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photokina 2004-- Image Really Is Everything



"World's Fair of Imaging" to Spotlight Mobile Digital Imaging Along With Traditional Photography

Oliver Kuhrt of Koelnmesse GmbH discusses photokina 2004 at a recent New York City press conference.

In today's world, imaging has reached a level of importance unimagined even just a few short years ago. Images have a greater impact than ever on peoples' lives—they are holiday snapshots, they are sent from one mobile phone to another, emailed across oceans, projected onto walls, printed in innumerable different styles and formats, and play major roles in news reporting, healthcare, and advertising, to name just a few examples.

The explosive growth of imaging, the surge of new business because of that growth, and the new exhibitors and demand for increased display space by photokina regulars, were among the topics at a recent press conference in New York City to discuss the upcoming "World's Fair of Imaging."

This year, photokina will be held September 28th through October 3rd. The Koelnmesse center in Cologne is gearing up for some 160,000 visitors from 140 countries around the globe who travel to Germany to attend the bi-annual photokina trade fair. Attendees will bear witness to the beginning of imaging trends, view new products and services, and make global contacts in the expanding imaging industry.

According to Oliver Kuhrt, executive vice president of Koelnmesse GmbH, the organizers of photokina, the main growth at this year's show will be in the area of image communication. The "Mobile Imaging World" will house exhibits by a range of companies new to photokina such as Nokia and T-Mobile. The IT and telecommunications sectors, digital imaging, home printing, digital publishing and home cinema segments are growing in their participation at photokina as well, according to Kuhrt.

For the past 50 years, photokina has been the bi-annual event for the photography and imaging industry. In 2002, organizers began dividing the vast array of product segments and putting them into themed centers. Although the approach will continue in 2004, Kuhrt noted how difficult it is becoming to make hard and fast distinctions.

"An increasing number of global players will be presenting their entire product ranges for consumers and professionals at a single—in many cases larger—stand," he said. Add to this the many technologies that are constantly converging and it all starts to get confusing.

In an effort to simplify things, photokina 2004 will consist of two main halls—Consumer Imaging (Halls 1—8 and 11) and Professional Imaging (Halls 10 and 14). There had been three main halls for photokina 2002.

Some other changes to note include:

•AV Communication companies will occupy Hall 10.2 and Hall 10.1 will become the "Software Hall." And Microsoft—for the first time ever—will be on hand, displaying their new products for digital image processing and image communication.

• In addition to the U.S.A Pavilion that will be found in Hall 14.1, another U.S.A. Pavilion will be in Hall 10.1, the Software Hall.

The contingent of companies from the United States registered so far is about 140. This number includes only companies who have registered from U.S. based offices, not American companies who have registered to exhibit through their European subsidiaries. The American contingent is the largest of any foreign country. Overall, photokina organizers expect 1,600 exhibitors from 50 countries.

Kuhrt noted that the number of exhibitors this year is likely to increase in spite of growing market consolidation. Many longtime exhibitors are expanding their exhibit space as well. Together 2.15 million square feet of exhibit space will house the "World of Imaging."

Over 160,000 visitors are expected to descend on the Koelnmesse in Germany this September for photokina 2004.

The Global State of the Industry

Peter Sibbe, president of the Photographic Industry Association, (Photoindustrie-Verband e.V) Frankfurt, Germany, was on hand at the press conference to address the global state of the photographic industry.

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