously gratifying service to their customers. Using a Digital PIC-enabled kiosk, consumers will develop their own 35mm film and obtain the prints they want how they want them — cropped, enlarged, multiple copies — all in a matter of minutes. This environmentally friendly photofinishing solution will increase customer retention and increase revenue. Digital PIC allows for the real-time digitization of exposed but undeveloped 35mm film directly into a high resolution RGB digital format and provides consistent image quality that can be used for photographic prints or multimedia and Internet distribution — without generating any hazardous waste. Digital ICE and Digital ROC for print restoration allows consumers to quickly perform automatic print restoration that previously could only be done by those with extensive knowledge and skills using image correction software.
Because consumers migrate to digital at different rates, retailers and photofinishers interested in growing their businesses must be prepared to take advantage of the analog-to-digital convergence by handling digital imaging side-by-side with traditional processing services. One of the most effective ways of bridging this gap is to empower consumers to take a more active roll in processing their film, ordering prints and reprints, and restoring their treasured family memories to their original glory. Self-serve kiosks not only allow consumers to do this without ever losing control of their original images, they also help increase retailer profits by encouraging repeat business.
ASF is a company dedicated to bridging the gap between conventional and digital photography to help advance the ability of people to communicate with images. By licensing our technologies and brands to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) as well as software companies that produce imaging products for the graphics, Internet, professional, retail and consumer home-photo imaging markets, ASF is helping the industry and consumers, by establishing the avenue to convergence between film and digital imaging.

President and CEO, Applied Science Fiction

Digital...Here to Stay

For the past several years, we have been discussing the digital revolution and the idea that it is "just around the corner." I think most people in the printing and imaging industries can confirm that we have turned that corner and the digital revolution is here, and here to stay. While digital imaging is taking our business in a whole new direction, it has also revitalized us as an industry and now, more than ever, has made photography and the sharing of images truly universal. From Websites to email to conventional output prints, photographs of our daily lives are being documented and shared more than ever before.
Anticipating the emergence and explosive growth of digital imaging, Canon restructured its internal marketing and sales channels last year to provide better service to our dealers and complete systems solutions for our customers. The Photographic Products Group at Canon U.S.A. incorporates several imaging Divisions within the company including digital cameras, film cameras, camcorders, film scanners and digital projection systems. In addition, we are working very closely with our Digital Home and Personal Systems Division, which markets photo-quality printers and flatbed scanners. These new alliances within Canon has positioned us as a "complete solutions" provider.
Canon has always taken the position that photography should be simple and affordable to everyone as evidenced in our complete line of EOS System 35mm cameras, wide range of Sure Shot lens shutter, Advanced Photo System ELPH cameras and our affordable line of ES-series analog camcorders. Our line of digital still and video camcorders continue to reflect our desire to provide imaging products affordable and accessible for everyone. For example, Canon's current line of PowerShot digital still cameras includes nine camera models ranging in price from $299 to $999. For professional photographers and photo enthusiasts, Canon offers two camera models...the EOS D30 and the recently announced EOS 1D.
Our line of digital video camcorders also reflects our desire to provide a complete line of high-quality and affordable products for our customers. Canon currently offers nine digital camcorders with price points ranging from $699 to $4499. To further support our lines of cameras and camcorders, Canon has developed partnerships with several imaging and computer software companies to provide the necessary application software which allows us to create, edit, and share our images and videos. Microsoft, Adobe and Apple are only a few of our business partners who provide this value-added technology.
Recently, Canon introduced the CP-10 printer which allows consumers to make wallet-sized prints directly from a PowerShot camera and completely bypassing the need for a computer. This "direct print" process is now possible with Canon's line of Bubble-Jet printers. This direct connectivity to other Canon products will continue as new cameras and printers are introduced.
While the technology of imaging has changed dramatically over the years, the essence of photography has not. It continues to represent the purest form of expression and more than ever it continues to represent "a thousand words." Photography, whether it's in the form of stills or video, evokes an emotion and a reaction to our everyday lives. Pictures bring a smile, a laugh, a tear, a sense of anger, compassion and in some cases, the impetus to physically react to something. And that, is photography.
We are a part of a very unique industry. Directly or indirectly, the photographic industry helps people document their lives. Canon will continue to provide quality and affordable ways for all consumers to do exactly that.

Vice President and General Manager, Canon USA, Inc.

New Technology - Same Happy Returns

We are part of an exciting time and equally exciting industry. Technology is advancing at blinding speed, resulting in opportunities for manufacturer and consumer alike. On the surface it seems everything is changing and there are no constants. But a closer look at the basics shows the market's needs have not changed that much at all.
The reason pictures are taken and the uses of those images remain more constant than the technology used to capture the image. Sure, today we send a photo of the new baby on the Internet rather than a 4x5 glossy in the mail, but the reason for sending it remains the same: We want Grandma to see the newest addition to the family. The photographer's goal remains capturing images that are aesthetically pleasing or that convey and retain required information. New technology can make those jobs easier or the results better, but as photographic suppliers, we can't lose sight of why the images are captured in the first place.
JOBO sells both traditional silver-halide products and exciting new digital products. This is true for many companies in the imaging industry. The "sizzle" is with the new, digital wizardry but, in truth, the needs of our customers are often met with the tried and true methods and equipment of the silver-halide realm. The whole imaging industry needs to maintain this focus — sell products that fulfill the needs of the customer. "Sizzle" is just an added plus.
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